Two images. Top text: I am also oppressed, therefore… Image: Image of a white feminist looking perturbed and defensive. Speech bubble: But I’m a feminist! I can’t possibly be racist! ; Top text: Naïve, with a side of STFU. Image: Two people—one a fat white woman with curly hair, and a thin white man with a goatee—stand side by side, looking angry. Speech bubbles: But we’re POST-RACIAL, since the U.S. elected a BLACK PRESIDENT! Stop complaining.

Drawing Out Whiteness and Disability: Part 2

Previously: Part 1.

Accessibility note: The image descriptions for this series, since they are very long, can be found under the image .jpgs in each installment, rather than in the alt-text field. 

Click “Read More” to read part 2 of this comic series; click the images to fully enlarge.

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Page 3

Panel 1

Top text: I may as well start with bits of a personal narrative.

Image: Annaham carries a stack of books while smiling and giving the thumbs-up signal.

Speech bubble: I’m not racist! La la la.

Bottom text: As a college freshman, I considered myself fairly well-informed on race issues.

Panel 2

Top text: This completely changed when I read Peggy McIntosh’s “White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack” piece (widely anthologized) in an Intro to Women’s Studies class.

Image: Annaham sitting at a table with several books. She has a panicked expression on her face. An arrow on the right of the panel is captioned “totally freaking out”

Speech bubble: “Oh my God. I know NOTHING about race!”

Bottom text: Along with Susan Wendell’s “The Social Construction of Disability” (from The Rejected Body, 1998), this piece signaled a major shift for me personally.

Panel 3

Top text: When I started having chronic pain issues (later diagnosed as fibromyalgia, nearly a year after the fact) during my second year of undergrad, I began to notice some weird commonalities among how race is discussed and formed discursively, and how disability is as well…

Image: Annaham, looking very annoyed in the middle of the frame, surrounded by talking mouths. Her thought bubble reads “Oh. My. GOD.”]

Various speech bubbles:

But I’m liberal! I can’t be RACIST.

I’m a Democrat! “Ableism” is not in my vocabulary.

But…Oprah!

Instead of COMPLAINING, minorities should just work harder, like everyone else.

WHAT ABOUT PERSONAL RESPONSIBILITY?!

But…Christopher Reeve!

Why don’t disabled people stop talking about their pain? Why can’t they focus on other things?

MINORITIES ALWAYS BRING UP RACE—WHY CAN’T THEY FOCUS ON MORE IMPORTANT THINGS?

Are you SURE you’re not seeing discrimination that isn’t ACTUALLY THERE?!

Panel 4

Top text: The instability of both ability and race can make their more material effects hard to “objectively” prove.

Image: Person standing on a piece of ground that is rapidly splitting.

Thought bubble: Hmmm.

Panel 5

Top text: Although neither race nor ability is static or unchanging, both are hierarchized; the privileges of whiteness and abled-ness, to quote Ruth Frankenberg, “[translate] into forms of social organization that [shape] daily life (11).”

Image: Annaham stands before a large drawing of a blank pyramid-style hierarchy.

Thought bubble: Am I oversimplifying here?

Page 4

Panel 1:

Top text: I am also oppressed, therefore…

Image: Image of a white feminist looking perturbed and defensive.

Speech bubble: But I’m a feminist! I can’t possibly be racist!

Panel 2:

Top text: Naïve, with a side of STFU.

Image: Two people—one a fat white woman with curly hair, and a thin white man with a goatee—stand side by side, looking angry.

Speech bubbles: But we’re POST-RACIAL, since the U.S. elected a BLACK PRESIDENT! Stop complaining.

But disabled people have EQUAL RIGHTS now because of the ADA (Americans With Disabilities Act), so you have nothing REAL to complain about!

Panel 3:

Top text: Difference “blindness” (Or, perhaps more accurately, blinders)

Image: Two young people—one a muscular young man wearing khaki pants and a t-shirt reading “Ironic Shirt Slogan,” the other a young hipster woman with thick glasses—stand side-by-side.

Speech bubbles: I don’t see color, only the person!

I don’t see disability, just the individual!

Panel 4:

Top text: Bootstraps (pulling oneself up by)

Image: An older white man wearing a collared shirt and tie speaks with annoyance.

Speech bubbles: I’ve had hard times too, and I got out of it with willpower and hard work! Disability is a personal problem, you just need to overcome it.

Maybe your attitude is part of your problem.

Bottom text: In Frankenberg’s pithy summation, “that ‘history’ [of oppression] was over, and if [POC] continued to fare badly, this was possibly thanks to their own lack of effort [rather than lack of privilege]” (from “Mirage of an Unmarked Whiteness,” 89).

Panel 5:

Top text: Magical thinking

Image: A young white woman, smiling broadly, is surrounded by rainbows, stars, and happy faces.

Speech bubble: If you stop thinking that thinking that racism and ableism exist, they won’t anymore! We create our own reality…

Bottom text: 99% of the people I’ve known who use this tactic have been middle-class white folks. Coincidence?

Panel 6:

Top text: Classic tone argument

Image: In a split panel, a white woman wearing a t-shirt with a heart and a peace sign on it, and a white man with a beard look irritated.

Speech bubbles: If you weren’t so STRIDENT, non-disabled people wouldn’t feel so ALIENATED when you say things!

Why are you so angry? It’s just a joke about Asians! Lighten UP!