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New Video Blog Opens Eyes to Treatment of Disabled

  • Published: 2009-08-29 (Revised/Updated 2013-06-16) : Eva Sweeney.
  • Synopsis: Video blog capturing one 26-year-old woman's experience navigating through life with a severe physical disability.

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Quote: "The prejudice that Sweeney encounters is exacerbated by the fact that she cannot talk back"

The Deal With Disability is a new video blog capturing one 26-year-old woman's experience navigating through life with a "severe" physical disability. Eva Sweeney was born with a condition called cerebral palsy, which means that she cannot walk, speak, or use her muscles in conventional ways. She uses a power wheelchair to get around and spells out what she wants to say on a letter board.

Video Blog Capturing Incidents of Ignorance

The Deal With Disability (thedealwithdisability.wordpress.com) is a new video blog capturing one 26-year-old woman's experience navigating through life with a "severe" physical disability. Eva Sweeney was born with a condition called cerebral palsy, which means that she cannot walk, speak, or use her muscles in conventional ways. She uses a power wheelchair to get around and spells out what she wants to say on a letter board.

Since kindergarten, Sweeney has been in mainstream schools, often as the only disabled person. She went on to graduate from Occidental College with a BA in gender studies. She has created an organization for disabled people, and has traveled the country giving lectures and presentations on the topic of disability awareness. Through all of this, Sweeney has learned to find amusement in the way that people approach her in public.

She has created this video blog in an effort to capture how the public treat her.

A small camera is mounted to her wheelchair as she records the way she is treated in public on a day-to-day basis. Each video is accompanied by introspective writing on the matter. Such incidents include being offered gifts from strangers (such as a bar of soap, free Michael Jackson T-shirts, and money), being treated like a child, being hugged or patted on the head, being prayed over, etc. Then it is wryly explained why this behavior is offensive, absurd, or annoying.

One reader said, "Your blog has been extremely eye opening for me."

One person commented, "Apparently, I've got some work to do on myself. Thank you, honestly, for this project."

Another said, "I think you have an opportunity to educate here on a profound level."

This blog is meant to show society's views and treatment of disabled people. At times it can be quite funny and at other times very infuriating. Preconceptions about disabled people are one of the few prejudices that has gone widely undiscussed. The prejudice that Sweeney encounters is exacerbated by the fact that she cannot talk back, and people are unwilling to take the time to learn how she communicates. Sweeney hopes "that the blog will enlighten and educate the public on the daily trials and tribulations of interacting in an able-bodied world."

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