I have an insatiable lust for adventure (here I am in the Himalayas last April), and I’m in a wheelchair - perfect for an article called ‘chasing adventure’ for wheel:life.
Betsy interviewed me and then sent me a draft to review. most of it was direct quotes of what I had said strung together with her voice contextualizing. There was one part where the phrasing irked me. “Even though she was born with sacral agenesis Erin was not afraid to...” I highlighted it in the google doc and typed:
why would I be afraid? This phrasing reminds me of 'despite her disability...' which can read as saying that I *should* be afraid because of the SA which then kind of implies an 'overcoming disability' narrative. etc. what if i was born with SA *and* a sense of adventure?
“Great point,” Betsy responded. “and I apologize for the way I phrased it. How about this? "Born with sacral agenesis, she loves exploring the great outdoors both in her wheelchair and by crawling over terrains her chair can't navigate.”
Fixed! Just like that. I wanted to share this excellent example of how un dramatic these conversations can be. So I asked Betsy if she minded. “Yes, feel free to expose my ignorance haha,” She teasingly responded. “But on a serious note, I don’t mind at all. I realize that as a person without a disability, ableism has been engrained into my way of life simply by living in an ableist society. And although it’s not intentional, and I am making a conscious effort to undo it, I appreciate being called out and that you used this as an educational opportunity for me. So, thanks! This is also one reason why I always allow my interviewees to review the articles before I post them.”
But it wasn’t her ignorance I want to expose. It was the collaboration. “I don't think you did it wrong and I called you out,” I told Betsy, knowing that when I think people *are* doing it wrong, I typically refuse the interview outright or decline publishing. “I think you did it right from the beginning, it's just that the end result didn't exist in advance - it was created by us working together.”