Have you ever been forgotten about? Like, people didn’t even think to consider you exist? So completely that you, yourself wondered if you even mattered to the person at all? I mean, you must. Right? They shared all those pictures that got all those likes. You made sure to pose for them when they asked. Did they ask?
Companies and governments alike have decided to take action against global warming like a drunk dude-bro trying to pee-write his name in the snow: he forgot it’s July and he’s just peeing willy-nilly in full view of the neighbors. Maybe, he just didn’t think about it in the first place. That’s the exact same logic being used by supporters of the straw ban, a PR stunt that will wreck the independence disabled people seek in public spaces. And before you become the millionth-thousandth person to ask: no to alternatives, single-use plastics are the best option. I could explain how to you, but they’ve invented google.
If you follow me on twitter, you’ve observed as I fielded a barrage of tweets from “environmentalists” insisting that isolation and eugenicists practices weren’t the intent of the ban and that policy makers and companies probably didn’t think of disabled people.
Why is that better?
Also, their intent doesn’t matter in comparison to their impact.
Worse yet, why didn’t these people think that one-fifth of their customer/constituent base didn’t exist? The straw ban is the symptom of a much larger problem: marginalized stories and histories are unimportant to people that have far too much power over their lives.
Straws were originally used in hospitals and nursing facilities to keep people hydrated and were popularized by shake shops and fast food restaurants. Essentially abled people gentrified the straw for commercial reasons and are now trying to restrict access to them now that shallow environmentalism has popularized their ban. Realistically, banning them doesn’t make a dent in conservation and can end up keeping disabled people isolated and forgotten. True conservation requires caring for people first so that they have the energy to join you in the fight. No one is saying disabled people don’t like the environment, but our ability to live and quality of life comes first.
Abled people can barely remember that disabled people exist NOW, what would happen if we were forced to stay home because public spaces became even more hospitable. (do you think they’re hospitable now?) Isolation is a tool of eugenicist policies because it allows perpetrators’ targets to remain out of the public eyes while more and more restrictive policies threaten the lives of their victims. If you think that this is just a small problem and that disabled people are exaggerating, try scouring the web for people that in agree with you. You won’t find yourself in good company.
The key to being an ally to disabled people is simple: believe us when we say something will have a detrimental effect on our lives. It’s not hard; you believed Starbucks when they said they were environmentalists by banning straws even despite the fact their alternative was to use sippy lids made of even more plastic.
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