#TheShortBus : My Ride Is Not Your Joke!

My Ride Is Not Your Joke - stop short bus stigma

image description: a drawing of a short yellow school bus with three happy children waving from the windows: a White boy in a blue and red striped shirt, an Asian girl in a green shirt with blue flowers and a Black girl in a blue and orange striped shirt. Above the bus are the words: MY RIDE IS NOT YOUR JOKE! Below the bus are the words: Insulting fellow human beings with “short bus” comments doesn’t make you look funny; it makes you look cruel.

When I first heard about #TheShortBus flash blog, I was unsure if I should join or not because I didn’t ride a short bus. But then I thought about all the times in my life when I’ve been called “short bus” or had someone tell me I should be on a short bus and realized that it doesn’t matter whether I was actually on a short bus myself — the stigma touches all of us. And “short bus” is symbolic of a larger body of cruel jokes people use to diminish others. There’s also the R-word and jokes about Special Olympics (including one not so long ago from our president, a man who has worked on legislation to help people with disabilities and really should have known better than to go there.) People go through all kinds of philosophical acrobatics to try to justify their use of these comments. The worst justification I’ve ever seen was Ann Coulter saying that it was ethically okay for her to call President Obama the R-word because everyone knows he’s not intellectually disabled — in her opinion, it would be wrong to call someone who actually has an intellectual disability the R-word but it’s mysteriously okay to dehumanize people who are intellectually disabled by using them as nothing but a walking insult to smack others with. Bottom line: it’s wrong! I don’t care who you are using “short bus” to mock or insult, you are hurting everyone who ever rode a short bus, all of us with developmental and other disabilities regardless of our mode of transportation, and everyone who knows and loves us. That’s a lot of people to be so cruel and stigmatizing toward, just to get your little joke in — which, by the way, is not even funny. So stop it! Our ride is not your joke! Our lives are not your joke! Treat your fellow human beings with decency and stop using language that denigrates us for being different from you. Using aspects of the lives of disabled children (or adults) as jokes and insults is unacceptable! If you are a person who makes these sorts of comments, I hope you will think about who you are hurting with them. If you hear or read people making comments like this, I hope you will be able to speak up and tell them that it’s not cool. And if this topic is close to your heart, I hope you will join in and write an entry for #TheShortBus along with us! Not only is there strength in numbers and a louder message when more of us share it, but there is joy and friendship here, too. Come join us on the short bus! We are not scary; we are wonderful and welcoming. Cruelty is never cool. Here on the short bus is where you will find the truly cool kids. ============================================= The “My Ride Is Not Your Joke” design is available on stickers and t-shirts of light and dark colors. The web picture of the design is free to share anywhere you like, so long as you link back here. Thank you.

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