Thursday 15th November 07 / 15 November 2007
Okay ArtyFartyBoy, to respond to your comments about the fact that so many of the ‘characters’ in my cartoons are wheelchair users – when we all know (though the non-disabled community is still sometimes surprised by the statistic) that only around 5% of us Crips in the UK are full-time or virtually full-time wheelchair users. And by the way, before I forget, I promise that it wasn’t short term memory loss that caused me to delay in answering you, it’s just that I was looking for my socks!
Ay, ‘tis true, I agree, and it’s an observation that has been made to me before. I’m not going to get all defensive about it, don’t worry. If there are specific reasons, it’s maybe because it’s very much a part of my own past experience, and because – being the totally un-subtle guy that I am (as you know) – it has certainly been an easy, shorthand sort of a way of getting a message across quickly, especially to some non-disabled people. Okay, okay, I hear you say, ‘easy, shorthand’ might be interpreted as ‘lazy’. Oh dear. My head’s on the block here again isn’t it? (Gulp!)
You’re quite right in your underlying message that it’s not always helpful when we’re trying to get people to move away from the stereotypes. To be honest, it’s sometimes hard to depict the subtler aspects of impairment or social identity using the kind of crude, broad-brush style that is so characteristic of Crippen. Like I said earlier, Crippen doesn’t really do subtle … so perhaps there are some of you out there with hidden impairments who might have some ideas I could draw for you? (you can contact me via the Crippen web site – the link is at the top of the blog).
I’d add to this the fact that I am conscious that in the past my characters have been predominantly white, northern European types. I’m aware that this – and the wheelchair-user focus – doesn’t do justice to the diversity within our wonderful community of Cripdom. I hope that you’ll see that in my more recent splurge of offerings I am trying to address some of these issues.
Okay? Are we still friends, ArtyFartyBoy? I hope so! I really appreciate this kind of feedback as it makes for constructive dialogue and moving forward. Cheers!