(Image by Sue Austin, via)
Whether you are left-handed and in search of scissors, or dark-skinned and looking for “flesh-colored” bandages in the West, almost every minority experiences problems not just of prejudice but of practicality. Facing the combined forces of social constructs and innate challenges can be exhausting. Few discussions on difference encapsulate this better than Wheelchair Problems. Run by a high school senior named Gina, the site primarily features memes, such as:
When I discovered the site this past fall, the memories came flooding back. I used a wheelchair for a total of only two years (ages 11 to 12 and 16 to 17), so while many of these memes perfectly illustrate my experience, others wake me up to situations I’ve never faced or considered. It’s an excellent catalyst for simultaneously building community and spreading awareness to those outside the community. Almost every one of the Problems merits volumes of social critique and philosophical debate, but they also demonstrate that you need not sign up for a three-day seminar on diversity to get the message.
I’ve discussed the inherent problems of micro-blogging before. But when the marginalized have the microphone, brevity is often not just the soul of wit but of agency. In an age when disabled people are still portrayed as either helpless victims, freakish villains, or larger-than-life heroes, we need more sites like Wheelchair Problems. Kinda now.