Disabled Heroes?

Don’t tell them they have disabilities. They are just differently-abled than you and I. There are many characters gracing comic book pages, who don’t view the world as “normal” people do or who can’t function in the world as “normal” people do! This mental floss article outlines 10 of them and there’s another list on the super hero multiverse site! Another opinion is on the wheel chair pride site, which expresses that heroes in wheelchairs are NOT-handicapped. This serves as an example of the case study results expressed by Serendip :

Supercrips could be seen to exist as the opposite, or reaction, to the idea of the tragic disabled person who deserves our pity.

Rose has commented specifically that she doesn’t view herself as someone with special needs, and absolutely does not want anyone’s pity. In addition to Rose, participating in the Macdonald Center’s Independent Living Services program and the DETC workshops has led a few others to comment that they have changed their perceptions about themselves in a positive manner, and that the stigmas they carried against themselves is what was in the way of their doing or not doing things rather than their disabilities. Not only are they more capable than they first realized, they have abilities to spare and share with their community. In the near future, you will see the Squad for Good committing random acts of kindness all around Portland. These acts will provide the opportunity for community members to experience those wonderful, newly discovered abilities. Will it be someone or an act you expected? Probably not, which in my opinion makes it even more awesome!

One reason you may not recognize them is that some members of the Squad, like some well-known heroes, can “pass” for “normal.” These members have the huge struggle of whether or not to identify themselves as being different or not to society at large. What happens if they’re disputed on the bus when they show their honored citizen pass? Showing the pass alone marks them as being different, which prevents them from completely concealing their difference if that was what they wished to do. However, not identifying leads to issues when they can no longer conceal their symptoms. This can take their larger community, who previously didn’t know about the person’s disability, by surprise and often results in shock, and mishandling of situations often resulting in a negative manner for the person with disabilities. Does this mean they should always identify themselves as a “just in case.” No, bus as with the case of the bus pass, they aren’t always given that choice. If you want to check out the other politics of stigma that plays out in the world of the disabled, they parallel those found in this review of the politics in X-Men First Class.  It’s a tangent I could easily find myself writing a novel about, and I’m happy to answer specific questions, but will refrain from doing so now.

For real life examples of other ways the theme of super heroes is used to empower people with disabilities, check out the YMCA in Singapore!


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