Apples & Oranges

So, a thread on twitter regarding #orangegate raised some points. I commented, and was asked for a clarification. I posted one, but it was not accessible for all. My apologies for not responding in a format accessible to all. I am still fighting my own, internalized ableist tendencies in the form of considering how different people will be able to interact with my content. So here is a more accessible version. (And, as I state multiple times, I am not trying to speak FOR all people whom this issue affects. I am just trying to encapsulate what I see the as differences in the issues being argued. If you would like to clarify, rebutt, or correct me, please feel free to leave a *civil* comment. Thank you.)

Background: Here is the thread that started this new-ish conversation.

@cartooninperson asked me for an explanation of why I (and by extension, all of us) were continuing to bring up points and rebuttals. Knowing my reply was too long to fit in a 140 character format, I typed it into paint and saved it as a .jpeg file. However, that method is not accessible for everyone, and it is hard to read. So I will transcribe my response into text here:

What seems to be happening here is that you are arguing one point, many of us are arguing another. Those of us who are stating the oranges should stay on shelves are pointing out that his product is accessible to us in that particular type of packaging. Many of the people who are stating the oranges should be pulled have outright stated that it doesn’t matter what is good for PWDs, anyway. We have been called wastes of oxygen, told not to breed, told we are less than human, and that what we want or need is of no consequence. That we should just suck it up and deal with not having fresh oranges. Other people are piping up that the oranges should go because the packaging is wasteful. However, this is not the entire truth.The packages are reusable and they could be made of biodegradable plastic. Furthermore, we are pointing out that there are many other products with much less nutritional value that consume more energy to be made shelf-stable and then be packaged in wasteful packaging, and no one is calling for THEM to be pulled from the shelves. I cannot speak for all PWDs, but I have a hard time opening those types of packages (meaning the yucky  oranges in syrup that are in individual plastic bowls with a film of cellophane on top that I mentioned in a previous tweet), AND I wind up spilling the juice everywhere once I do get them open. So, I do not buy them. However, many of us love oranges and fresh fruit and enjoy the independence of being able to buy oranges that we don’t then have to ask for someone else to peel for us. As I and many others have stated before, it’s not like people are always around, it is demeaning and changes the dynamic between friends/lovers if we have to keep asking for stuff like this, and it is frustrating to have to wait for it to be convenient for someone else to come peel the orange. Many of our doctors advise that fresh fruit is ALWAYS better than canned or juice (another argument others have made – that we should make do with those). The more you process an item, the more nutrition it loses. Now, we have also conceded that there could be more ecologically friendly accessible packaging for this product. However, we do not think the product should be pulled from the shelves outright until such packaging exists. That is like throwing the baby out with the bath water.

What you seem to be arguing is not the same as what many of us are calling for. It all has to do with our needs that should be considered. From all this outcry, it is obvious that there is a market here ready and willing to buy pre-peeled oranges. But what you seem to be suggesting is that the product should be pulled now, that all commercialized packaging should be pulled now, and those foods only be reintroduced once eco-friendly packaging is available. (Please, feel free to correct me if I am misinterpreting your tweets.) So, what we are hearing is, those disabled people with dexterity and fine motor skills issues be damned, you can only have your oranges once there is eco-friendly packaging. Meanwhile, all those of us without dexterity or fine motor skills issues are going to sit over here and eat us some oranges. YUMMMMMMM. This may not be what was intended to be conveyed, but this is the message we are receiving. At least, this is what I am getting from all the tweets back and forth.

If anyone else who is in favor of the oranges staying wants to pipe in on anything I got wrong or that I did not add, please do so. I do not want to seem to be trying to speak FOR all others with dexterity/fine motor skills issues. And if I misstated your meaning, @cartooninperson, please feel free to pipe up. I am trying to explain what I see is happening here, in response to your query to me regarding how what we are arguing is different.

I hope this clears up for you why several of us are pushing back at you. If you’ll forgive the pun, it’s apples and oranges. We’re arguing about apples (the whole underlying issue/ableism/disrespect) while you are only focusing on the oranges themselves (or at least, this is the way it seems). Really, the two arguments are not the same at all.