Thursday, November 4, 2010

Southern Rap Takes A New Low With Wheelchair Shawty

In the interest of transparency I am going to admit that I really don't listen to a lot of rap.  I am more of classic rock girl but when I came across DMoney and Smoove's “Wheelchair Shawty” I was instantly reminded why I left this genre behind.  These able bodied men thought it would be fun to make a video mocking people who use wheelchairs.  As someone who has seen a wheelchair dancer I know that the medium can actually be quite beautiful but when reduced in the manner it turns the art into something downright ridiculous.

There is not a single wheelchair user in the video.  What we see is a group able bodied people pretending to be disabled and laughing.“Do the dance so good you would think I’m special and I look kinda handicap!” He is sure to let us know however, that this is just pretend.  Disability is not a game.  Each day we must negotiate a world that is not designed for us, while telling us to rise above, but of course that isn't fun enough for a nifty little song.  Despite the laws that are meant to  create equal opportunity it can all be done by a single person.

A wheelchair is much more than a disability device.  For those that use one, they represent freedom - they are legs.  They are not a toy and should not be treated as such.  My wheelchair has on many occasions made the difference between being trapped in my home and experiencing the world and I find this song to be hateful. Honestly, I don't know where the fuck these two get off deciding that it is cool to make a mockery of a disabled identity.




What are your thoughts on this song?  Do you feel it typifies disableism and how?