Crushing Systems

So many of us grew up (and continue to exist) under crushing systems—racism, sexism, ageism, classism, homophobia, size discrimination. These structures are like factories pumping out blueprints, designs, infrastructures, tools, and stories that shape our world. They have been running for so long, shaping our cultural history and current landscape, that a lot of us don’t even notice the billows of smoke jetting out of their industrial-sized stacks. They are fueled by the worth and power stolen from whole communities. They distort our sense of self, keep us quiet, and make us feel both small and like we are an enormous problem, both invisible and put on display, both a spectacle and swept under the rug.

This act of thievery can be loud and violent, or quiet and sneaky. There are ways these oppressive systems overlap, feed off of each other, mirror one another, and there are also ways they remain uniquely distinct... Shame seems to be a bestselling product pumped out of all these crushing systems.

Excerpted (pp. 13-14) from Rebekah Taussig's Sitting Pretty: The View from My Ordinary Resilient Disabled Body