So I have sat down and taken a look at this whole "Helen Keller is a fraud" business on tiktok and I maybe have some Thoughts that I would like to share now that I am fueled by spite and very strong coffee.

At the top of this thread: Yep I'm Deafblind and on twitter!
I've actually done a pretty deep dive on HK's life recently for my book, and there's... so much mythology around her and her life. We can thank William Gibson (the playwright not the sci-fi author) for that.

Gibson made her a myth.
Helen Keller, in addition to publishing multiple books, several essays (some of which were eugenicist as fuck) was a world traveler. A socialist. She helped found the ACLU. She was a complicated woman of her time. Her legacy is responsible for a lot of ableism.
Helen Keller was also the first deafblind woman to graduate from college. She did a lot.

But Helen Keller, because of her legacy is a monolith.

The tiktok nonsense honestly is coming from that monolith.
So, if y'all only ever read or saw Gibson's version of Helen Keller (which is based in ableist fearmongering and conformity requirements for disabled people) you're gonna assume she didn't speak, or hear, or even really have empathy.

All of which is a lie.
She DID speak orally, though it was limited. She COULD appreciate music (it comes up in her book The World I Live In).

But because y'all think Deafblind people are just one thing you can't conceive of intelligence or adaptation. That's on you.
This is also why this tiktok meme is a problem.

Saying Helen Keller was a FRAUD? That's straight out of the Disabled Law Enforcement Handbook. It's fucked up. You don't get to say disabled people can't do things just because you can't conceive of how.
I have MANY complicated feelings about Helen Keller, her legacy, her philosophies.

But her ability to craft metaphor and prose is stunning. I won't let that get lost.
"Perhaps my sun shines not as yours. The colours that glorify my world, the blue of the sky, the green of the fields, may not correspond exactly with those you delight in; but they are none the less colour for me." - Helen Keller.

But y'all think she's a fraud.
I'm a Deafblind woman.

I'm (almost) done with my book. It comes out next year.

I'll bet someone is going to say I didn't write it, that I couldn't have because I'm Deafblind.

That too, will be bullshit.
Anyway. I'm not a Helen Keller stan by any stretch of the imagination.

But I will defend her right to have written, and her existence as real.
If you liked this thread, or want to learn more about what it's like to live a Deafblind life, please do check out my Patreon: Dispatches from a Deafblind world.


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More from @snarkbat

26 Aug
*continues to laugh*

Okay but have you even READ the original Holmes? He does a whole lot of work for terrified single women in an era where no one believed them. I know it’s not what Doyle INTENDED but I see it.
“Hmm why is there a snake coming through these mysteriously convenient vents? Is it because your husband is an abusive asshole? MYSTERY SOLVED”
“Why does my new employer want to pay me so much and also have me cut my hair off?”

“Don’t take the job, Miss Hunter it’s a creepshow”
Read 4 tweets
18 Aug
Okay. Okay. Okay. So.

I have an 1890s vaudeville/burlesque act to share with you all because somewhere on the internet there was a tweet about the Edwardian version of WAP.

And this is tragically my area of expertise.
In the 1890s, there was a Danish act that hit the Folies Bergere. They were called The Barrison Sisters.

And yes. They were actually sisters, I had to double check though because YOU NEVER KNOW IN THAT PARTICULAR ERA.
Sometimes it's a Boston Marriage situation.

Closets are complicated!

Anyway. The Barrison Sisters WERE IN FACT RELATED.
Read 11 tweets
6 Oct 19
Lessons learned from working a guide dog at #NYCC - a quick thread:
1. A lot of my energy is spent making sure the dog is doing his job. There is popcorn, weird string, and other items of interest on the floor.

Sometimes his focus breaks because SO MANY PEOPLE and we have to refocus.
2. That means that I don’t have the visual energy to find displays.

So next time I will have a LIST and I will give it to my handler to tell me where we’re going and when we get there.
Read 12 tweets
22 Aug 18
So I didn't end up getting into it at Worldcon, because there was a LOT to talk about at the panels I was on, but I want to say it now, because it's important:

We need to remove eugenics from our science fiction.
Eugenics underpins a lot of the thought processes and worldbuilding that exists out there.

Now, you may be thinking "but *I* don't believe in eugenics! I'm not that asshole!"
And I hear you, I do.

But the thing is. If you're writing far future, or even near future SF and you don't have disabled people in it, then you're participating in eugenicist thought processes.
Read 9 tweets
8 May 18

LOOK. i get harassed ALL THE TIME by people for being blind, having a cane and reading.

Gather 'round, because it's storytime.

I live in close proximity with NYC. I used to live there. The worst times for me as a blind woman in the city are when it's me and one strange dude on the train, or worse, a few of them.
First, they notice the cane, they ask if I need help. They come sit closer. They inspect my face.

That's when they notice the glasses. The kindle pressed close to my face with the large print font. (you can read over my shoulder at 30 paces)
Read 11 tweets
16 Jan 18
Ok. It is time to talk about my post-panel ableism incident from the weekend.
A woman came up to me. Asks lots of questions about my hearing aids, my batteries, if I need help getting new aids/can she see my aids.

This is annoying, but almost normal.
People like to know more. So I try to be patient.

But then she says she had a surgery that cured her blindness last year, "thank god", but that she used to be like me.
Read 10 tweets

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