I Am That Wheelchair Kid On Your Team

“We’ve got a bunch of wheelchair kids on our team!”

Does this sound like a positive thing to you? No. This is an insult. Plain and simple.

Let me provide some back story. In the midst of a competitive match in Overwatch, one of my teammates uttered this phrase out of pure frustration.

I get it, we were losing. We had a Tracer that was unable to secure kills, an ineffective Roadhog who could not land a hook to save his life and the enemy team had an obnoxiously good Symmetra.

In short, we were getting our asses kicked.

“We’ve got a bunch of wheelchair kids on our team,” our Mercy who never ONCE revived us, shouted.

Was he mocking our legs that don’t work? No. He was insulting our mental capabilities.

But why would he say that? Why would he call us wheelchair kids?

Because he was utilizing a stereotype that has existed for decades. People in wheelchairs, as the stereotype would have you believe, are said to have limited mental use.

We’re called retarded.

Stupid.

Idiotic.

“We’ve got a bunch of wheelchair kids on our team!”

I’ve been called all of those phrases before. Multiple times. And every single time I hear those words, I get pissed.

I have been cast aside too often, by people who are unable to accept the fact that I am physically different. They see the wheelchair, and automatically assume that I have absolutely zero cognitive function.

Would someone with mental retardation have been able to graduate from college on Friday? Would they have been accepted into their university’s Master’s program? No. No, they would not.

“We’ve got a bunch of wheelchair kids on our team!”

It’s BEYOND frustrating, having to continuously prove to other people that I am “normal.” Granted, I may be picking on this person without knowing the full circumstances. Maybe he didn’t mean what he said. Maybe he’s been struggling with some personal issues. Who knows, maybe someone pissed in his Cheerios that morning.

My point, is that these words, these slanderous verbal assaults, need to stop. It doesn’t matter if an insult is directed toward race, religion, gender, sexuality, political affiliations or physical or mental weaknesses.

“We’ve got a bunch of wheelchair kids on our team!”

This story does have a positive ending though. No, we did not pull off a clutch victory at the last second.

We lost.

Badly.

However, my Reinhardt Earthshatter quadruple kill did earn me the Play of the Match!

Having our Mercy watch, as the wheelchair kid single-handedly eliminated four members of the opposing team, did bring a smile to my face. I didn’t even care that we lost. I was just excited to see that the game recognized my skill.

“We’ve got a bunch of wheelchair kids on our team!”

Yes, you did have a wheelchair kid on your team. And yes, he was a much better player than you.

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2 comments

  • The term post dates me for the most part but, if I’m extrapolating correctly, your whole rant sounds like what I would expect from a “wheelchair kid.”

    You might want to try to be a little less sensitive when it comes to gaming. Basic social graces and sensitivity to the emotion of others has never been part of gaming. Hell, I’d be surprised if the lack thereof wasn’t a lot of it allure for many.

    Now, outside of the game, is a different story. In RL, that sort of shit should neither be the expectation nor be accepted in any way, shape, or form.

    Spoken from the point of view of 50+ year-old cripple. I’m not in a chair, but my time in the service did leave me needing a cane to walk.

    Like

    • Precious Snowflake

      That comment makes no sense. Just because “social graces” haven’t existed in video games (which they have, so I have no idea what you’re talking about) doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t strive for more accepting and welcoming spaces online. There isn’t anything wrong for someone who has lived much of their life online (because his condition makes it nearly impossible otherwise) to call out terrible behavior when they see it. I’m glad we agree that basic human dignity should exist offline, but why shouldn’t terrible comments be put on notice when they come online?

      Like

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