Planet Earth

My daughter's Oil on Canvas

There was a bit of a row last week about oranges. There was a Tweet. Then the World imploded. I picked up this response this morning, and of everything I’ve seen it provides the most intelligent of responses I’ve read. For me, however, nobody in this argument appears to have grasped the larger point. Ironically, the woman who started this is as perplexed as I am.

If you’re going to assume there’s an agenda to someone’s actions, that is undoubtedly going to be influenced by what you are. The people on my Twitter feed for instance with disabilities or who knew someone who did were all over crippledscholar’s point of view with good reason, because there is both empathy and association with the stance. However, if Ms Gordon’s actual reason for Tweeting was to highlight the stupidity of Whole Foods’ action? Well, she did the job there, quite apart from any other point that needed to be made. I’ll admit my first thought when I saw this was environmental. Now, in the game of Worldwide Consequence Top Trumps, environmental disaster won’t immediately beat disability issues, and it shouldn’t even be a contest. However, if we played this game for other things, I can guarantee that we’d increase the chances of that being the case a great deal faster than would transpire if the oranges kept their skins on. Perception is a bitch, after all, and she’ll let anyone sell their angle as long as the Earth still exists and has people living on it to listen. Minorities aside, all this convenience still depends on maintaining a planet capable of producing the food to skin to begin with.


What bothered me most with all of this was when I suggested that people could peel oranges easier with a knife. Yup, using a scary sharp object to do stuff was met with an incredible amount of negative reaction. I will happily admit that this is not practical for certain people, but I’ll also argue quite passionately that trying is better than simply dismissing an idea completely out of turn. I think that’s what irked me the most about a lot of the casual reaction this thing has garnered: if someone needs help to peel an orange, you offer it. You don’t make a big deal, you simply help. If they’re capable of helping themselves, shouldn’t that always be the default state to begin with? Yes, I understand that this isn’t possible/practical for some, but if you can? I’m not suggesting this is the only answer, and I’m certainly not advocating it’s the right one. However, if I as a human being have the ability to do something, surely I should at least attempt it?

My hands are covered with scars from knives over the years, and scalpels too when I used to use them for practical work. I’ve been hospitalised for my clumsiness. However, the damage teaches me to be better. Somewhere between my youth and now that ability to make mistakes and learn from them appears to have vanished from certain people’s mindsets, and it bothers me greatly. I’m not sure if this is fixable, or whether I should be as concerned about it as I am. I utterly grasp the frustrations of those who feel that minorities aren’t served by the modern world, but there are points of intersection and overlap that many people just don’t grasp. If it were as simple as opening the world to everyone, I’m pretty sure humanity would be all over this by now, or at least the version I ascribe to. However, that involves everybody pulling together, and doing the most they possibly can to ensure the entire planet’s moving in the same direction.

Looking at this argument, that’s sure as hell not happening right now.

One response to “Planet Earth”

  1. The peeled orange controversy has given me a lot to think about. Earlier this week, I bought grapes that were in a small plastic container. That container was made from recycled soda bottles – and it can be recycled after I’m done using it.

    But, I didn’t buy the container of grapes from Whole Foods, so I’ve no idea if the peeled orange plastic container was recyclable or not. I feel like if it were known that the container could be recycled – then the whole controversy could have ended rather quickly.

    On the other hand, maybe it can’t be recycled at all, and we are right back to how things went.

    As far as the disability portion of the controversy… that’s given me a lot to think about as well. I grew up with two family members who were legally blind (meaning they could see a little bit – but not as much as a typical person could) one family member who had severe arthritis, and a family member who is autistic. I’m married to a man who is legally blind, and I have some kind of arthritis myself (that my doctor can’t quite put a label on yet).

    My first thought about things like the peeled orange controversy is in terms of how being able to purchase an already peeled orange could be very helpful to people who have certain kinds of disabilities. This controversy has made me realize that most people don’t actually think about how things in this world help or harm those who have disabilities. I guess I always assumed that people intrinsically realized that – and I’ve learned that most do not even give it a thought.


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