Blogger speaks out against social, disability injustices
Activist, writer, queer blogger and disabled Korean adoptee Mia Mingus speaks against social injustice in her blog “Leaving Evidence.”
Mingus gave a speech on Thursday in the Livingston Student Center about her background and the difficulties she has been dealing with her entire life in consideration of her physical disabilities, as well as being a queer Korean adoptee growing up in the Caribbean.
Mingus is involved in the Rainbow Writers series as a part of the month-long event known as “Gaypril.”
Mingus came to the U.S. Virgin Islands as an infant, and was stricken with polio afterward, leaving her crippled, she said.
She said the unsavory treatment she received from the doctors and brace-makers she interacted with made her question where the politics of medicine as well as beauty.
“I hated the whole process. I was forced to wear a brace from the time I was 6 months old until the time I was a sophomore in college. I finally stopped wearing it on my own accord,” Mingus said.
Careless remarks of medical workers made Mingus feel insecure of her appearance to the world, she said.
She said she attempts to let newly disabled people understand they need to work through the surprisingly unfavorable treatment they receive from physicians and whoever else they must deal with to treat their disability.
Mingus prefers to use the term disabled, as opposed to the more politically correct term differently abled, because she feels that it is more accessible and automatically has a political context.
Zaneta Rago, assistant director of Center of Social Justice Education and LGBT Communities, a campus-wide organization, helped organize and set up the event. She said she personally followed Mingus’s blog and has seen her speak and do workshops.
“She is really good at finding a link between disability justice and other social injustices,” Rago said.
Mingus said she both chose and felt obligated to write, given her disability, gender and race. She likes the feeling of obligation for the movements she is involved in.
Mingus prides herself on providing accessible writing in her blog geared toward ethnic, disabled and queer women. She describes her writing style as bulletproof.
“If you tell it in a way that doesn’t deny anyone else their truth or doesn’t ask anyone else to silence their truth, then I really believe it’s bulletproof writing,” Mingus said.
Amarilis Rodriguez, a School of Arts and Sciences senior, heard about the event through the Center for Social Justice. She was interested in Mingus because she is currently doing research on peer migrants from Puerto Rico.
“Her work is … very attractive because it’s different than scholarly writing, but just as valid and informative,” Rodriguez said. “It allows a more honest truth to come out about social issues.”
Mingus said writing saved her life because it is a way to have a conversation with herself, allowing her to work through the issues that occupy her mind. She was the only disabled person in her family, so writing was crucial to her self-expression.
Merz Lim, assistant director of the Asian American Cultural Center, said he also helped set up and organize the event. He praised Mingus for her intersectional approach to social justice.
“[The event] is a great way for both offices [Center of Social Justice Education and LGBT Communities and The Asian American Cultural Center] to collaborate in terms of social justice, LGBT and Asian-American culture,” he said.
Although Mingus has only considered herself a writer for the past five years, she has been writing since a very young age, citing journal entries and short stories as her first works. She said she was 1 of possibly 5 creative people on the island she grew up on.
She said a publisher approached her about writing a book in 2007. She is now in the process of collecting speeches and essays she has done over the years.