Disability, Death, and Subverting the Dominant Culture with Alejandra Spector | #21

Nov 26, 2019

Image text reads "Disability, Death, and Subverting the Dominant Culture with Alejandra Spector | #21" superimposed over two disabled Black women (one wearing compression gloves, and the other in a power wheelchair) sitting next to each other and sharing a slice of cake on a date.

Click here to access a written transcript of this episode.

When I first reached out to Alejandra Spector to be a guest on the podcast, I envisioned her talking more broadly about mental health in Latinx communities (the subject of the podcast she co-hosts). But through talking with Alejandra, I came to realize that her own experiences as a Latina woman with a disability would be even more powerful.

I am so honored that Alejandra shared her experiences with rheumatoid arthritis with me, including, as she says in this episode, the good, the bad, the hard, and the beautiful. We chatted about the effect her autoimmune disease has had on her body image, capitalist work culture, issues with our for-profit healthcare system, and more.

We discussed:

  • Some of Alejandra’s background and how she came to be the co-host of the Latinx Mental Health podcast.
  • The common misuse and misunderstanding of what the term “Latinx” really means.
  • What rheumatoid arthritis is and Alejandra’s experience getting diagnosed with it (with the help of an acupuncturist).
  • The Methotrexate drug
  • Why “have you tried…” is not the best thing to say to someone who is struggling with something.
  • How having a body that’s attacking itself can affect body image.
  • The effect on Alejandra’s self-worth of not being able to work the way society expects her to.
  • The subversive nature of disability and the problem with inspiration porn.
  • How the fear of death and a desire for control distances people from illness and disability.
  • The ways in which America’s for-profit healthcare system and other issues of access, such as clean water, housing, etc., affect health outcomes.
  • Why defining health can get tricky for people with disabilities.
  • How Alejandra defines health for herself, including learning how to look at time differently.
  • The importance of listening to and learning from disabled folx directly.

Mentioned in This Episode

Featured in This Episode

Alejandra stares at the camera with a slight, close lipped smile

Alejandra Spector (she/her) is a lady-identifying human trying to live with dignity in the era of late-stage capitalism. It isn’t an easy job, but the alternative is not any better. She would like the internet to know she is not a robot. She’s also the co-host of the Latinx Mental Health podcast. You can find out more about the podcast on its website, Instagram, and Facebook.

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