#CripTheVote is a nonpartisan campaign to engage both voters and politicians in a productive discussion about disability issues in the United States, with the hope that Disability takes on greater prominence within the American political landscape. We hope to encourage people with disabilities to engage with elections at all levels from President on down, and to vote. We also want candidates to engage with disability policy issues and disabled people as much as possible.
What is "CripTheVote" supposed to mean?
Basically, it is a catchy way of referring to the idea of disabled people being active voters and through their collective power, forcing important disability issues into the mainstream.
Why do you use the word "Crip"? Isn't that offensive?
You don't need a Twitter account if you want to follow the conversation happening in real-time. At any time, you can check this link. This link will show all the tweets that use the CripTheVote hashtag and you can scroll up and down to read all the comments.
Don’t laugh, but what, exactly, is a “Twitter Chat?” And while we’re at it, what’s a “hashtag?”
A Twitter Chat is a public discussion that uses a hashtag as a virtual meeting point on Twitter. A hashtag is a way of making tweets more easily searchable. By using the hashtag (in this case #CripTheVote) one can find all of the tweets on a particular subject in one place by either clicking on the hashtag or using twitter’s search function. For an example of what a Twitter chat looks like, check out this example by Ruti Regan. It’s very helpful explaining the elements of a typical Twitter chat.
What if I can't keep up with the questions during a Twitter chat?
It's fine to tweet at your own pace. We post our questions in advance in case folks want to prepare. Also, we don't expect folks to have to keep up. Our questions are spaced 4-5 minutes in advance but people can reply at their own leisure. There's no wrong way to participate in a chat. You're welcome to tweet before, during and after the scheduled time. We also suggest you read this guide to using Twitter for discussions and advocacy.
What does posting Twitter comments with the #CripTheVote hashtag accomplish?
The way Twitter hashtags work, individual participation collects all of our comments and ideas into a noticeable voice with a chance of being noticed outside the already engaged disability activist community. It’s also a convenient way to get us all talking and sharing ideas amongst ourselves. In a more concrete way, it could prompt candidates and political reporters engage publicly with specific disability-related questions. If enough people are using a particular hashtag at a given time, Twitter will identify it as trending which garners even more attention from both the media and other Twitter users.
When should I use the #CripTheVote hashtag?
Include it in tweets about elections, voting, and issues at any level, if it is also in some way related to disability. That could mean comments about particular candidate or political party platform positions on disability issues, candidates’ rhetoric and behavior towards disabled people, questions disabled voters want to ask candidates, policy proposals and bills that would affect disabled people, and ideas for encouraging candidates and journalists to engage with disability issues and disabled voters.
May I argue for my favorite candidate under the #CripTheVote hashtag?
Sure! This effort is non-partisan. We aren’t going to endorse candidates or try to make one look better than the others, but that doesn’t mean you have to keep your own preferences secret. Feel free to make your case. Just remember that we want to keep this these discussions respectful and broadly focused on disability-related issues and voting by disabled people. So, if you are going to publicize a candidate, make sure to explain the relevance to disability issues, such as the candidate’s record or positions on disability policy questions.
Why focus on voting by disabled people?
Americans with disabilities could become a very powerful constituency of voters. But currently, we are punching below our weight. While over 16 million people with disabilities voted in the 2016 elections, voter turnout rate of people with disabilities was 6 percentage points lower than that of people without disabilities. Meanwhile, the voter registration rate of people with disabilities was 2 percentage points lower than that of people without disabilities. That is a lot of untapped political power. (Fact sheet: Disability and Voter Turnout in the 2016 Elections Lisa Schur and Douglas Kruse, Rutgers University).
What actually happens, and when?
The signature activity of #CripTheVote is Twitter Chats on topics related both to elections, and to specific disability policy issues. However, people contribute comments, information, questions, and links to articles on disability issues every day under the #CripTheVote hashtag. Every day there’s something to read, and all are invited to contribute to the ongoing #CripTheVote discussion of disability, politics, policy, identity, and voting.
How do I announce a disability issue activism event or initiative? All you need to do is compose a tweet with the event or initiative's particulars, including its goals and what people can do to help, and include in the tweet #CripTheVote. You don't need permission, and you can do it yourself at any time. Just make sure the event is broadly consistent with the theme of disability issues, activism, and politics. A great way to squeeze more detailed information and background material into a single tweet is to post it all on a webpage with a web address, and simply include the web address in your tweet. Viewers can then click on the link and see your information on a webpage in their browser.
While #CripTheVote has gotten a lot of disabled people excited about participating in this year’s elections, a few folks have questioned our decision to make “crip” a key component of the hashtag. Since the complaints and concerns have been mostly expressed carefully, thoughtfully, and with respect, we feel it makes sense to explain ourselves a bit further, for those who might be interested.
Here is our thinking:
- Selective use of “crip” or “crippled” by people with disabilities is a conscious act of empowerment through “reclaiming” a former slur as a badge of pride. “Selected use” means we don’t use it all the time, in every situation. We exercise judgment in when and where it’s appropriate to use.
- “Crip” and “cripple” are also used ironically, to convey a bit of edginess, humor, and confidence, from a community that people tend to assume will be sad, bitter, and boring.
- Disabled people who identify with “crip” or “cripple,” generally share a strong sense of disability pride and deep involvement in disability activism and culture. We know what the social model of disability is, we are familiar with “person first” language, and we take pride in our disability identities. Calling ourselves “cripples” isn’t a sign of self-hatred or ignorance of disability history … quite the contrary.
- “Crip” and “cripple” have been used this way by at least some disability activists for decades. It’s not a particularly new practice. It has, however, grown to be more inclusive, as the disability rights movement itself has gradually become more inclusive, both of people with all kinds of disabilities, and of people who have other important identities.
- “Cripple” as an actual label or insult is not just “politically incorrect,” it is archaic. It is a term from a bygone era, largely out of use even by ableists. That is not true of all negative disability terms. For instance, “handicapped” and “retarded” are both used much more often, and are therefore more risky to play around with than “cripple.” That’s why you won’t find many disability activists and proud disabled people using “handicapped” or “retarded” either as reclaimed terms or ironically.
- We chose to use #CripTheVote because it sounded more interesting, hard-edged, and likely to spark interest than safer, more “accurate” terms. It’s the difference between saying, “Rock The Vote!” and saying “Young People Really Should Register And Vote.”
- All that said, using “Crip” or “Cripple” this way isn’t to everyone’s taste. That’s fine. Some people have painful personal histories with the word. Some people despise irony and don’t like messing around with language. Some people feel it’s just too risky.
-We are not speaking for everyone, especially the disability community. We believe there is room for multiple hashtags and conversations--there’s something for everyone.
- However, context does matter, and if you read through the tweets that have come out of the #CripTheVote hashtag, you will see that is has inspired the very opposite of ignorance, stigma, or medical model paternalism.
- For a deeper look into the issue, read Crip Theory, from Wright State University.
Introduction #CripTheVote is an online campaign that uses Twitter to have conversations about voting and disability issues. We also have blog posts and a Facebook group where we publish information about our upcoming events and news.
Social media is term that’s used a lot–you might hear about Facebook, YouTube, Snapchat, Instagram as examples. Broadly speaking, social media are websites or apps that allow users to post information (text, photos, audio) and share it to the public or within a specific network of friends/colleagues.
This article will give a describe the pros and cons of using a social media platform such as Twitter and how to get started for first-time users.
Pros and Cons
Here are a few pros of using social media if you are a person with a disability and interested in disability issues:
Most accounts are free*
You can connect and find others with similar interests from all over the world
You can learn about things that are happening in real-time
You can learn about things that challenge you and make you think differently about disability issues
You can share your thoughts widely to the public and they can influence and impact other people
It can help build relationships, both in-person and online
People can report/document what’s happening around them
I just cast my first independent ballot using a fully accessible voting machine. I am totally blind. It felt awesome. #cripthevote
With all the cons and drawbacks to using social media, we decided that #CripTheVote will be an online campaign that takes place primarily on Twitter for several reasons:
It takes a lot of resources and energy to organize in-person events
We can have conversations with a wide swath of people with disabilities by using the #CripTheVote hashtag and having organized Twitter chats on specific issues
It’s relatively easy to use social media and doesn’t require any special training or preparation (just practice!)
For three people who don’t do this for a living or with any professional connections to the political world, Twitter is one way to insert ourselves into the broader policy/election discussion without any interference
We understand that our campaign will not reach everyone, but there are many other campaigns that are not online with similar goals. There’s something for everyone and there’s no wrong way to be an advocate.
What is a “Twitter Chat?” And while we’re at it, what’s a “hashtag?”
A Twitter Chat is a public discussion that uses a hashtag as a virtual meeting point on twitter. A hashtag is a way of making tweets more easily searchable. By using the hashtag (in this case #CripTheVote) one can find all of the tweets on a particular subject in one place by either clicking on the hashtag or using twitter’s search function. For an example of what a Twitter chat looks like, check out this example by Ruti Regan. It’s very helpful explaining the elements of a typical Twitter chat:https://storify.com/RutiRegan/examplechat
To give you a sense of the kinds of Twitter chats hosted by Gregg Beratan, Andrew Pulrang and Alice Wong (the co-partners of #CripTheVote) check out this recent link that summarizes their recent chat on voter accessibility:
You don’t need a Twitter account if you want to follow the conversation happening in real-time. At any time, you can check this link:http://twubs.com/CripTheVote. This link will show all the tweets that use the CripTheVote hashtag and you can scroll up and down to read all the comments.
Logging in to Twitter: App for smartphone or desktop
If you use a smartphone, you’ll need to download the Twitter app. This is what you’ll see from an iPhone when you go to the App Store and search for “Twitter”:
You can Read ‘Top’ tweets that are most popular and shared. ‘Live’ tweets show the most recent ones, and other tabs that with News, Photos, and Videos.
Tweeting with the #CripTheVote hashtag: Selfie edition
Your mission, if you choose to accept it, is to tweet a photo or message using the #CripTheVote hashtag. Totally up to you, but it might be a fun first-step in connecting with people with disabilities who are interested in voting and current events.
Visibility of people with disabilities is important. Selfies/photos are a wonderful way to share a brief message and say, “Hey, I’m here and this is what matters to me!” Saying who you are and what you care about is a form of advocacy that can lead to a broader community.
Take a photo!
Photos or short videos can make powerful statements. If you’re at the Voting Summit, feel free to complete the sentence, “I vote because…” and take a photo of you with a sign that will be available at the event (or use any piece of paper).
You can take one during the Yo! Voting Summit or afterward. You can use the Twitter app or their desktop version. Here is Alice’s photo from her iPhone:
Tweet Your Photo with a Message!
This is a step-by-step for iPhone users. It might be different for Android or other phones.
Step 1: Open your Photos on your phone
Step 2: Select the photo you want to post on Twitter by clicking on it
Step 3: Below your selected photo, you can see the options you have for sharing your photo. Swipe left or right until you see the Twitter icon and select it.
Step 4: A small window will open that is connected to your Twitter account (and app). Type your message. Remember, you can only type a message no more than 140 characters (including spaces). Be sure to use the #CripTheVote hashtag
Step 5: After you type your message, click ‘Post’ on the upper right-hand corner of the window. Below is an example of Alice’s photo. She typed the same message on her sign so it’s accessible to all users.
When you type your message, sometimes you’ll see different hashtags that match the one you’re about to type. For example, when Alice started typing the hashtag, #CripTheVote appeared in a list. You can select it without typing the whole thing.
Step 6: This is what the tweet looks like that’s ready to post. Click “Post.”
Step 7: After clicking “Post,” open your Twitter app on your phone.
Step 8: This is what it looks like from Alice’s Twitter account. Now it is public for all to see. If you click on the tweet, you can see the entire image.
If you’re more into Instagram, you can do the same thing and share on Facebook or Flickr at the same time. The steps are similar–just follow these step-by-step images.
Step 1: Open Instagram
Step 2: Select the middle button in blue at the bottom of the screen. Select an image from your photo library (from your phone).
Step 3: Type your caption. Instagram is great because you can write longer messages. Don’t forget the hashtag!!
You can tag your friends on Instagram or post the same image and caption to other social media sites connected that you might use such as Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr.
Note: I don’t select Twitter when I use Instagram because the image doesn’t appear on Twitter, just a link back to Instagram.
Step 4: When you’re done, click “Share.”
Here’s the same message I tweeted on Twitter, but this time on Instagram using the same hashtag. No matter what social media site you use, people can find similar posts on under this keyword.
Conclusion Have fun with social media if you already use it or are interested in trying it! There’s no wrong way to do it and you’ll get the hang of it eventually. If you’re shy, you can post message without a photo.
It’s up to you how much you want to reveal. You are in control.
Don’t Be a Stranger!
We’d love to hear from you! Feel free to email us: DisabilityVisibilityProject@gmail.com
Or if you’re on Twitter, you can follow Andrew, Gregg, and Alice: