Local six-piece Inly have a brand-new video for their song "Mississippi Misfit." The band's angel-voiced Mindie Lind (vocalist/songwriter) wanted to make the video to address disability culture, or as she would prefer it be called, Cripp Culture. Lind does not have legs, and the song and video attempt to answer a question she gets a lot, which is, "What happens when you go to the bathroom and someone is already in (or comes out of) the big/blue stall?"
Watch the video and then read my conversation with Lind below!
Where does the term Cripp Culture come from? Is it something you came across? Something you invented? You know, I didn’t invent it, but I sort of got to it on my own. It’s come from this dirty word from way back when. And we have a lot of new words now, and even though they come from a place and time right now where people have rights, there’s still a real lack of culture around these words we’re all commonly using. We don’t really have any popular icons for Cripp Culture. So Cripp is this radical position in taking back power and pride. And you know, I think it’s accurate—I do a lot of things, but walking isn’t really one of them, so for me, that just fit really well.
But I’m realizing that it’s actually not something that I made up. A guy actually came to a show we did at Folklife and said, “I saw some Cripp Culture shit with your name on it—that’s really cool, my brother was a part of the Crippled Revolution.” Which is what they were calling it in the 1960s, and was responsible for putting all the curb cuts in Berkley—the first city in the United States to do it citywide. That’s what they were calling it back then, and it’s not something that I knew, but I just started using that word and I didn’t really ask any permission, but it’s really cool that there’s actually a history and a culture behind it of radical folks who are reassigning meaning to an old dirty word.
The video is addressing those moments when an able-bodied person comes out of the disabled restroom and you're waiting outside. Does that happen a lot? Sure it happens. You go into the bathroom and all the stalls are taken, so you just take the big stall, and when they come out and I'm waiting, there tends to be a moment—which is a common moment for me, a sort of a not-so-common moment for them. So it’s actually something that my friends, who aren’t there for it, were really curious about.
It was clear to me, since I wanted to make a Cripp Culture video, that that’s the question we were gonna answer. There are so many different reactions, but we just took on three: this overly, and kind of wastefully apologetic stance; this fear-based avoidance, where they see me and they have so much fear around it that they just avoid me; and then there’s anger. But I haven’t actually gotten into a bathroom brawl, as seen in the video [laughs], but we wanted to put that in there. We were excited to put new images of Cripp folks out there. And I haven’t seen that before. Plus it was really fun to fight Katie for half a day [laughs].
So when people make those mistakes, what is the ideal reaction? Or a better reaction? I can get into a wheelchair, but I’m often using a skateboard, so I don’t need that bathroom as much as other people need that bathroom. But for me, these reactions mostly just waste time. And I really need to just go to the bathroom, you know? I guess my general stance—when people want to offer more help than they should be offering—is that line from the song: “Take a number and proceed, because it ain't no help.” Which is true, people are like, hanging around like 15 minutes after, trying to help you into the bathroom, and it’s like “I don’t need your help and you’re not helping.”