If you are disabled, have a relationship to someone who is, work in this world or maybe just read my blog; you get the base issues faced.
When writing on the subject of disability, you can’t be everything to everyone. Despite having an impairment, people are still people. A medical condition will vary making life’s challenges different. Then throw in types of personality, intelligence, humour, interests, political persuasion and you get a large disparity.
I know my experiences and views will appeal more directly to a wheelchair user, silly sense of humour and a social kinda being. It’s great that my mirror image will be agreeable, but it won’t change the world!
My holy grail is not just to outline why disabled people have been oppressed, pushed out, misinterpreted and shunned, but to unify society to eradicate this rubbish.
We all know the deal is that a disability, impairment or medical conditions occurs very frequently – 10m currently in the UK. We know back in the day that society tried to cure and if unable to, would exclude such people from the world. Today, even though people don’t realise it, it’s still happening.
When I can’t wheel upstairs or on a tube, when someone sees me and thinks “ah bless”, when an employer thinks “too awkward and risky”; it’s because someone just hasn’t thought properly, but it’s wrong!
The problem is nobody is conscious of this. When disabled people had no voice we needed direct action. The fact the generation before me chained themselves to buses, threw paint at Parliament and fought to be heard: they gave my generation more choice and opportunity.
I want to say thank you for this! I can’t imagine life without these actions. Makes me shudder to think about and I’m so grateful for these actions.
Nonetheless, we are thankfully in a newer world. With a better standard of living, despite recent difficulties, people are looking to support others and in turn grow themselves to be a better person. Read Maslow or my Disability Diamond Theory for my point here.
Despite these stupid barriers that disable me and others, plus the ignorance that causes them; I do believe people are good. They just don’t understand disability or know what to do.
We saw with the Paralympics a coming together of worlds. A group of ‘superhuman’ athletes who are cool, sexy and happen to have an impairment. They collided with a public who were on an Olympic high, more socially minded and ready to look beyond medical conditions.
So what next?
The crux of the solution relies on the masses – our local communities and general society. However they need education, support and guidance as to how. It’s time to move on from finger pointing and become activists in a new way.
Before the political crew come at me – government must improve policies, funding and investment to disabled people. I’m just stating that we can alter how we demonstrate the value in this…
I believe disabled people can start to ‘own’ their differences. Many are kicking ass at school, work and life. If we have sex differently, roll rather than walk, speak with a computer, require sensory stimulation; so what!? By showcasing this, being proud of it and never settling; the bar gets raised a little higher. Moreover the message can be “disability is cool, sexy and I need to get involved”.
When someone says the wrong word, is derogatory or discriminates; smile and explain your challenges and your successes. If someone asks how they can help; tell them to demand access to public buildings, transport and employment. Suggest they may want to write to their MP and so on. Throw in jokes as it’s the best way to break down barriers. Be courteous, respectful and engaging. If you’re not disabled and want to chat with a disabled person, just be normal and ask of anything you’re not sure of. You may get burned, but you make the best friend imaginable. what have you to lose?
In seeing disabled people as capable, achieving and valuable members of the world; the rest will follow. I am living by this mantra, as are many other people I know. I want to see disabled people loving themselves, educating the world on their amazing difference and seeing these barriers fall.
If you liked this post, know someone else who would enjoy reading it or have a head on your shoulders; please share this far and wide. We are onto something here, so please be a crucial part of social change in action 🙂
As always Martyn, well said!
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