I’m honoured to have my first guest post, from PB who is a fellow traveller viewing the world from waist high. This post on the changing nature of disability politics and the language that travels with it. He is much braver than I in what he says.. Enjoy! J
Excuse me but what is the ‘disability fight’? Twice this week from widely disparate sources I have heard this term and am puzzled as to its inspiration and meaning.
Who is it against and when will we know who has won?
What is at stake and what are we fighting over?
Is it a fight towards acceptance, recognition, equity and justice? Are we fighting for social inclusion?
Is it a fight against oppression, ignorance and apathy or worse, the dry rot of passive paternalism.
Will it combat that sense of lowered values and quiet disbelief that this ‘fight’ affects each of us.
It is the fight we had to have or one we have been invited to? That is, spend some time in the ring, swing some punches at a nameless opponent then go sit down in your corner and suck an orange with a towel over your head, ala stressed budgie.
Does this fight recognise it is not about us (poodlies), that is its not a factional squabble of the sector?
Will it be likened to the fight against evil, crime or ‘terror’? A war against drugs. We all know how they end up, see references above to oranges.
Is it like the fight to save the environment or planet? One where we all take a responsibility for being a part of the problem AND solution. Were we all have impact and we can ALL change the situation. Acknowledged it is up to us individually as well as communally.
Or is it the fight we have with ourselves, the internal and infernal struggle against adversity, the challenge of self pride and of rising above ourselves, or rather our disability as the rest see (sorry perceive) it. Is it the battle of the badge, the slogan, the 12 second media bite. A fight to be heard clearly and accurately in the face of an eon of stigma and fear.
This is the lonely fight, the fight of the outsider, the caller of the elephants. Does it need to involve others always? Could it be the sort of path to enlighten (or darken) meant that many aspire to and others scurry from?
What is the battlefield? Politics, law, domestic policy, entrenched institutions, systems and practices, or is it in the class room, the family home perhaps? Is it wherever a significant other, spouse, friend or family member turns their back on you because your inconvenient, difficult, hard to include.
Does it begin when they say “But its ok you’ll understand, what else could I do, what choice did I have?” many of you been a player in that fight. What choice did they have, well they had the same hard choice we had, to be true to each other no matter what; to act with integrity for what they knew to be right.
How will we fight this? I for one am excited by the prospect of reigniting the “Society for the Chronically Inconvenienced”, forming a unit, gathering arms, battleship, squadron, whatever and taking it to them, whoever them is.
There are also different approaches. Should we fight openly in public, crawl up the steps of the Whitehouse, or psychologically invade their thoughts, dispel their beliefs and place our magnet against their moral compass.
Why is it a ‘disability fight’? Is it because we don’t actually know the answers to these questions but we figure it’s likely that someone will get hurt, either already or through active service.
I’m puzzled truly, although I am cautiously pleased it has moved on from a disability issue, and that it is no longer a problem. I’m even ok that it is no longer a movement for those of us that were there and having these debates decades ago.Puzzled but confident because at least with a fight you get to name the target and opponent/s. You know it will get dirty, you know it will be tuff but you can choose the sacrifice you make. You also know that casualties are likely but that ultimately you know the side your on, and hopefully who is there beside you.
Thank you to J for the space and opportunity to go “blah” and for thinking it worthy of your blog. PB
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