for the record

Tonight I’m having a rant. Certain parties from within the disabled community – whom I chose not to name – have opted to label me as something of a traitor to disability rights and politics in my rejection of disability pride. Needless to say, I profoundly disagree with them. My point over the last few blogs was simply this: given that the disabled are such a disparate group, why should we be proud for the sake of it? Is there not a contradiction in the way we seek equality with all other people, yet continue to ostracise ourselves by adopting a politics of ‘us and them’? we demand to be treated the same as everyone else while some of us deliberately draw attention to what sets us apart for political reasons. We have adopted the ‘social model’ which states that we are all just as ‘normal’ as anyone else, and that if various societal and environmental factors were overcome we would be able to flourish, yet, in the name of ‘pride’ or whatever, we brand ourselves as different. Why is it that when I point this out that some people brand me a traitor, accuse me of hating disabled kids, and refute my right to be a role model for Onevoice?

For the record, I do not hate anyone; my work with Onevoice makes me extremely proud – proud of myself, my fellow role models and the young people, not of some loosely affiliated group. I’m proud because 1voice actually makes a difference by showing the kids they have true potential. People should be proud of their selves, their achievements, of their friends and family, not some loosely affiliated group which we are, in a way, striving to disband.

Does nobody else see the irony in maintaining a pride in disability alone, while striving to be seen on the same ‘level’ as all other people. the difference between this and other subcultures is, in a way we are trying to irradiate it by simply being seen as ‘normal’. What’s so wrong in suggesting that?

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