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Gordon's D-Zone Arcive (2006-2014)

Saturday, October 14, 2006

THOU ART RIGHT IS … (PART 2)

There are of course many dangers into turning my life into medical history. The greatest danger, however, remains when it comes to discussing our rights as persons. If we are regarded as ‘medical problems’, it’s not hard to see how the myth of:

Once you’ve seen one, you know them all

Persistently resurfaces in a discussion about disabled people. Instead of seeking ways to get to know us, people often focus solely on your impairment.

Imagine me entering a room…

“So you use a wheelchair?”

I nod. Then for a complete stranger, choose from:

“Where you born that way?” or

“What’s your condition?” or even,

“I’ve often worked with people like you…”

The last one happened to me very recently. There are many reasons for this interest in our impairments but it may be because people think that:

Impairment defines character.

Wait there, you’re constantly speaking of disability here, so there is something that links you people with impairments all together isn’t there?

Yes, we speak of a common heritage as disabled people. This heritage reflects a history that has constantly defined us in terms of our impairments. Thus, we are victims of pathology, curse or tragedy. In short, we were always regarded as not quite of this world:

So, we have been described as:

OBJECTS OF RIDICULE

EMBODIMENT OF EVIL

EXTRAORDINARY PEOPLE

POLLUTANTS TO THE MASTER RACE

LIVES NOT WORTH LIVING

DIVINE CREATURES OR SUPERNATURAL BEINGS

OBJECTS OF CHARITY AND RELIGIOUS DEVOTION

I’d better stop there for I’ll really start to wear myself out. But how can we be all of these things at once? The answer is simple.

Until the past 40 years, disabled people have not been describing their experience but it was always the other, be it the priest or medical examiner here, who defined who we are and our purpose in life. And even if I try to be myself, I cannot avoid being just another ‘brick in the wall’ to quote Pink Floyd for strangers and the general public.

And giving us our rightful recognition goes beyond treating us with dignity or care. It means admitting that as humans we are:

Social

Political

Sexual

Other than being simply MEDICAL or SPIRITUAL entities. The point is that too many think that simply giving me a life is enough. For what is life outside society or the community? But yet, this same society should go even further still.

And I’ll leave you with this for today:

How can I be myself if when I speak I’ll be judged in terms of my impairments and what they are perceived as being? Will I be considered part of the community or part of the environment? And that to me would be a significant difference!

TO BE CONTINUED…

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