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

Sunday, July 29, 2007

DISABILITY CONFLICT

I sometimes wonder if I sound too passionate about the cause of disabled people that non-disabled people think I've got something against them. This was the feeling I got on last Friday's session (the last one) I had with bank employees. Indeed, I was surprised at the anger that I felt vibrating in the room as I explained why the need for access to the built environment, for example, was not 'special' or even 'particular' but ensured that our right (in this case, access to buildings) was given to us. But some of those who spoke the loudest were of a different opinion. I even got the impression that 'we' as disabled people should be grateful for it.

It seems that the people had encountered disabled people who abused the system by being arrogant and demanding rights they were not entitled to - thus expecting 'preferential treatment'. This behaviour, I must say, I cannot defend. And it really frustrates me. Whilst disabled people who are actively working for inclusion are doing their best to promote our rights, other disabled people who do not give a toss about other disabled people have the power to destroy all this. I know it has happened for other groups, but I think some of us should know better. But on to another note ...

Indeed, there were other things that hurt me during that session. Things that, I believe, shouldn't feature here. It's only because I don't want to hurt people (or people I thought were friends). But I must say that on that day as well, I was made to feel ashamed that I went on with my education and that I'm still studying. It's unfair to be belittled because you had been lucky in life at least in one area. It's not a question of any extraordinary 'gifts' I have to get on with my education but it has much to do with the good support I had from family and friends through the years.

And when you're made unwelcome by some disabled people because of the choices you have made, or rather the choices that were made available to you, it's the hardest kind of exclusion I guess. But back to the negative vibes of the crowd ... This is would I wanted to say, if they had let me do it...

"The issue of disability, I firmly believe, is not about taking sides but about claiming rights. Rights that have been denied to us for a long time - and still are!"

This is the reason I started this blog and my activism. I have other interests of course. But that's a post for the future ...

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