recognition for/of disabled people

Recognition is a big theme for me right now. The questions i’m asking remind me of this personal experience: I used to be a community artist using words and pictures to represent the communities i found myself with. As such i knew other radical artists who in turn knew other radical artists. One new years eve my friend, the radical artist, invited me to meet with his own friends; the other radical artists. The first one i met said; “Hi. I am black and a radical artist, I use my experience of racism to inform my work.” The second said; “Hi! I am a woman and a radical artist. I use my experience of sexism to inform my work”. I said “Hello. I am a disabled person. My experience of disability informs my work”. They looked me up and down as i stood tall and proud and said; “You’re not a disabled person”.

I’m thinking about this because i have been involved in some research with the Office Of Disability Issues which I found out focused on disabled people as defined by the DDA (Don’t Do Anything Act) or as others know it the Disability Discrimination Act. I was born with a physical impairment, i was institutionalised within special schools, i acquired other impairments because of my experiences within the institution and outside of them when i was targeted as the only disabled person within the community. So i would fit in with the long term aspect of this ignoble definition but the lawyers might argue about the substantive aspects of my impairment to the extent that i could not bring a case.

I also know i would be excluded by the benefits agency and by a british policy called Fair Access To Care which is all about keeping disabled people out of services and saving money. I also know that other disabled people have queried my experience of disability in exactly the same way as the radical black artist and the radical female artists alluded to above. You don’t look disabled. You don’t seem to have anything wrong with you? So you can see i need to think about the recognition dilemma further. I guess to be included i need to constantly flag up the social model of disability. I’m happy to do that.

Disabled People are those people who are discriminated against on the basis of their impairment by society.


1 Comment »

  1. smith-macintyre said

    hi deitrich
    i have found your blog by accident.
    i am registered blind and usually when i bump into
    something accidently the discovery is accompanied by pain.

    i will, listen to, your blog with the aid of easy-english Daniel
    who does not sound like a robot in the same way synthetic Andy does.

    i am looking at ways to get disabled folk the opportunity to work from home
    doing real jobs for real money.

    have any suggestions?

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