While this may be seen as quite a sweeping question, I feel it must now be asked. How can many disabled people not be seen as having issues with themselves when they are prepared to label themselves as “the broken of Britain”. The old movement always expected a degree of self loathing of its members which is seen with the BBC Ouch website.
I feel the answer to the question is complex and that from my many years research of impairment identify, it is clear differing factors of impairment will affect how people see themselves in different ways. Someone who is impaired from birth with a lifelong stable condition, like cerebral palsy or spina bifida is more likely to have a strong core identity as they see themselves as normal as people who had no change in identity. People with more significant impairments may also not attempt to compete to fail with their non-impaired peers, accepting themselves as ‘other’.
Therefore people with newly diagnosed conditions will be coming to terms with a new second identity based on their own old previous prejudices of disabled people. Also, people with minor or hidden impairments may be acutely aware of when they can ‘pass’ as normal and when in their eyes, the conditions will let them down. We have also entered an interesting time when unlike the past, there is a greater desire to validate their difference rather than their normality, where impairment was previously hidden at all costs.
I have always seen equality as the equal treatment based on the expectations of the non-impaired so-called majority although we have now seen it twisted into the humane treatment of people who from their own prejudices of themselves as disabled people, as helpless vulnerable people. I always found however something quite inhumane about the very word ‘humane’.
I am going to repeat that remark a few times in my next couple of blog but ‘shoppers are not automatically good shopkeepers’ and when disability remains a very complex subject, we need to challenge the validity of the viewpoint of people are now often just coming to terms with the fact it is an issue that now directly affects them.