Springingtiger's Blog

Your World Disables Us

The child with cerebral palsy, the adult with Down’s syndrome, the autistic teenager, the old fellow with Asperger’s, the old woman with Alzheimer’s, the leper, and millions more, you look on us and label us, “disabled”. If we did not live in your world we would not be disabled, it is your world that disables us.

Many of those labelled disabled have the capacity to be useful and to lead happy  and productive lives. The government wants to take benefits away from the disabled and many are being told they are fit to work, but where are the jobs? Where are the adaptations that allow the disabled to work? Why the obsession with “good social skills” , with being a “team player” for jobs where it has no relevance? Why does “communication skills” always refer to speaking? Where are the employers prepared to take on the disabled? Where is the culture that treats the disabled as equals or even as human beings? There are many jobs suited to people with various disabilities, but rather than allow our own people to do them they are outsourced because it is cheaper than making the adaptations necessary. The disabled know what it is to be the butt of jokes  to be excluded from normal human relationships, to be prevented from working by intolerance; it is your world that disables us.

Your world is still full of steps. Full of loud noises, unnecessary music and sirens, pointless and irritating charter. Your world is full of bright lights and flashing lights, altogether too much neon. We have no need of so much simulation, but it is a drug to which you are addicted. It is you who provide the excessive simulation that causes us to overload, your advertising and amusement matter more to you than our comfort. Your world disables us.

If you had the will the disabled would be integrated in society, the means are there, but in your world the disabled are not a priority. If you were to ask the disabled how to disburse the nation’s resources they would tell you that we don’t need to fight wars, we don’t need nuclear weapons; they would tell you we don’t need to spend ten million pounds on a party political rally pretending to be a funeral, we don’t  need to pay salaries in the millions – we have to live on a fraction of that. Were the disabled to be consulted rather than to have the decisions of the politicians foisted on them  they might point out that the total saved by this government’s benefit reforms is a fraction of the amount lost to tax reforms for their millionaire supporters. The means to level the playing field, to make the adaptations required to allow most of the disabled to participate are there, but they are being squandered on things which are of no benefit to the majority of our people – able bodied or not. Properly used our resources could enable the disabled to occupy the niches that should so obviously be theirs, the “disabled” would become the “enabled” as integral to society as the “able”. At the moment the disabled – even the token few who are allowed a status, and those who cunningly conceal their difficulties – are not truly citizens in their own country; your world disables us.


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