I've gotten annoyed with the fact that labels have meaning in society which can negatively influence perception of those labeled. Probably nowhere is this more true than with "disability"
I'd like to illustrate why I believe there is no such thing as disabled. I'm not breaking new ground here but I'd really be interested in a reaction since many of the readers are themselves "disabled" or have "disabled" children.
|ability by Noa Fischer|
But first a little background. Growing up in Holland, where treatment (no reference intended to euthanasia here) of "disabled" people is quite advanced, they are referred to as handicapped. This is apparently no longer politically correct in the English speaking world, unless you are talking about the game of golf.
So we have disabled people do we? What makes a person disabled? Let's say there is a building, a ten story office building with twelve steps leading up to the entrance. Remember that, twelve steps going up to the door. A man in a wheelchair comes along and has to be carried up the stairs by passersby, good Samaritans, if he wants to enter the building. He is obviously hampered in his ability to enter, this makes him disabled correct? Wrong. This makes the building disabled.
Look at it this way; people, "able-bodied" are streaming towards the office building on their way to work, easily walking up the stairs to the entrance, taking the elevator to their respective floors, or in some cases again using the stairs. Now imagine that same building with the twelve steps up to the entrance door removed. How would people get into the building? Since basically they couldn't we could call them disabled then as well.
The stairs that they are using is a tool of assistance.
There are actually office buildings without elevators so now imagine that this ten story office building didn't have one. There would be many people who would not be able, due to lack of physical fitness, to climb the stairs to get to their floor. So they are therefore to be considered disabled.
But of course we don't look at it that way. We don't think of an elevator as assisting us because of our inability to climb the stairs, our disability. But when it comes to a man in a wheelchair suddenly it is not OK to use an assistive device unless we label him as "disabled". Therefore his assistive device (a ramp) becomes 'special treatment' which requires special funding. We call a person disabled when actually it is relative to the elements by which we judge - we juxtapose disability on the person, from lack of true perspective.
Since a "disabled" person is not in the majority he/she is a minority. He is not average. But an average is made up out of all people; those more able as well as differently able. Should we, in all fairness, make people who are not average yet more able, defer from taking the elevator and rather, have them sprint up the stairs?
How about we finally lay disabled to rest? I'd like to hear suggestions please. I'd like William Peace to put all 145 lbs behind this and chime in on what he thinks should replace disabled.
I looked at simply changing the spelling to dysability, but since dys still carries its meaning of bad or wrong, that won't work. Differently able. Different from Differe.
My vote goes for differabled (leading to the use of the word differability). I'm quite serious so please leave your suggestions.