The way many disabled people appear to be hypersensitive to everything, putting anything bad in their lives down to discrimination and hate crime because they are disabled, reminds me of how many black people were in the early 90s in terms of racism. This therefore gives me hope things may improve as disabled people are more included in society but until then I understand that I may be referred to as a coconut.
If we understand a coconut to be someone who is black but is considered by their so-called peers to be white inside because how well they are perceived to fit in with white people and because of their assumed disloyalty to their peers as they do not think everyone is against them, then some see me in terms of a disabled version of this.
I admit in the past I have accused others of this myself like David Blunkett and others but these are people have been successful in mainstream career but have needed to conform to do so. People may see me as a coconut because those do not know me may assume I conform but they do not see the true picture. If however being positive about myself and my abilities is why I am regarded as a coconut then I embrace the term with pride!
The only way to change things is to get stuck in and work in the people in control on their terms for now giving hands dirty rather than sitting outing throwing stones at the windows with clean hands.
In what has become this week’s theme on the realities of life, today’s message is that life can just suck, not because “I a disabled” and because of any other political label, but because it can simply suck. And the approach to life sucking should not be handled by signing a petition, writing to your MP or causing a traffic accident in London, but simply to take it on the chin and turn it into something position.
In order to climb a mountain who need to learn the skills required, develop enough confidence and then put in the effort, as much as it takes without giving up. We unfortunately life in an society where some people, and especially some disabled people, feel it is a god given right to be teleported to the top of the mountain, and down again, without doing any of this.
But that is not how life works and positive results can also come from position efforts if it is going to be genuine. The me consumerism culture started in the 1980s which develop into a new rights and responsibility culture where everyone can enjoy a better quality of life experiences and opportunities.
People may know that I am very sceptical about the existence of disability related hate crime in the way it is portrayed where disabled people should be frightened to walk the streets for fear of unspeakable harassment. There is bullying and I was bullied at school but to label it as hate crime is giving them credit where no credit is due. Hate crime is the least of my problems as I am more likely to suffer kind/love crime from ‘carers’, judges, charities, MPs and Lords who harm the lives of disabled people with misguided kindness.
I am however starting to understand what the hate crime movement is wanting and it appears to do that some disabled people resent any public debate on disability and call anything they disagree with as hate crime. As the public begin to see and question the greed demanded by user led charities, the charities are responded by calling anyone who challenges their greedy demands as a hater of disabled people.
User-led charities have approached the debate on welfare reform by demanding a ban on the debate calling those who started the debate bad people. I would however argue that if disabled people are confident about what they need then I can argue maturely. I am very aware I have a very large support package which is a factual burden on the economy but I am however confident to justify what I need it and how it helps me to contribute back to society. It may be always be nice to have to justify what I need but it is a reality of having state support where value for money is in the benefit of everyone.
Life is not about have a strop every time you can not have your cake and eat it and I wish more people could see this.
In examining the never ending demanding of disability charities, user led or not, I must wonder if what they see as need is just now greed. For example, disabled people in London have a whole host of public transport benefits not available elsewhere and yet they want more and then add insult by declaring its awful. They say they want equal treatment but really want special treatment ignoring the limitations everyone faces.
We did need to fight for the disability related rights we have now as 35 years ago, we were simply excluded from society. But it is now time to use the rights we have to take responsibility to thank society for giving us a helping hand to be equal included contributing citizens. To sit on our arses as a political body and demand our charities are paid by the government to spend all day moaning how crap our lives are is now simply a form of greed I will not accept.
Fairness is a responsibility as well as a right and as a responsible adult, I always do to others in the fair way I would expect from them. Somewhere along the line the user led charities have forgotten this and now they are putting everything in jeopardy because of the greed of some disabled people.
Many people, especially disabled people, believe that rights related to an automatic good standard or quality of life when this is simply not the case nor can be the case. For myself, rights and equality is about having access to the same range of experiences as anyone and that means the good ones as well as the bad ones.
This can be taken in a number of ways. Firstly, it is about having an equality of services in things no one wants like bankruptcy, prison, being expelled from school and so on. If disabled people want to be equal citizens, and I am having my doubts, they must take the rough with the smooth in the same way everyone else has to.
It is also accepting that life is not perfect and that it is not always because “I is disabled”. If we take public transport, rush hour can be a hellish experience for anyone whoever they are and that disabled people can not shout foul when they are being provided equal access to the some bad experiences as anyone else.
Disability Rights can not be used to demand life becomes fair because life is not fair and the only person who can really improve the standard and quality of your life is yourself by having a positive attitude in helping others to help you.
We live in an era when all news providers are branded and now have a style of reporting which is part fact and part comment. Gone are the days when for example television news was simply the facts and it was just the newspaper we had to read in context. Now with so much factual information out there, journalism has moved from being a science into a art, where we may individually value one source over another.
On this basis I am concerned about a website called Disability News Service which is run by a journalist called John Pring. It is portrays as the only disability news service for the UK but I would argue that it is simply a mouthpiece of the disability and sickness movements, spreading misinformation and reporting hysterical demands of user led charities as it is fact they are right and everyone against them is wrong.
My main concern is not the narrow minded articles the site contains but the fact the name of the website is stealing my political space. It would be like a ‘friend of’ the BNP setting up the “White People News Service” to claim they are representing all white people. I have chosen this example because reading the endless and unhelpful demands being reported in the name of disability, the reality is the user led charities it gives a voice to are often as extreme as the BNP.
This is not about free speech but rather freedom of expression, where people should not have the right to steal my political voice, by being more accurate in what is comment rather than pretending to be facts. This blog is my viewpoint, no more no less, and it is therefore concerning when other sites are not upfront about their viewpoint, portraying it as facts.
Today is my birthday and you would be right to guess that I am 38 years old. It is a number that does not have a lot of meaning to me, except I am closer to the very significant age of 40, which is the new 30 and where life begins! Even my dear friend, Wikipedia, has little to say about the number which you can see here.
Looking back at the last 13870 days, it feels incredible what I have been able to achieve for myself and for others. I was reminded by a friend and colleague yesterday how positive I am, even when things are very difficult, and how that inspires others whatever their background. I think all I want is for everyone to have the opportunity to see their situation in a positive light and I really do not believe there is a but.
I look forward to the coming year and I am not life is going to be as exciting and rewarding as ever.
Many regularly readers will understand that it is no surprise that I feel the issue of disability is very unwell right now. The battle between the medical and social models of disability is greater than it has ever been but too many people are not understanding what is going on or indeed what side they are on.
This government has upset people who are on sickness benefits but they have taken the battle on as disabled people to add more weight to their cause, pushing real disabled people out of their own movement and turning the concept of rights from a social model concept into a medical model one.
This has created confusion and frustration as people start to realise that maybe user led charities do not represent many disabled people any more and disabled people are left on the metaphoric streets wondering what the hell is disability now as they see sick people claiming to represent them without any real insight.
The public are left none the wiser about this change of management except a greater concern and fear that they will be arrested or verbally abused if they say the wrong thing to anyone as they are expected to know someone has an hidden impairment and have some red carpet already prepared.
I can just hope disability can and will recover from this sad period for the benefit of everyone.
Whatever happened to the many opportunities for disabled people to take part and ‘have a go’ in many sport and other adventurous activities? In the late 80s and 90s I made the most on the many opportunities around me but this was the era where the keyword was “can” and not as it is now, “can’t”.
I however still believe sport and other activities play an important role in the personal development and mental wellbeing of everyone and anyone, and that includes disabled people. I believe by the age of 18 everyone, including disabled people, should have had the opportunities to try a wide range of activities include at least one that involved needing to wear a wetsuit!
I believe that in this 21st century personal wealth will not be measured in money or what we have in materials but in our personal experiences and those who are rich are those who had the opportunity to try many things. Disabled people must not be left out but they have a responsibility to think and believe they can.