I always find it interested how people do call themselves disability activists, a time which has become more popular in the last few years, actually understand very little about disability and have quite worrying views once you scratch the surface.
As a disability activist, as well as a consultant, for over 20 years I understand disability is complex in so many ways right down to defining what disability means. I try to paint pictures of what I see within a fragmented group of people society labels disabled. But I find other activists simply boiled the issues down to what is important to them, assuming everyone who is demand thinks like them and faces the same problems as them.
The issue of ATOS and welfare reforms is affecting a minority of disabled people by anyone’s calculations. Yet activists as made it the focus of the totality of disability politics as they are prepared to ignore the needs, wishes and wants of so many disabled people who do not fit into their way of society.
With their medical model focus on being unfit for work as the definition of disability, they are destroying the social model by their own prejudices towards other disabled people. I am sure many of these new activists would pity my situation when I do not want or need pity.
We must avoid the voice of disabled people being destroyed and narrowed to simply the voice of disgruntled benefit claimants.
If you like what I say, have a look at my website at www.simonstevens.com or follow me on twitter, @simonstevens74
One thought on “The discriminating activists”
Many of the new activists have quite high levels of impairment, often associated with severe fatigue or exacerbated by activity. Others may be functionally not unlike I was for 20-odd years – I had daily seizures, sometimes many a day, some life-threatening (google “status epilepticus”). Others dislocate joints many times a day. Unlike you, most do not have care packages (my mother, with severe lung disease and dementia, eventually got 3 hours care a week. She could not shower, shop, clean or manage finances independently, and her cooking was limited to microwave meals and toast). Some have very limited mobility, but either cannot access a wheelchair or can't get their head around the idea of using one (it's a hard step to take for some people with newly acquired or progressive impairments).
Given this context – how do *you* think the debate should be framed?