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Disabled - so what? / 26 September 2011

I’ve written two blogs since day out in Chichester and not posted either of them, my self-preservation instinct over-riding everything. I need to overcome this paranoia.

My fear is real, but what about the threat? The instinct to hide is a relic from my “dinosaur brain”. Threatened, like the wounded animal, I seek isolation, and I am so easily made complicit in my own marginalisation.

Integrate. Hide. They shout
from behind the barricade
of “Normal.” Is this progress?

Or an offer of safety
until the war is over?

Except this isn’t war.
This financial instability
merely an excuse to mask
the poverty of aspiration
that sees a generation
overwhelmed by its
complexity of knowledge
and its poverty
of understanding.

Times are hard; as a consumer of fringe products, I discover my choices are slowly being eroded by the decisions people are making in order to survive this financial turbulence.

As a disabled person I notice my needs are more openly ignored as people struggle for their own existence.

The hard times are actually the times when I really do need recognition and support, but I am dismayed to find the so called “New Thinking” that is designed to enable the arts to at least tread water, actually offers disabled people nothing except the encouragement to hide.

 

Integration, if offered as a catch-all solution is doomed to failure. It may seem politically modern/correct to play the "Black - so what?" card; it may be right for society, but is it right for the arts?
 
Black is not a problem - and by saying that I'm not denying that hate crime happens. I am saying that it is always totally and utterly unjustified in any shape or form. But I am also saying that people need to feel free to create from their personal perception of their uniqueness without fear, or risk of recriminations.
 
I'm proud of creating issue-based arts.  When my disability became a visible disability, people's perception of me changed, I was treated differently. Eventually I began to create this thing labelled Disability Arts.
 
Maybe I'd rather we had a bigger label. What I'm looking for is the kind of Universal that celebrates the culturally diverse and unique. And minds that are open enough to recognise all kinds of cultural diversity.
 
For me the "problem" is the way society is mentally and physically cobbled together, without much of a clue about how to change for the better. No laws or lectures will change ingrained thinking - it takes artists to do that, or a personal experience.

Keywords: access issues,disability art,disability pride,diversity,equality,wheelchair users,