This site now acts as an archive only. For the latest news, opinion, blogs and listings on disability arts and culture visit disabilityarts.online.

Disability Arts Online

Crippen looks at marginalised and invisible Disabled people / 3 September 2010

In a recent survey commissioned by Scope, almost half of those approached claimed that they didn't know any Disabled people!

Now either they only count wheelchair users as being Disabled people and are using this as their yard stick, or they move in circles that exclude all but the non-disabled members of our society. A worrying thought when over 90% of these same people felt that Disabled people should have the same opportunities as everyone else.

This response shows that we crips are still pretty much invisible in day-to-day life and if the Government go ahead with their proposed spending cuts, and the effects that it will have on Disabled people, this means that we'll be pushed even further into social exclusion and maybe even cut out from the mainstream altogether. The next poll could well show that ALL of those approached didn't know any Disabled people!

Members of the Disabled People's Movement are advising the CON-DEMs that they need to carry out a full impact assessment before making any cuts. The Government needs to understand the full consequences of reductions in Disability Living Allowance and Incapacity Benefit before embarking on this knee-jerk reaction to current over spending.

I'm always sceptical about what Scope has to say about the Disabled people that they claim to represent, but on this occassion I find myself agreeing with their Chief Exec when he says: "Without fully understanding the nature of disabled people's lives, or the impact these changes will have, the Government may find itself causing extreme distress and financial hardship to disabled people which could end up creating greater dependency on the state and an even greater demand on the public purse."

Couldn't have put it better myself Richard.
(The cartoon is from an original idea by Alison of Skegby Methodist Church - Feb 2010)

Sad News - I've just heard of the death of disabled activist Rowen Jade. Rowen has always been a passionate campaigner for an inclusive education system. After graduating with a Law degree she worked for the Alliance for Inclusive education, several centers for Inclusive Living and latterly as a freelance consultant in disability equality. My sincere condolences go to her family and many friends. Rowen will be missed by us all.
 

Keywords: benefit cuts,charities,cuts to services,disabled people's movement,discrimination,invisible disabled people,politics,

Comments

sanda aronson

/
15 September 2010

Correction to my footnote *: the woman landed with one hand on each of my feet, my feet being one each on my footrests...sigh.

sanda aronson

/
15 September 2010

(I just deleted my first comment....CFS/ME...)

To build on Arty Farty's comment: when I'm out in my wheelchair, people walk into it/me, trip over my footrests* or

hit me in the head or on my shoulder with a bag. They do not see me.

Another aspect is that if people don't see us at events, in places (homes, stores, theaters, on transportation, etc), it could be because we can't get inside due to architectural lack of wheelchair access (as in steps, narrow doors, blocked aisles), which includes people who use walkers, crutches, canes, etc. and can't "do" steps/stairs. It's segregation, as the late Frieda Zames pointed out (she was a founder of Disabled in Action in NYC).

Then, there are those of us who are homebound some or all of the time = invisible unless we are online. And lastly, there are those of us who are locked in institutions (who could/would like the choice of whether to live at home with attendants,carers as you say in England)= invisible.

The media presents us in stereotypical, mythed ways when we are not "invisible" (as in left out).

*On my last trip out, a tourist (it wasn't crowded) wasn't looking as she was coming up onto the sidewalk, had just passed thru a curb-cut, was walking from left to right in front of me and she tripped on the sidewalk, fell and landed on my feet.

She landed with one foot on each of my feet but her torso was on the ground. Luckily, she was thin. Her friend picked her up, off me and the ground, and apologized to me. This was near Columbus Circle, Manhattan, NYC on Aug.21.

Arty Farty

/
3 September 2010

Most of the people that I run into in my wheelchair, usually apologise and then claim that they didn't see me!