Saturday, May 1, 2010

Is the Disability Community Partly To Blame For Disablism?

Blogging Against Disablism Day, May 1st 2010



When one thinks about minority groups, the first thought that comes to mind are racial groups (blacks, hispanics, asians, etc) or lifestyle groups (gays, feminists, etc).

What do they have in common? They all suffered until community leaders gathered the masses together. These community leaders organized themselves and often through personal sacrifice, they raised their voices and told the rest of the world that it was not ok to discriminate.

Leaders such as Martin Luther King, Jesse Jackson, César Chávez did so much to bring their community groups forward. Gay leaders have done much to make the world accept that gays have rights. Women's groups have done much to bring equality to the sexes. Their struggles are not over, but much progress has been made. In my lifetime (yes, I am probably a bit older than most of my readers) I have seen all of these minority groups make incredible strides. All but one. It seems to me that the disabled community is the one left behind.

It is not an issue with numbers. According to Wikipedia, the disabled community is the third largest minority in the USA.

So, what is the problem with the disabled community? Where are the leaders? Where is the outrage when there is blatent discrimination everywhere? Where is the organization? Where is the voice of the disabled community?

For example, what if we had a "BAD Bloggers Wire"? If there was an event or a message we wanted to get across, the wire would be sent out and all BAD Bloggers would be asked to put the message on their blog? If a BAD blogger witnessed an act of disablism, the message could go out and bloggers everywhere could write about it. Such an outcry, if focused on issues that really mattered, could make a difference.

To make any inroads into disablism, we need much more than one annual Blogging Aganist Disablism Day. The disability community needs leadership and organization. The disability community needs a network of activists who share a common vision and a common goal. Without those things, I fear that we will be having the annual BAD Day for a long, long time.