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Felicia's picture

Celebrating Difference

After our discussion last week, it's very interesting to me to think about how hesitant I am to use the work "disabled" when describing a person; I'd rather think of "difference". And while I can't help but favor the use of difference over disability, in reality disability is difference (while maybe to an extreme). My hesitation is rooted in this negative connotation that seems to go with disability, that not being able makes one a lesser person. This makes me uneasy, largely because I think that identifying disability, as Stephanie said, can be very helpful. If we seemed to agree on anything during class it's that we aren't going to see a culture that is 100% inclusive to everyone all of the time. So, classifying disability as extreme difference can be helpful if not necessary to simply exist in any culture. The issue as I see it is the stigma that surrounds it.


It was brought up in class that perhaps we all just have our own different talents - those who can't see, for example, can hear exceptionally well. While I think that it is certainly true that we have our own specialties, I think it's silly to assume the magnitude of these strengths/weaknesses are the same. I can think of many people who seem to just be exceptionally skilled at most things they pursue, and others, not even those the DSM considers disabled, seem to lag behind in most areas. This is where it gets tricky, and I think some of this difference is attributable to genes and development (nature and nurture, if you will). Perhaps it is society that places preferences on some traits (intelligence/physical beauty) over others (empathy, ...) but I think that it would be great to first of all accept disability. If we (as a culture) can be okay with the fact that yes, we all have our strengths but some of us have weaknesses in some area that benefit from assistance... I guess I'm saying that by making our culture inclusive of disability we won't so much have to change society but instead the mindset that accompanies it. While any one society can't be totally inclusive, I think we should strive for a society that everyone benefits from. That starts with taking the stigma off of disability. (obviously also easier said than done)

Looking over my post it seems jumbled, it was much clearer in my head. I look forward to sorting through it with you all!


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