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What is disability culture

Nikki's picture

This took me until class to figure out how to interpret disability culture. Because the truth is that while I identify as disabled, I struggled to find a definition or logical thought process for what disability culture is. Disability as an identity is fluid and ever-changing  and on my own I struggled to realize that disability culture is not one definition either. Disability culture is a mixing bowl of cultures, of related struggle, and creation of a culture from these experiences. Crip camp, deaf culture, neurodivergencetok, dance studios, these are all examples of disability culture where not everyone in our community can make or relate to, but all come back to the fact that we are discriminated on based on a standardized level of ability set in our society. Culture forms from the communities we have build for disabled people. Disability culture is not one set defined thing either. Culture in disability is evolving because of its community based nature and intersectionality. Disability culture is a hard concept to think about for me because when I think of culture, I think more of ethnicities and how culture is typically derived from traditions and historical context. Disability is different because how as kuppers said culture is a process, as is gaining the identity of disabled for many people. I have been slowly exposed to disability culture the more I look into disability studies and in my own journey of identifying as disabled and I do not think I have ever placed a word on our community other than community making it hard to morph that concept into a culture. They are not one and the same, but the creation of art, performance, stories, relationships to health, language, experience have become a culture in itself.