Two weeks ago I woke up to disturbing pictures and videos of disabled protestors being forcibly removed from Senator Mitch McConnell’s Office for protesting against the Healthcare Bill. You can read more about it here. These are some of the tweets I came across on that day.
I do not reside in the USA so I will not comment on the heathcare bill but I will write about why everyone should care about disability rights including you reading this. Whether you live in the USA or not you should care about disability rights. There are people with disabilities where you are in this very moment do you know your country’s disability policy? Do you know how people with disabilities in your country are treated? Disability rights should be on everyone’s priorities because
- disability rights are human rights too
- disability can happen to anyone at anytime
Disability Rights Are Human Rights.
Article 1 of the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) declares that “All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights.” If the UDHR stipulates that we are ALL equal in dignity and rights so why are people with disabilities treated like second class citizens of the world? Why are disability rights the last thing on the social justice agenda if at all they are included? People with disabilities, we are human just like any able bodied person. The only difference is that we have physical impairments that cause us to perform certain tasks differently so why should our rights be ignored or neglected? Disability rights are just as important as women’s rights, children’s rights…etc and should not be excluded from the conversation on human rights. Recognizing disability rights as human rights means society recognizes our humanity. I maybe a disabled woman but before my disability, I am a human being worthy of dignity and my disability rights.
“When you talk about disability rights with people, they just look at you like they didn’t think such a thing existed. People don’t like talking about, hearing or watching disability. It’s not as sexy as gay rights or climate change. It’s just not. Disability is never represented from a human rights perspective. It’s represented through a lens of pity, or stories about overcoming the odds. The hero who, despite their hideous impairment, was able to get into the Paralympics. It’s all about the hero and pity narrative. Never about the disability rights narrative.”-Dr George Taleporos.
Disability Can Happen To Anyone.
As I always say disability can happen to anyone, no-one chooses to be disabled well unless they identify as being transabled (that’s a topic on its own). I often hear stories of people who become disabled as a result of accidents say that before the accident they never cared for disability rights but becoming disabled changes their perspective and makes them regret not caring in the first place. Keah Brown summed it up so well in this quote from this article “The disability community is one of the only communities that anyone can join at any point in their life, regardless of race, sexual orientation, socioeconomic status and body. If you can’t care enough about the people already in the disability community to end ableist language, stop using it because you could someday be a member of our community—someone who is consistently told your life is a burden or inconvenience.”
I put it to you that the world does not care for disability rights because the a lot of able bodied people are so used to viewing people with disabilities simply as inspirational porn and not actual human beings worthy of dignity and rights. People with disabilities are also deserving of the dignity and rights that are also awarded to able bodied people.