29 December 2009

Culture of Disability

I am disturbed by the focus on DISability in our culture, both physical and intellectual, as starkly evident in the 2009 Federal Disability Report.

By definition, few people are going to sit at the top of the bell curve of abled-ness and intellect. Which makes all the rest of us either prone to athleticism and/or genius, or falling-apart dullards.

In civilizations past there would have been a place for every last one of us, with no disability industry standing by, chomping at the bit, ready to label us and rake in the big bucks.

As I suggested in my "Needy Renters" post, in this society the emphasis is always on what's lacking, not on people's untapped talents and capacities. This needs/incapacities approach celebrates victimization. It raises victimhood to an elevated status.

Alternatively, the capacities approach highlights what people can do, not what they can't. It treats all people with respect and dignity. Rather than looking at people in terms of their potential drain on society, it recognizes them for their potential benefit to society.

Too bad the social service sector is more focused on needs than capacities. It doesn't help that the industry is encouraged to do so by our own governments.

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