Sunday, 1 May 2011

Case #3: Moral Kombat 2

There is something called 'Blogging Against Disablism Day' which I had not been informed about and so had no chance to plan this at all. No investigation, no data analysis or evidence-gathering. Having to report on disablism at such short notice eats into my self-management and makes everything I do and say rubbish. Complete rubbish. I'd better think of something good to do with disablism and quickly before you click 'read more'.

Women, they have small hands don't they? Most do, compared to normal-sized man-hands that most men have. It occurred to me a while ago when I decided to pay for shopping with exact change rather than a crisp note rounded roughly to the nearest full £9.99 and I took it all in my man-hand and dropped it from a few inches above this tiny delicate back-scratcher the lady had extended out to me which couldn't possibly hold it all. Most of the money went on the floor and quite rightly she apologised but then I realised that was no souvenir shop plastic back-scratcher, that thing was her hand! It moved and everything and had painted nails. Why isn't this disability taken more seriously? Making a sandwich must feel like getting a pillow in a pillow-case. I've taken a look at the new descriptors for the Work Capability Assessment(more on this soon) and it stills takes absolutely no account of the size of female hands. There's a scandal to post a campaign about on 38 Degrees, but you should get a man to type it otherwise smaller hands will just take ages trekking across the keyboard like two spiders trying to play tig(or 'tag').

Well, I told you it would be rubbish without time, preparation, data etc. It's not like I can work with anything else but my own experience and my experience says women have small hands and my experience contains not much else. There are confusing toilet signs, spicy food, films so bad they're good and that sums up my total life experience. I don't get out much. My randomness, arrogance, habits and smell are all things that other people experience, not me and I dismiss all complaints anyway because they're patently ridiculous. My doctor says I'm lactose intolerant, but some of my best friends lactate, they just don't tell their girlfriends. See, this post isn't a dig at just women; we're equals.

Aren't we?

Equality is a very simple concept by itself, but complicated when considered next to other things. There are people that believe homosexuals have the same rights as heterosexuals because they have the same right to marry a member of the opposite sex. There are others who do not really believe this but advance it with the cynical purpose of making a debating opponent concede the premise that 'same is not equal' which in turn is a stepping stone to a multitude of premises and statements that all follow the same theme: 'it may not be ideal(for you), it may not be fair(for you) but if we leave ideals behind and look at reality: then this is as ideal as it is and as fair as it is, trying to change it is wrong'. They can take other forms in different topics, like recently in a BBC London radio show discussing the topic of Incapacity Benefit, a caller very confidently asserted that disabled people do not have higher costs of living than anyone else so why should they get a higher unemployment benefit? The confidence with which he stated this(causing even the presenter who obviously knew it wasn't true to be hesitant to object) made me suspicious and several separate instances on which I've heard or read this claim since then have got me thinking it has a single source probably on a blog or column seeding talking points like this to opinionated people like him. The grounds for it are that disabled people have all their needs met by local authorities for free so they don't need extra money, which sounds strangely similar to the Coalition's interpretation of reality. There is a cock-sure arrogance to this that makes my limited life experience look like the wisdom of King Solomon.

It's a basis for ideas that are rotten, wrong and not even grounded in fact. It will almost always be the case that those proclaiming to value reality over ideals, in any debate on what we should choose to change, already live in their ideal reality. It is fair, ideal and right to them. We don't need to improve things when it's as good as it gets, for some. As it is now, welfare reforms are being advanced on a platform that espouses disability equality but very clearly doesn't understand it, merely co-opts it. We can trim back on support for the disabled apparently because the Disability Discrimination Act sorts those problems out; disabled people can now freely make their own futures and THEY are responsible for it. That many disabled can't is not acknowledged no matter how high you pile the evidence(next to that mythical hill that says disabled people get some automatic right to have their disability-related needs met by local authorities or the NHS). Do they even realise how they are discriminating with this nonsense? I think they make a point of not wanting to know. It's no good favouring 'reality over ideals' when the end-result of that supposed 'pragmatism' is so fanciful; it exposes a lack of both realism and principled idealism.

If discrimination can be justified on the basis of realism, that it can't realistically otherwise be the case, then a realist would accept that when the situation changes to allow it that nothing should bar equality of outcome and mutual respect. But when it can be shown that a better way is available now, those who resist are not realists and never were.

This picture *somehow* explains my point in a form understandable universally
If discrimination can be justified on the basis of the ideal that 'same is not equal', therefore outcome is irrelevant and we are all responsible for our outcome equally or at least not responsible for the outcomes of others, then they should hold to this also should the most unfortunate happen to them and their lot and it is they who are the losers if this ideal is to be kept. But the tabloids still manage to express selective outrage when it's a soldier being turfed off a disability benefit whilst cheerleading the moral void in which it happens to others.

No comments:

Post a Comment