Thanks for your disability histories to date Hilary. A side seldom told of the 1981 International Year of Disabled Persons and the infamous Telethon is that not all disabled people were sucked into the 24 hour orgy of telling their ‘personal tragedy’ and ‘heroic overcoming’ stories on national TV in exchange for the charity dollar (and increased ratings for TV One). Indeed some of us sat outside the studios with signs rejecting this demeaning, begging bowl approach to disability support.
Similarly, its important that history record the third option proposed by many disabled people in the lead up to Support for Independence for People with Disabilities – A New Deal and consultation over whether DSS should go to the Ministry of Health or Department of Social Welfare. The third option was that a Ministry of Disability be established under the control of disabled people to deal with things disability. Of course we didn’t get that then and the closest we’ve come to it since is the Office for Disability Issues which is certainly a long way from the vision we had in 1990.
Thanks for this history Hilary. A further note on the Disabled Persons Community Welfare Act 1975 is that while JB Monro shepherded it through parliament, the brains behind it was Quentin Angus, lawyer and brother of painter Rita, of Palmerston North. Quentin worked extensively on drafting the DCPW Bill which JB took to the House. Quentin was also keen to set up a NZ branch of DPI in the early 1980s but put his energies into forming DPA. He is a key figure in the emancipation of disabled people and disability rights in Aotearoa NZ and we should not forget him.
I think you missed my point BDB Inc; disabled people did not reject the word 'disabled'; we embraced it' we were not going to be oppressed by it but spoke of disability pride and proudly claimed 'disabled people' as our preferred identity as a political act as well as an 'up you' gesture.
I am well aware that many black people use the 'n' word, but how many white people use it now? Just as I sometimes refer to myself as a crip and friends with CP spaz that is perfectly acceptable among ourselves, but woe betide any nondisabled interloper who has the temerity to use these words in our presence.
I think this thread began with an interesting blog on definitions which is all about disability and words
I get where you're coming from Sacha about the confusion resulting from the subversive act of redefining words such that they are turned on their head to have a positive meaning. (Some commentators refer to this as oppressed minorities reclaiming pejorative terms in an act of defiance and liberation.)
You have to remember that this was was being done in the 60s & 70s when those involved in the civil rights movement reclaimed "black" as both a political act of defiance and as an act of celebration as in "black is beautiful". Interestingly, the same people rejected the 'n' word just as disabled people rejected 'the disabled', cripple (but not necessarily 'crip'), spaz, moron etc. More latterly, we have seen "queer" undergo a transformation in use and meaning.
Sure it might require a little thinking before using 'disability' when you mean 'impairment' but language is important and when it comes to struggle and revolution it pays to get it right!
And on another matter, I've always conceived of the 'disability sector' as that great big industrial/service complex which exists on a continuum from those wanting to make money out of disability and disabled people to those altruistic services & people who are there to support us in the decisions we make about how we want to live our lives. In short, the disability sector is a bit like the curates egg insofar as it both exploits disability and supports disabled people.
From my perspective Lucy, neither the children nor the parents have 'the disability'. Disability, like racism and sexism, is imposed upon a particular group of people, viz those with impairments; it is not an attribute of individuals but social oppression. Or, in other words, disability is the negative social response to impairment.
Thanks for your post on walking Chelle. It reminded me of the times when we would have a smoke and go out for a walk and i used to so enjoy cruising (especially down hills) in my chair while my mates, poor buggers, had to walk! It also reminded me of Mike Oliver's 1993 inaugural professorial lecture "Whats So Wonderful About Walking" (http://disability-studies.leeds.ac.uk/files/library/Oliver-PROFLEC.pdf). Twenty-one years on and it still speaks loudly to me, especially the final sections on rehabilitation and mobility aids for non-flyers.
My understanding is that the Ministry has always considered it culturally appropriate for whanau rather than strangers to care for their disabled members, and have always paid whanau to do so. So the Bill had no effect on whanau and this might have made it a lot easier for the Maori Party to supported it.
is what do people, who rely on meds to continue everyday living, do in the (likely) event of disasters?
Our local Civil Defence has a list of people with mobility issues, dependence on respirators, meds etc who migh need speedy attention in the event of disaster. Perhaps yours has a similar list Islander? If so, registering with it could be another tool in your survivalist kit.
As with you Sacha, I find aspects of DPA counter productive and have largely withdrawn my energy. But the problem is DPA has near hegemony over advice to govt on disability issues eg all the MOH is required to do is to consult with DPA on disability and bugger the rest of the great unwashed (literally in some cases given parlous state of dss). Maybe its time to start talking & strategising on ways around this in forums other than this?
Could you expand a bit on what you mean by 'broad strategic leadership' Sacha? Are you suggesting DPA has lost it and we need a new organisation of some sort or some sort of centre where we do some hard thinking rather than mindless activism?
I agree resources are out biggest impediment - most disabled people are poor, struggling on miserly benefits to make ends meet and struggling with shitty, inappropriate or no services. No wonder there is little energy left for 'broad strategic thinking"....