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The Concept Of Normality

May 1, 2010

Today is Blogging Against Disablism Day 2010, and this is my contribution to the event.

The Concept Of Normality

The kids who are different

Have something to say to

Every member of what we like to call the ‘mainstream’ world

Can you look past our wheelchairs?

Our walkers, our white sticks?

Not at them, but please look at us

Can you do that for us?

Everywhere we go,

People only see what they want to see

That is, the wheelchairs, the walkers, the white sticks, not us.

Our dream is to be accepted by the world

For more than just that

Not as wheelchair users, guide dog owners

Or ‘the one with the walking frame’

Remember, if you will take the time, that we are people too

Maybe, just maybe, we have hearts

And maybe, just maybe, they will be broken by your cruel words

Let me know if you meet normality walking down the street

It doesn’t exist in our minds

Though we know that, being members of the mainstream,

You might not agree

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13 Comments leave one →
  1. May 1, 2010 9:22 am

    I’ve been walking down the street and I still haven’t met normality yet.

    • Dominique Millette permalink
      May 1, 2010 4:58 pm

      Love this observation.

  2. samedifference1 permalink*
    May 1, 2010 11:34 am

    Thanks. Please let us know when you do. We would love to know what it looks like 🙂

  3. May 1, 2010 3:05 pm

    This is a great piece. It just speaks to the heart of the matter.

  4. samedifference1 permalink*
    May 1, 2010 3:21 pm

    Thanks for the compliments!

  5. May 1, 2010 9:12 pm

    You are so right. Normality is such a construction — we use it to hide our fears and to reassure ourselves. I find myself doing it too — not to other people, but as a way of reminding myself that I am OK. “It’s OK; I am normal.”

    I do hope acceptance comes soon.

    WCD

  6. May 1, 2010 9:14 pm

    Thank you. You are so right. Normal is just a construction that we hide behind when we encounter something that scares us. I find myself doing it, too — not to other people, but as a way of reminding myself I am OK. “It’s all right; I am normal.”

    I hope acceptance without reference to a normalizing force comes soon.

    WCD

  7. May 3, 2010 4:56 am

    The more I learn the more certain I become that “normality” is merely an elusive myth. A powerful myth, but a myth nonetheless.

  8. May 3, 2010 2:02 pm

    We are a part of the mainstream, we are society, only for some reason wheelchairs and canes are not seen the same as heel lifts, counter roll shoes, or hand or joint braces. Thanks for the observations. Yeah, stop staring at the device, and look at the breaking of my heart.

  9. May 3, 2010 11:21 pm

    Yes, I can confirm that normality doesn’t exist on any street near me either. It doesn’t exist, full stop.

  10. May 24, 2014 6:09 am

    People’s idea of normality is strange. We all start multiply handicapped, physically, mentally, emotionally – it’s called childhood. The first 20 and longest years of our lives. From the age of 50 degenerative diseases of old-age leap, and increase every decade from then on. In between everyone gets ill which leaves a spectrum of no damage to major damage. We can be born with damage or be damaged as a consequence of an accident(common event) or attack ( common event). Pregnancy and child-birth is a major damaging event. Normals aren’t “normal”. It is all a matter of degree. So where does this false consciousness come from? (We all end up dead with a process of deterioration mild to severe, short to long term).
    I don’t believe in Islamophobia. I do believe in Disablo-phobia. And it is overdue to ask why, and challenge it. I think in part it is fear. People don’t want to face it could have been them who got hit by a car and ended up in a wheelchair. Genetic illnesses are terrifying because they are invisible until they take hold. People are afraid that someone else’s handicap will become their handicap if they have to look after someone or pay for someone – but if it happened to us, we would expect help. Ignore the “problem” then it will go away? What is happening in society is horrible. Growing up in the fifties (so many children wearing calipers -polio, blind children from German measles, thalidomide) dis-a bled were patronised and ignored. In the last few decades prejudice had been forced into public view and attitudes were starting to change and now suddenly it is being rolled back – powerful propaganda Nazi style – if you are not a strong exploitable worker you don’t have the right to live. It is deliberate and vile beyond words.
    I suppose I am “normal”. Without glasses I would be blind as a bat, and I have rheumatoid arthritis which comes and goes, and being old I can expect further deteriorations in the near future. But this is one case “we are all in it together” and the sooner people realise it the better. You can be working, going to the gym, swimming, go to bed “normal” and wake up paralysed. Ejecting people into a reject class for circumstances outside their control that are just part of the human condition is the meanest of all stupid bigotries.

  11. May 24, 2014 6:12 am

    Reblogged this on Citizens, not serfs.

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