Friday, December 9, 2011
Why Don’t We Use ‘Disability’ and ‘Pride’ together more often?
- By Keith Hosey -
Why don’t we talk more about disability pride? I believe that disability is natural and that people with disabilities can do anything non-disabled people can do, we just do things a little differently sometimes. I understand that not everybody feels like I do about their own disability, but consider this: Eleanor Roosevelt once said “No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.” If we can’t be proud of who we are, how can we ever expect society to treat us as equal?
We need more pride in the disability community. We need to celebrate our heritage and our abilities. Other minority groups celebrate their proud heritage, so why not us too? This community has athletes, comedians, professionals, actors, CEOs, etc. People with disabilities have climbed Mt. Everest won Ms. America and even became President. We have quad rugby, paralympians and the third most used language in America (ASL). We are the largest political minority and, as consumers, we have huge spending power.
Even though Club Foot is one of the most common congenital disabilities in the world, I only knew of one person who was like me when I was growing up, a female figure skater. I could identify with her because we shared the condition of club feet. Only one person who I could say, “hey, she’s like me, I can be successful too.”
We need to recognize and celebrate those people who are role models with a disability. We have Marlee Matlin, Ray Charles, Penelope Trunk, Muhammed Ali, James Durbin and Mark Zupan. We have Leroy Colombo, a Deaf man known as the “world’s greatest lifeguard,” who saved more than 900 lives. We need more role models – and not just the famous ones, but neighbors and friends - to be proud of their abilities and of this community so that kids can say, “hey, he/she’s like me, I can be successful too.”
Are you a person with a disability? We need YOU. Celebrate your disability pride.