So lately I have been thinking a lot about the politics of ableism and normalcy and how it is a form of invisible oppression for people with disabilities. Actually it is not invisible for those of us with disabilities who deal with with this type of oppression every day. Our bodies and minds as people with disabilities are constantly being compared to the able-bodied model. It is an unsaid moral law in our culture that everyone should strive to be like the able-bodied model or a close approximate. It is also an unspoken law that for those of us who are not actively conforming ourselves to the able-bodied model will be reprimanded and chastised until we do. The fact that “normalcy” and able-bodiness goes unquestioned in today’s Western society has to be challenged at all times.
In this society people that go against our dominant culture are almost always met with some form of oppression, whether it is the micro-aggressions of being verbally corrected of how our bodies and minds should act, or being locked away in rehabilitation institutions or group homes, or being out and out murdered for being unable to meet the standard dictate on how our bodies are supposed to be. The populace is programmed to ignore our suffering and our assertion against our sufferings as the ramblings of people of no consequence. Our culture is getting more rigid in how we police our bodies that does not fit the norm, most notably in the incarceration and the extra-judicial murder of black and brown people by police. In addition to state sanctioned violence, people with disabilities also endure additional oppression and violence in the forms of community seclusion, stigmation, verbal and physical abuse.
That is why it it is my aim to apply and attend the Anthropology and Social Change program at the California Institute of Integral Studies to obtain a doctorate studying how people with significant disabilities can gain and assert social power successfully in the communities that they live in. As history shows us, oppressed communities only gain freedom and equality from their oppressors when they have comparable social powers. I feel with all the technological advancements in society now it is the time for people with disabilities to find our moment in the sun. We also need to define what the new normal will be.