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Viewing entries tagged with 'unique function'

A life of paradox, power and privilege

Posted by Philip on 17 January 2015, 11:01 am in , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

arrow pointing left and rightFollowing on from my last post about rebranding, I’ve also changed how I describe myself or, more accurately, my experience. I talk about "my paradoxical experience as a queer, caucasian, cisgender man with unique function (disability).”

Even doing this is paradoxical, given I argued the point in 2012 at TEDxAuckland that we need to decay labels to reveal diversity. But I’m doing it to explain a phenomenon of power, privilege and paradox, rather than to label myself.

Power and privilege have long been part of the politics of diversity and discrimination. Recently I heard another diversity expert, Leslie Hawthorne, encourage those with privilege to raise awareness of it by, for example, not using the word “lame" to describe something that is bad or stupid, because you are implying that people who can’t walk are bad or stupid*.

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Pragmatically responding to functional change

Posted by Philip on 14 November 2011, 9:19 am in , , ,

In my early 20s I made a conscious decision to start using a wheelchair when I was out in public, even though I could walk, albeit unsteadily.

There were many reasons for my choice. Using a chair stopped me being anxious about falling over. It allowed me to communicate in a more relaxed and articulate manner. And it stopped strangers thinking I was drunk or deranged.

The wheelchair acted as a recognisable symbol that I was "disabled". People got it, they didn't need to cope with ambiguity and I didn't need to respond to their uncomfortable, confused reactions.

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