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The Paralympics - Reinforcing Attitudes Towards Disability / 30 August 2012

I boycotted the Olympics because of the involvementof ATOS. I was going to boycott the Paras for the same reason only listening to friends and adding my own prejudices I added Dow, McDonalds and Coca Cola to the mix.

Then I started to change my mind. Someone said the fourth principle of the Paras is equality. I can support that. Then articles on access started to appear in the press and media. Even Disabled People Against Cuts and other activists groups began to get a mention. I can go with all this. Maybe the paras were going to be a good thing after all.

My vacillation on this point took another turn. The Paras were going to change attitudes towards Disabled People forever. I felt uneasy with that. Certainly the promotion of the Super Human wasn't to my taste. It chimed with the other thing that the fourth estate had been so careful to avoid but which had now started to ring out loud and clear. Specialness, bravery, courage, overcoming tragedy, extraordinary achievement in the face of insurmountable odds, were all mentioned as luvvies took to the stage. What's David Beckham doing on that advert? What's all that about? Suddenly the tragedy model was - the old way of seeing Disabled People - the ingrained attitude; had become prominent again.

I'm turning away from the Paras again now but i'm hoping for better stuff still. What will swing it for me one way or the other. I went out last night to see a movie. I missed most of the opening ceremony but i was up for catching what was left of it at a friends house where a party to watch the ceremony was in full swing. I arrived in time for the march of the athletes - a boring parade of waving, fist pumping, gurning Crips that received the following comments from the gathered flippant, jovial guests:

  • "Who let that one out?
  • What's that one going to do? They certainly won't be doing the hop, skip and juimp without legs
  • Look at that
  • What a shame
  • What a mong
  • Spot the looney"

Except there are not going to be any Mental Health Service Users. They do not participate in the games. If i recall the history of the Paras correctly, People with Learning Disabilities were banned because of the ease with which non Disabled People iinvaded this category and left countries open to accusations of cheating. And what of Deaf People? 

So, now i'm feeling Super Human my backside. This is no more than the passage of the Super Freak - an elite determined by an eligibility of criteria based on impairment - 'the deserving disabled'.

What could possibly be worse than this but the sudden appearance of David Cameron, sitting close to Wills whose brother had nominated a carrier of the torch because of heroics in Afganistan (still potentially an illegal war that goes about its daily grind of impairing people). Yes that Cameron, the one who had appointed ATOS to get Disabled People off benefits, the one who fails to take action against ideas expressed on all sides of the house and on all sides of the media that Disabled People are really no better than work shy scoungers who really need to be left without an income until they find a job in a society that freely discriminates against us. The same Cameron who is cutting services to Disabled People. Only on this day hadn't I advocated for someone who had her care provision cut from 210 hours per week to 35.

Now my mind is made up. I'm with DPAC, Black Triangle, UK Uncut, Social Welfare Union. These games are not going to change attitudes. They are going to reinforce them. Get a job Scounger. The Super Humans can do this. Why can't you do that?

Keywords: 2012 olympics,attitudes,barriers,black triangle,david beckham. disabled people against cuts,disability equality,paralympics,social welfare advocacy,uk uncut

Comments

vince laws

/
31 August 2012

It's a case of love the athletes, hate the sponsors for me. I see the Paralympics as a perfect 11 day window for protest. I want all athletes to be the best they can be - but I want that for me too, and if that means I need support, I want support. I want to live in a society that generously supports me to be my best, not one that snips away at my abilities, ties me up in red tape, and makes me fight for every penny. Atos are but puppets of this (and the previous) governments. They do as they are told and get paid blood money for it.

/
31 August 2012

Nothing strange about Strange - just doing her thing!

/
31 August 2012

Reflect. Clare Strange is a very fine and brilliant athlete - she has done things you would not have necessarily registered in terms of moving things forward. This is a movement not a petty free for all. Please have some respect!

richard downes

/
31 August 2012

Don't get me wrong I like Becks and appreciate that he has been open about his OCD. OCD would not however qualify him for the paras. So is this another case of the deserving disabled being used to tick off the undeserving and to continue to promote ATOS.

Thanks for the support everyone on this one. it did worry me to bring up the comments that i bought up.

And yes lets use the media to get our message across.

By the way.... see someone was reclassified today as not being disabled enough to be a Para.

Was much amused by the local news focusing on basketball para Clare Strange andfound myself wondering whats so strange about clare strange.

And finally loved the idea that the para GB team protested against the sponsors only to be let down by snivelling officials coming up with excuses that just don't wash

dabvid k bower

/
30 August 2012

David Beckham has a hidden disability so I can understand his involvement.

Deborah Caulfield

/
30 August 2012

Like you Rich, I've been blowing hot and cold on the paralympics. Couldn't quite bring myself not to watch. Hated the opening ceremony. Turned over to watch Newsnight - Wow!

The whole paralympics thing is extraordinary. Now there's an over-used word, among many others.

Paralympics = paradoxical.

Great to see disabled people doing interviews and presenting. Why aren't they on the box all the time? Will they be returned to the day centres afterwards?

Lovely to see disabled people playing sports, scoring goals and winning medals. They work bloody hard. Every day.

I hate the behaviour of many of the non disabled presenters eg Jon Snow, the Baldwin woman, and the one who referred to an athlete in terms of the disability they 'suffer' from.

Time will tell about the long term impact. I suspect it will make very little difference. But we're hitting the headlines so let's make the most of it.

Isolte Avila

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30 August 2012

The review is interesting ..and I imagine pretty accurate ,. Im so glad its almost over . And Amazed that so many people have bought into the farce that is the Olympic and Paralympic Games .. David and I dont have a T.V , and, have silently kept away from the games,by going to work in Slovenia ect ..SDC has done just enough in the cultural olympiad to keep alive!

Some of the things we have done , for ex , using our money to go to Greece with SDc and work with long-time collaborations and young people have been extraordinary and not blurted out in the media , We have also worked in Ankara , Beirut and other places .

Our local schools -work with Driving Inspiration was important , . so I guess Im saying some of the stuff was important , but could have been done without the Olympics!

'The whole thing disgusts me, the British Military carrying the union flag to open games where some athletes have probably been injured in illegal wars of the British'. I quote this back , as it was a wash of 'someyone out there has abrain ! moment!'

Lindsay Wolf

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30 August 2012

Cameron was asked yesterday about the Paralympics and he said 'This is going to change people's attitude to disabled people. That is not about what you can't do but about what you can do.' Yes your script writers have got onto that one Cam, filched a concept from the Disability Movement and turned it into a meme ATOS also uses - if you can press a button you should be out looking for work. The whole thing disgusts me, the British Military carrying the union flag to open games where some athletes have probably been injured in illegal wars of the British.

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