Stories Create Culture

In the disability community, our diversity is our worst enemy.

It is hard to be proud in the face of oppression and discrimination, but it is harder when your culture is almost wholly comprised on stories based around those things.

Stories create culture. The response to the story makes it narrative, and it informs the way people behave. Our public narratives are all created by non disabled people - inspiration and charity and tragedy, and our private narratives are concealed by our diversity. 

Even stories which should belong to us have been appropriated by non disabled people as inspiration porn. We're objectified every day because of it. And even stories that reflect pride are often based on protest. Although it is wonderful being part of a community who are fighting for their rights, there is nothing beautiful about the desperate struggle to stay out of nursing homes or have good health care or access or just to be part of the world.

It is hard to think of stories which reinforce crip culture as positive, because they are secret, even when they are commonplace.

Nobody, unless they are blind, know that blind people often hold hands when traveling in groups.

Nobody knows that Deaf people have their own culture and language and that families with intergenerational Deafness have a completely different concept of normal which often results in pride.

People don't know that autistic people aren't just 'good at computers'. Or music. They don't know that having minds that utilise visual or pattern or creative or memory based thinking skills are part of how the autistic mind operates every day - and yes, even if you also have an intellectual disability. If you're intellectually disabled, you're no less autistic.

There are hundreds of cultural secrets that disability communities hold and they are all as invisible as a disabled person in a nursing home or a sea of dead disabled bodies under a golf course in Wagga Wagga.

They are invisible not just to non disabled people but also to many members of the disability community, because our diversity is our worst enemy. Cross disability solidarity - and other intersectional solidarity - is the only way to bring our cultural narratives into the sunlight and help us become proud.


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