Disability culture is big, diverse, and exciting. It is also difficult to take care of.
Bright and optimistic news stories and Facebook posts about disabled people’s lives are not always helpful or even ethical for real people with disabilities. And in certain situations, anger and radical protests and Twitter threads are just what is needed. Disability discourse consists of concrete and substantive ideas and problems that can be rationally communicated, interpreted and evaluated. but, content Understanding disability culture isn’t always enough to understand exactly what you’re seeing.
A recent trend in buzzwords might help. You may need to look for something like “disability vibe”. Even if we don’t take this particular buzzword too seriously or literally, the idea of different disability communities and perspectives with their own ‘vibes’ will help both observers and participants to better understand the complexity of disability culture. It may help you understand better.
Here are some of the most common and unique disability culture ‘vibes’…
For some disability communities and persons with disabilities, life with disabilities is primarily about the pursuit and belief in medical prevention and treatment as an answer to disability problems. This includes, for example, people with spinal cord injuries who have invested heavily in medical or technological breakthroughs that hold out hope that one day they will be able to walk again. For others, it means devoting themselves to grueling physical therapy in hopes of other major or minor improvements in certain disorders.
These “medical climates” also include self-help and recovery concepts and regimen messages and beliefs. The emphasis here is on overcoming the physical, mental and emotional effects of disability. It focuses primarily on individual self-improvement and less on the physical, social, and policy barriers that affect the broader disability community.
While our specific ideas, actions, and goals may vary, “Medical Vibes” teaches us that obstacles can be overcome. On the one hand, these medical atmospheres send a rather depressing message that if a disabled person is sick and broken, or if their disability has not improved, it is because you are not trying hard enough. I may tell you.
Don’t miss the “Charity Vibe”. For many people, especially those without disabilities who have little connection to the actual disability community, disability culture is primarily charitable, if it exists at all. For a long time both literal charities and the atmosphere they used and generated dominated disability culture. They still do so to some extent.
The specifics vary, but broadly speaking, charity vibes emerge from deliberate strategies and unconscious habits of using empathy for people with disabilities to inspire action. Early and influential examples include the original “March of Dimes” for treating polio and the old-fashioned “Jerry Lewis Labor Day Telethon” for muscular dystrophy. Both have been wildly successful by at least some means.and they definitely Kindness General goodwill to disabled people. But for many people with disabilities, the price of exploitation, condescension and humiliation has always been too high and today is just embarrassing. being seen
On the other hand, there are nuances in genuinely disabled sharing. themselves Stories of struggles to seek help – and their existence used by People without disabilities as part of an organized and possibly lucrative media campaign. People with disabilities may also use at least the ‘charity vibes’ tip in advocacy campaigns, such as when drawing attention to poverty and lack of needed services. People with disabilities are also increasingly using online fundraising services like GoFundMe. This service can feel more honest and less exploitative because people with disabilities decide how to appeal. However, whether justified or not, human trafficking is carried out with a similar “charity vibe.”
Either way, ‘Charity Vibe’ tells us that life for people with disabilities is really hard, deprived and often sad and needs help. Unfortunately, it also tends to have an air of disgust and pity, suggesting that disability is a tragedy and that others should be grateful that they are not disabled.
Another angle that empowers the lives of disabled people is their individual achievement in work, financial independence, academics, arts and creativity, entrepreneurship, athletics, and other understood measures of success. is to focus on Much of the popular discourse about disability consists of praising people with disabilities for having good jobs and happy families, living in nice homes, and presenting a reassuring image of being normal, sophisticated and professional. It has been. apart from their disability.
This is common and clear enough as the “atmosphere of achievement” that is seen as the traditional middle-class success that most asserts the equality and worth of the disabled. An implicit message is displayed along with it. every day People with disabilities should be able to achieve at least this much.And if there is anything that disabled people can do TRUE If it’s something astonishing as winning an Olympic medal or an acting award, other people with disabilities should be able to achieve at least modest daily goals.
Of course, there is also a less weighted version of the “achievement vibe” where disabled people simply celebrate their achievements without any big message or ideological allusion. This includes disability activists who share their successes with friends and family on Facebook, celebrate advocacy victories, or simply celebrate paid vacations, while disabling people with disabilities who share successes big or small in between. can contain.
The “Achievement Vibes” seem to reassure us that life with disability is rewarding and that there are many positive role models in the disability community to emulate. are likely to feel more punished, and disabled people who are not working, correct attitudeAnd because the popular image of mainstream and upper middle class success is still predominantly white, male, and heterosexual, disabled persons of other races, genders, and social classes are Often left out of these narratives about achieving and accepting disability.
atmosphere of advocacy
This is perhaps the most intensely controversial of the various ‘vibes’ of disability culture. “Advocacy Vibe” mainly includes two types of his efforts, often running parallel to each other, but sometimes overlapping.
Advocacy – activities in which people with disabilities fight for their own specific needs and rights, mostly on a small community scale. This includes advocating care for quadriplegic patients to live independently in their own homes, campaigning for accessibility at local restaurants with paraplegics, children with learning disabilities. Examples include parents who are fighting for educational support for their children.
Activism — or larger, longer-term state and national advocacy. It is people with disabilities who are fighting for better laws and policies, fighting for big changes that will make life better not just for themselves, but for the entire disabled community. This includes increasing funding to reduce home care waiting lists, defending against efforts to undermine the Americans with Disabilities Act, or encouraging more aggressive enforcement of special education laws and regulations. protests and behind-the-scenes persuasion.
The “Advocacy Vibe” also includes journalism and other content in both mainstream and social media, especially produced by people with disabilities themselves, exposing the issues and unaddressed injustices in people’s lives with disabilities. , explains.it’s about what it is No correct, No uplift the mood, No Inspiration in the world of disability. This includes a growing number of journalists with disabilities who work freelance or on staff for newspapers, magazines and television news networks. And it is the disability writers and unaffiliated ordinary disability commentators who promote critical thought and discourse on disability through their books and daily social media.
The “Advocacy Vibe” claims that not everything is fine for people with disabilities, but people with disabilities are working on it. At best, it encourages people to join the fight. Of course, this emphasis on harm and injustice can undermine active advocacy. The “advocacy vibe” in disability culture is not far from concluding that “everyone hates us, all systems are rigged, and no progress is real or permanent.”
Using the loose, semi-serious concept of “vibes” is not a cultural stumbling block. Disability culture is really a collection of emotions and reactions, some consistent, some contradictory, some constantly changing and overlapping, all very real.