The Harmful Words We Use, and Meaningful Change: Food For thought

G’day Friends and welcome to another week and another blog!!

I hope you all had an amazing Easter, Passover or Holiday!

This week highlighted to me just how much words and actions of others can affect people. In Australia, A Federal Politician (leader of the country) was asked about the NDIS (National Disability Insurance Scheme) as we are heading to the polls in a few weeks.

A comment was said in regards to people with disability, which then started a storm on social media.

So I wanted to discuss the words we use and how we can change this narrative around it. But from a place of love and not hate.

The Words We Use

Now I listened to what was said in that press conference, and i honestly wasn’t offended or hurt by the statements made. To be honest, I have heard worse comments about disabled people from people who aren’t in politics. However the key difference between him and other comments was that there was no malicious intent in what he said, and he also corrected himself. I honestly think there was nothing wrong about that.

To be honest, the comments are well and truly justified given our current societal perceptions and treatment of people who have a disability. Our disability unemployment rate is horrendous, bullying and harassment is through the roof, too many buildings and pathways aren’t accessible and we have services that aren’t working to their true potential.

However, is any person struggle free? People are unemployed regardless of disability status (even though you are twice as likely to be unemployed if you are disable), students are bullied regardless. I guess what I am trying to say is that no one disabled or not goes through life struggle free; is it that the disabled community or other ‘minority’ groups call it out more often than not? Don’t get me wrong I am not hating on my community, I love the disabled community, however I am not such a fan of how a select few choose to voice their opinions in a way that is hurtful and damaging.

How We Can Create Change and Heal!

As I read through all the comments from people about this Leader’s remarks, it became so clear to me that so many people within the disability community are so full of anger and hatred.

I was that way for a long time, and still on occasion can get a bit hot under the collar should things be said I don’t agree with. I am human after all! And I am mistreated just like pretty much everyone else.

However, being angry towards people doesn’t solve anything. I don’t want to discredit people’s anger because they deserve to feel however they feel. However, I personally feel if we are to truly make positive change in how the world sees disability, as a community, we need to be working together not against each other. And by that I mean disabled people working with Politicians, Stakeholders, Legislatures, Businesses and the like.

If I can give you an example, Dr Martin Luther King Jr chose to fight racial equality with peace and love for all people. He conducted his rallies without hate and violence. He was then able to work with Leaders like JFK and LBJ to bring about meaningful change. Then you have Malcolm X who believed violent protests and anger was the only way forward to create change. And to be honest he had every right to be angry! I don’t blame him for that at all! There is the constant debate though of who did the most good for the civil rights movement out of MLK or Malcolm X. But I truly believe that Dr King truly went about creating change the right way.

Why am I telling you this? We all see that there is room for improvement in terms of the treatment and perspective of disabled people. There is room for improvement in a lot of areas in society lets be honest!

However, I truly believe if we are to really change perspectives and the narrative about disabled people, we need to start addressing it at its source. Looking into how things are managed now and determining why that is the case and how we can change it.

How we act influences how people react to us. If we start leading from a place of kindness for all, we could really make some serious improvements! I don’t mean saying that certain comments should be swept under the rug, because people do need to be called out on their BS! But the way in which you do it makes all the difference. If we lead from hate and violence, we lose credit and our message goes out the window because all society sees are people being angry not the message.

One Last thing

Before I sign off for another week, there is one more thing that I want to discuss is that we have a habit of speaking for other people.

In our ranting and venting, we like to say ‘the disability community are furious about those comments’ or ‘people with a disability are sick of dealing with people like this’ like we are talking for people.

And I get that it is so difficult to find the happy medium in terms on when you do and don’t talk on behalf of people.

I am also learning on not speaking for everyone is the disability community. Because my views may not be the same as their views.

Because the risk we all run is if we speak for other people when we are angry, people pigeonhole the rest of the group as angry and not to be spoken to or taken seriously. So then we are all seen as that which then lends itself to causing more issues.

The words we use have serious impacts and consequences that are far reaching. They cut deep and the scar is there forever. And this applies to everyone. Could things have been handled differently? of course!!! However, I think we need to start working together to create positive change from a place of peace instead of hatred. We will be able to achieve so much if we stop head hunting, stop reading into words of others when there was no malice and start working together.

I wish you all a good week, stay safe.

Till next time,


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