sent to Woman's Hour, on BBC radio 4.
It was read out loud but sadly in edited form - it or I was also called
Charity does give, it gives jobs, status and control to non-disabled
people. It makes us, disabled people, invisible and powerless. Charity
is self-perpetuating, reinforcing a disabling society, much as aid from
the West reinforces exploitation and poverty.
Attitudes and charity would change if we had statutory rights and anti-discrimination
legislation. Organisations connected with disability should have a majority
of disabled people on management boards and decision making bodies:
they should train and employ, within a set time limit, a significant
percentage of disabled people, working at all levels; decisions about
funds raised should be made solely by disabled people; companies used,
such as publicity agencies, should be chosen if they have disabled employees
in responsible positions and training schemes for our future employment.
It needs to be understood that as far as disability goes we are the
professionals, we have the experience. As it is, the arrogance of non-disabled
people is only superseded by their ignorance. What a conceit, they honour
themselves, for services to 'the disabled,' we don't even merit a noun,
such as 'person.'
Non-disabled people often tell me, with an I of self-satisfaction, about
the charity activities and entertainments they have been involved with,
entertainments which frequently have a complete absence of disabled
people. How many celebrity charity galas have access, let alone our
participation? Why should it be deemed that disabled people exist to
give relief from boredom and provide emotional massage for the non-disabled?
If we do we should be paid a great deal more than we are for this service.
I don't agree with the politics of charity. We all share this planet
and only borrow its resources, no one has more rights to them than anyone
else or more of a say in how they are used. I want equality and justice
not exploitation. I demand a secure life, not charity events which secure
non-disabled people's life-styles at our expense.
Disabled people have a great deal of experience. It should be used not
wasted, we certainly need it if we are to reverse the process of destruction
our world is undergoing.
I am an artist and struggle daily, not with ideas for work which would
express my experience, I have no shortage of these but how to accomplish
my work without facilities. I am frustrated and angry when I see abundant
facilities and resources controlled by non-disabled people used to project
a false image of me and in my name.