The Disability Experience

by William Peace, Bad Cripple, 2 December 2015

William Peace has a PhD in Anthropology with Distinction from Columbia University, and his research interests include the history of anthropology, body art and modification, bioethics, and disability studies. He is a member of the board of Not Dead Yet.

For those who support assisted suicide legislation it is all about emotion and salesmanship; it is a slick branded effort to pass legislation and sway the public. The fact such legislation puts people with a disability at risk is instantly dismissed. The problem is selling life is much harder. Selling life with a disability is beyond hard. Selling life with a disability requires we use our imagination. Selling life with a disability requires non disabled others to think. Selling life with a disability requires people to reject virtually everything they have unknowingly and knowingly absorbed about disability. Selling life with a disability is to reject cultural norms associated with bodily perfection. Selling life with a disability requires one to acknowledge disability rights and civil rights are one and the same. Are we as a society ready for this sales pitch about life and disability? In a word, no.

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