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  • Katie Cheers

Valuing Differences

Throughout the years my understanding of disability has changed significantly and while the term “disability” encompasses so many different and diverse circumstances for people, it is usually encompassed by similar attitudes and resistance held by the wider community and I believe it stems from misconstrued thoughts of “being different is bad, being vulnerable is bad, and not being able to do something is bad.”

How many of us feel that in a job or situation that if we get something wrong or if we don’t know how to do something, or are not able to cope with stress and busyness that is exceedingly becoming the norm, then we will be seen as weak, we won’t be accepted or included, we’ll be passed over for that next opportunity or even worse, that we see ourselves as weak and worthless.

Unfortunately, these views have become the norm. There is now an ever increasing need for individuals to be superhero’s all the time. It’s like we are required to give more than 110% all of the time and in every facet of life and if we’re not doing this then we simply aren’t interesting enough, we’re not strong enough and we’re not living up to the now near impossible standards of life that society has now come to embrace and value. Now as society has come to value these traits, the one of the superman and wonderwoman and the ability to do everything, have everything and be everything, we perpetuate the notion that if you have a disability, you’re not able to embody that superhero that is now required to fit into life and therefore the views of the disability overpass those of the individual person and tarnishes them as a lesser being simply because they might not be able to contribute to society what society values.

It seems as though Western society values efficiency, productivity and financial growth (ironically with the aim to have a better quality of life) and with these things in mind it is hard to allow for anything which may slow down the process, pushing aside values of care, inclusion, equality and quality of life. It stops us from valuing difference and diversity in all people and their uniqueness, imagination, and individuality. So it’s important for us to stop and think about what really matters, and what we really value in life, allowing time to embrace difference and diversity because by embracing and valuing the uniqueness and diversity in individuals and in ourselves we can become a more inclusive, happier community.

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