Our Fear & Discomfort Around Disability

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Our Fear & Discomfort Around Disability

The fundamental problem I see that we have with disability is that we’re totally unaware of our issues around disability - culturally and individually.

Our fear and discomfort around disability

In thinking a lot recently about the blocks and motivations around my business, I wrote an article on LinkedIn with the title "Disability: We Have a Problem." The purpose of this page is to signpost that article because, whilst it is personal, it has value here too. And it seems timely: Martyn Sibley of Purple Goat, and Hardeep Rai of Kaleidoscope Investments have apparently been having similar thoughts.

As Gemma from Loopwheels commented, quoting Jean Paul Sartre: “Ne pas choisir, c'est encore choisir” (translates: Choosing not (to step up) is a choice in itself.)

Whilst inclusive advocates and businesses prove the economic value of inclusion, a look at another example - The Air Report: Checking the Costs of Lack of Inclusion at the Box Office - adds weight to the picture that whilst economics are important, actually they aren't the underlying issue. 

The world is in flux. Attitudes are changing (slowly, yes, but changing) and we're learning to check our privileges and understand how they affect others who don't share those privileges. This creates a scary and uncertain place. Emotionally, we have learned as a culture that to remain safe we must not show vulnerability or be wrong. That automatic defence and lack of curiosity is seriously damaging.

We need to feel safe to explore the topic of disability in order to normalise it and reap the social and economic benefits. Facing our prejudices can feel messy and uncomfortable, but when we remove the shame gremlins, we can move forward with a cleaner and healthier approach.

We need to feel safe to explore the topic of disability in order to normalise it and reap the social and economic benefits. Facing our prejudices can feel messy and uncomfortable, but when we remove the shame gremlins, we can move forward with a cleaner and healthier approach.

Article Except:

"We have a problem with disability. I’ve been thinking about this a lot recently. I started a property business where I want to integrate accessible properties into the mainstream. I underestimated the challenges I faced. The fundamental problem I see that we have with disability is that we’re totally unaware of our issues around disability - culturally and individually. These issues live in the shadows, provoking emotions like fear, discomfort and pity. Both the emotions themselves and the responses they elicit impact every conversation and commercial decision we make around disability, without our knowing."