Disability Equality Training

Disability Equality

Fortunately, many of the so-called disability professionals who used to provide disability awareness training have since been side-lined in favour of using experienced Disabled people. The training itself has now become ‘Disability Equality’ training and facilitators no longer invite participants to smear Vaseline onto a pair of glasses to experience what it’s like to be partially sighted! As if five minutes of blundering around with the glasses on would equate to a lifetime of the discrimination that a real visually impaired person would have experienced.

Well, you wouldn’t expect to see a white person made up to look like a black and white minstrel, facilitating a Black equality workshop would you (OK, only in a Crippen cartoon, but apart from that!)? Which is why the Disability Rights Commission (DRC) – you remember them?! – advocated the use of Disabled trainers and users whenever an organisation decided to bring itself up to speed with the current disability legislation.

Differently Abled

That’s not to say that all Disabled people get it right. I’ve heard stories of some Crip trainers who are still firmly in the Medical Model of disability and even resort to using the language of ‘differently abled’. This really undermines what we’ve been trying to establish regarding disability equality, and which allows non-disabled participants to argue the toss with us when they turn up on one of our courses. “But another Disabled person told me the opposite” is their opening line when we first introduce them to the Social Model understanding and explain about the importance of language in this context.

I know that this cartoon is a bit of an exaggeration when looking at awareness training, but I intended it to bring the point home a bit more forcefully … which I think it does?!

Description of cartoon for those using screen reading software

A white male in a blue suit is standing in front of a seated group of mixed gender/race people. On the wall behind him is a sign that says ‘Disability awareness training – advanced course’. He is holding a bloody saw behind his back and is saying: “Today we’re going to experience what its like to be an amputee!”

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