True Equality

“Until the disabled community gets behind the concept of access for all we will never have true equality. Access for most doesn’t count.”

The above statement, was written by our friends over at The Dog House about a week ago – hope she doesn’t mind me posting it here.

Over the years, disability advocates have fought to have the rights of “their” group recognized. Their members bring forth inequalities and the “leaders” begin lobbying the various levels of government for change. Small changes happen each year because of their efforts, but it always seems to be one group working to change policies and practices for their specific “issue” rather than trying to lobby for shifts in policies and practices which will benefit all disabled Canadians. It seems as though the various disability groups are afraid that if they were to ask for changes that will help everyone, then maybe “their” particular fight wouldn’t seem as important.

I did a quick Google search and found these two references that sort of illustrate my above thoughts.

This link, will take you to the Canadian Human rights Commission, where there is a publication that describes different changes that have occurred in the areas of ATM accessibility, equal rights in the tax courts and accommodations for disabled government workers. With further digging, I learned that that in all cases, the changes were brought about because one disability group complained about an inadequacy and not because the “disability community” as a whole saw it as a problem.

This link, will take you to a blog (I think) where the writer discusses changes that have come about over the past 50 years and shows how disability groups campaign against one another in an effort to bring forth “their” plights as being more important and often refuse to celebrate the successes of others.

I’m not sure if you’ll see these links as true illustrations of what I am describing, but they will at least give you a glimpse in the right direction.

Canadians with disabilities are far better off now than they were even thirty years ago, but I think we could have come much further if it were not for the ongoing attempts to outshine one another. In my opinion, no disability group is better or worse off than the other. We all face barriers in our everyday lives, so maybe instead of trying to work against one another, we should try and work together because until then I don’t see there ever being “true equality.”


  1. It’s not just disabled people that act this way, but all minority groups do. The divide and conquer strategy is a simple yet brilliant one; oppressed minority groups will divide into factions, label and criticize one another, and just generally sit around feeling sorry for themselves. It would be easy to unite under one common goal, but I suppose each minority group believes it;s easier to blame each other, and everyone else, for their opression than to standup and fight for equality. Even blind people do it to each other; how many times has another blind person said to you, “My life is worse than your …”, or words to that effect? We’ve all been conditioned to lay blame on others, not to take responsibility for our own destiny; we concentrate on the negativity of inequal status in society instead of banding together in a positive effort to change it.

    Perhaps this sounds harsh, but this is how I feel, and you and I have always been able to be candid with one another about these sorts of issues. Maybe one day we’ll learn our lesson.

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