DavidB327 (davidbr1) wrote,

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When I heard about the Tory MP Philip Davies’sproposal for easing the way into the workplace for people with learning difficulties or disabilities, my first thought (after the anger had subsided) was that he should be sacked.  Upon reflection I would say not.  He was making this suggestion to try to help, but at the same time reflects the ignorance (of diversity) that is sadly so commonplace.  In making these comments the MP has effectively implied that working for less than the minimum wage would circumvent discrimination.  He has unwittingly raised this issue of discrimination by employers, which may in the end benefit people that are being discriminated against; myself included should I have the misfortunate to be seeking employment in the near future.  No way would I work for less than the minimum wage – I am worth several times that amount.




 What is nevertheless disconcerting is his asserting that disabled people (and others) would always be less productive than their able bodied counterparts.  Not so!!!  I am equally as productive (and more so) than my able bodied peers.  I have (of course) my limitations, but I work within those limitations and still manage to keep up with, and actually exceed, the others.  The onus is on the employer & fellow employees to make reasonable adjustments to enable disabled people to make their contribution.  It IS NOT acceptable to ignore this responsibility, and by doing so inevitably prevent that contribution from being made.

 This negative perspective that some able bodied people have is due to their focus on what disabled people can’t do, rather than what they can do.  By doing so there will be a perception that disabled people are a problem.  This is actually reflected brilliantly in the story ‘The Metamorphosis’ by Franz Kafka.

I have had to deal with this kind of prejudice myself, and continue to challenge it whenever I can.  I am doing so increasingly these days, as I gain in confidence in coping with my disability.  I do so not just for myself, but also on behalf of those less capable of challenging prejudice.  I won’t stop until changes happen, and maybe not even then.
What I can't do though is sing.  However I know someone who could; someone whose opinion on these matters would have been heard - unfortunately he is no longer with us.


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