Showing posts with label disability stereotypes. Show all posts
Showing posts with label disability stereotypes. Show all posts

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

A Comedian with Disability committed to disability awareness: Maysoon Zayid

Dear Friends,

I am greatly impressed by the eloquence of this Palestinian woman from New Jersey Ms. Maysoon Zayid - a writer, actor, comedian and co-founder of New York Arab-American Comedy Festival.

She shatters the myths and stereotypes associated with persons with disabilities in no time and you can not but return much more sensitized and knowledgeable about yourself, about your own beliefs about persons with disabilities and their abilities.

I am sure you would love to see this embeded video herein below:

Thursday, December 13, 2012

You may get afflicted by disability if you take bribes- say DDA's posters

Dear Colleagues,

Disability is a result of your past mistakes or karmas and can afflict you if you engage in corruption or bribery - says the Delhi Development Authority through brightly colured posters that are seen in DDA buildings to discourage people from taking bribes.

The posters say that wealth amassed by taking bribes is spent on diseases. To put the point across, the posters show pictures of people afflicted with leprosy, skin diseases and deformities. I am surprised by the ignorance of DDA about UNCRPD and that they still continue to reinforce the stereotypes about disability. This also shows in what light they view persons with disabilities which is bound to reflect on their actions in dealing with persons with disabilities as employees, stakeholders, consumers etc.

Here is some news coverage from Hindustan Times on such move:

DDA posters offend disability rights activists

The Delhi Development Authority (DDA), while celebrating its annual vigilance week recently, planned to do something different and put up several colourful posters across its offices in the Capital. Made to create awareness, the posters have instead ended up offending many. The brightly  coloured posters with some shocking visuals, which dot every corner of the DDA’s several offices, say that wealth amassed by taking bribes is spent on diseases. To put the point across, the posters show pictures of people afflicted with leprosy, skin diseases and deformities.

Though the idea behind the posters was to create awareness, the visuals have not gone down well with many DDA employees.

“The posters are highly objectionable as these are discriminatory and portray people with disabilities in a bad light. There are many of our colleagues who are visually or physically disabled and they are hurt by this gesture of our vigilance department, which has prepared the posters,” said Sukhbir Sharma, president, joint action committee, DDA trade unions and engineers, which is an umbrella body of all employees’ unions of the DDA.

The committee has written to the Delhi lieutenant governor Tejendra Khanna, who is also the DDA chairman, to order the immediate removal of the posters.

“To create awareness about corruption, the posters could have just given numbers of nodal officers to be contacted if asked for a bribe,” he said. “The DDA has been trying to bring people with disabilities into the mainstream, but on the other hand it is discriminating against them in such way.”

“People putting up such posters need to be sensitised first before those taking bribes. It is highly discriminatory and spread such wrong notions about people with disabilities,” said Anjalee Agarwal, director, Samarthyam.

“Such posters reinforce the stereotype that disability is a result of your past mistakes or karma. We condemn any such move and the posters should be removed immediately,” said disability rights activist Javed Abidi. “By trying to remove one evil, the DDA is promoting another,” he said.

Abidi said that such an insensitive act by the DDA washes away the fight against such strongly ingrained stereotypes. Senior DDA officials couldn’t be contacted for comments despite repeated attempts.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

The World "Handicapped" is banned in Haryana

Dear Colleagues,

In the recent past Govt. of Haryana  initiated a network of social infrastructure in every district that includes old age homes, special accessible school infrastructure for four major disabilities to include persons with disabilities in the mainstream. Several quarters who advocated inclusion in all spheres of life including education etc were quite critical of this step while the State Government's decision was more in line with providing better infrastructure in specialized and state of the art institutions which could become pivotal institutions to empower the disabled people to inclusion. In addition to this, other educational institutions are also being made inclusive.

Now in yet another positive step towards a rights based and inclusive society where marginalized segments are accorded full respect and dignity, it has come out with an official announcement banning the usage of the word "Handicapped" in the State since it violated and undermined the dignity of persons with disabilities. Not only  that, it went on to even discourage the world "differently abled" since this focuses on differential dimension hence not inclusive. This is a very positive step and the officials responsible for this remarkable step must be congratulated. 

The larger issue is now to implement this and I am sure State had already done its bit to a good extent by highlighting this in the media and through various means so that the state machinery at all levels understand the "persons first approach" or People-First Language.

As per Wiktionary the word  "Handicap" means-  An allowance of a certain amount of time or distance in starting, granted in a race (or other contest of skill) to the competitor possessing disadvantages; or an additional weight or other hindrance imposed upon the one possessing advantages, in order to equalize, as much as possible, the chances of success.  Eg. 

  • The older boy won, even though his opponent had been granted a handicap of five meters.
  • A handicap in chess often involves removal of the queen's rook.
It also means a race, for horses or men, or any contest of agility, strength, or skill, in which there is an allowance of time, distance, weight, or other advantage, to equalize the chances of the competitors.

Thus,  person may have a disability  and not handicaps and it is derogatory to refer to an individual with the a noun "handicapped".  This announcement is in line with Article 8 of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities which is reproduced below:

Article 8 - Awareness-raising
1. States Parties undertake to adopt immediate, effective and appropriate measures:
  1. To raise awareness throughout society, including at the family level, regarding persons with disabilities, and to foster respect for the rights and dignity of persons with disabilities;
  2. To combat stereotypes, prejudices and harmful practices relating to persons with disabilities, including those based on sex and age, in all areas of life;
  3. To promote awareness of the capabilities and contributions of persons with disabilities.
Measures to this end include:
  1. Initiating and maintaining effective public awareness campaigns designed:
    1. To nurture receptiveness to the rights of persons with disabilities;
    2. To promote positive perceptions and greater social awareness towards persons with disabilities;
    3. To promote recognition of the skills, merits and abilities of persons with disabilities, and of their contributions to the workplace and the labour market;
  2. Fostering at all levels of the education system, including in all children from an early age, an attitude of respect for the rights of persons with disabilities;
  3. Encouraging all organs of the media to portray persons with disabilities in a manner consistent with the purpose of the present Convention;
  4. Promoting awareness-training programmes regarding persons with disabilities and the rights of persons with disabilities.

Here is the news coverage of the announcement in Indian Express:

Wednesday, April 18, 2012, 

Chandigarh: Haryana government has banned the use of expression 'handicapped' saying it violates and undermines the dignity of persons with disability. 

An official spokesman said the expression 'handicapped' was against the spirit of the Constitution, the Persons with Disabilities (Equal Opportunities, Protection of Rights and Full Participation) Act, 1995, and, the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities to which India was also a state party. 

He said the use of such other expressions as 'differently abled' would also be discouraged as such an expression harps more on the differentiality dimension whereas there was a need to promote equality dimension. 

Wherever such description was both necessary and relevant, such persons would be described as persons with disability or as persons with blindness, persons with speech and hearing impairment or persons with locomotor disability. 

He said national institutes like National Institute for the Visually Handicapped and National Institute for Hearing Handicapped should also be renamed appropriately. 


Monday, March 19, 2012

Media has a larger role in breaking disability stereotypes

Dear Colleagues,

Here is an article on a workshop conducted by DLU (North East), Shishu Saroti, Guwahati
 on the role of Media vis-a-vis the Disability Sector"  published in The Sentinel. Several such initiatives are needed for most sectors since it is the wrong portrayal of persons with disabilities that reinforces the  age old prejudices and biases. 

Not because it is done intentionally but there is lack of awareness among the masses, the society, the media, the judiciary, the government babus, the medical and para-medical fraternity and above all the  family members of persons with disabilities and worst - persons with disabilities themselves!. Such eye-opening sessions are needed for every one and should be conducted more often in schools & colleges too!  

Media should adopt a rights-based approach rather than a charity approach while reporting about persons with disabilities. — Arman Ali

By our Staff Reporter

GUWAHATI, March 17: “People with disabilities are often perceived as different by normal people. They are also discriminated against. This is unfortunate and should not happen. Disabled people too have hopes and aspirations like normal people. They should not be made to feel as if they are different and should be given equal opportunity to move forward in life, like the rest,” said Shishu Sarothi executive director Arman Ali while addressing an orientation programme held in Guwahati today on the topic ‘Role of Media vis-a-vis the Disability Sector’. The programme was organized for mediapersons by the Disability Law Unit- Northeast, Shishu Sarothi.

Ali further said, “The families of disabled persons should accept them with their weaknesses and strengths. A proper environment should be created at home so that they can feel encouraged to pursue their dreams.” He added, “Unfortunately, the government is also not doing enough for the disabled people. It should make provisions for such persons.”
He called upon the media to adopt a rights-based approach rather than a charity approach while reporting about persons with disabilities.

Speaking at the programme, senior journalist Prabal Das said, “In India, even though social and humanitarian issues get written about in newspapers and magazines, the disability issue has not been highlighted much. Media should portray disability in such a way so as to help increase awareness throughout society about the realities faced by disabled persons, reduce stereotypes, prejudices and harmful practices. Shishu Sarothi, which is building hope among the disabled people, should guide the media on how to portray the disability issue.”
Das lamented the fact that the Indian media usually highlights the disability issue during the Para Olympics.

Disability Law Unit-Northeast assistant project coordinator Amvalika Senapati said that as per the 2001 census, there were 5,30,300 disabled persons in Assam. As per the WHO report, 2011, there are 31,16,927 persons with disabilities in Assam.

She said, “Disability, whether mental or physical, does not disable a person. Discrimination, social stigma and poverty does. The media exerts a powerful influence on the way people with disabilities are perceived. It is important that persons with disabilities that they are portray realistically and that their disabilities are explained accurately.”

Examples of denial of right to education in respect of children with disability in the various districts of Assam, inaccessible public places and empathy of various authorities in implementing the laws and schemes in respect of persons with disabilities was highlighted by her. She highlighted how there were no provisions for disabled persons in railways stations and the ISBT.

During the programme, many points were highlighted. The media, it was said, should raise awareness about the challenges faced by persons with disabilities, bring discussion of disability into the public arena to challenge the idea of it as a taboo subject, promote policies, products and services that support full participation and development of disabled persons, avoid labels like ‘disability’ or ‘mental’ which have negative stereotypes or myths associated with them, allow persons with disabilities to speak for themselves, encourage and to expose common myths about disability.

Source: The Sentinel