Hello! Yes, yes I know- over 2 months and not a dicky bird from me- rejoice say some! No real excuse, just been busy but thought I better pop in and say hello. Today, a quick blog on ending the awkward…
Desert Island Discs – a conversation about being awkward
Today I wanted to write about awkwardness and disability. The driver for this sudden desire to set the world to rights was, unusually for me, Radio 4. I was at home this week seeing my family and Desert Island Discs was on in the car. The
guest who was stranded this week was Warwick Davis – you can listen to it on the BBC iPlayer.
During his conversation with Kirsty Young, he spoke about his Dwarfism and the impact other people’s awkwardness and prejudices about him. He spoke about pointing children and the awkwardness of the parents who scold them for being curious and how what he tries to do is to educate both the child and the parent about his disability so that they become more aware and it becomes more normal.
It lead me to think about how the perception of difference and what is and what isn’t ‘ok’ to say or ask about disability. It also made me think about a conversation I had with a colleague who has Aspergers and his perception of what is and what isn’t ‘ok’ to ask.
The conclusion I’ve come to is that, to really progress the disability agenda we need to be even more open than, in some instances, we are. For some, disability still sits in the ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ box and how this can be detrimental.
Happily, this is already starting to change. The Scope ‘End the Awkward‘ campaign which takes everyday situations and demonstrates how these shouldn’t be awkward. The campaign also tackles areas such as sex, relationships and more and challenges viewers to let go of their preconceptions and think about people with disabilities as just people.
As for the conversation with my colleague – during our conversation he challenged my biases and awkwardnesses. As an ally, it’s important that I continue to develop my understanding and work hard to focus on ability and not disability.
Curiosity and asking questions about disability is perfectly fine but remember, be respectful and polite.