Segregated disability communities ok?Oct 18 01:29
Its human nature to want to be around humans who are as similar to us as possible. It gives us a sense of belonging and more importantly, a sense of comfort, so we don’t feel the need to question ourselves or our reality (hey we’re human. It’s what we do). So it came as surprise when a group of Little People from China, sick of being shunned, decided to leave their homes and families and start their own community.
We all know how bad off baby girls have it in China. Well, disabled citizens don’t have it much better. To have a disability in China is a very shameful thing. People either gawk or look away in shame. Either way, “integrating” into society as a disabled person in China is a pipedream. It could happen, but it’s several generations away. Knowing this hard truth, and no where to escape to live their days at peace, they took the drastic measure of segregation. Their only hope.
This “Dwarf City” is called Kunming and they’ve turned it into a tourist attraction in order to make money to sustain themselves. At first, I thought charging people to enter their town so these jerks could stare and gawk was disrespectful to themselves. But after researching the conditions over there and the extremely limited situation they’re in (ie. no one will hire you over there if you have a disability), you really can’t blame them. Its not like they can harvest rice paddies as fast as their able-bodied counterparts. What else can they do?
At the end of the day, the name of the game is survival, and these guys whether you agree with what they’re doing or not, are doing it swimmingly. But this community has got me thinking if I could do such a thing. Would you live in an all-inclusive disability community so you could feel normal again? How bad must things get for you to leave everything? The existence of people with disabilities have over there must be pretty bad for such a drastic thing to live in completely separate community, isolated, to sound appealing. Its like they‘ve made themselves their very own Leper colony to live in.
I won’t lie, sometimes I’ll fantasize living in a world where everyone was disabled. What if everyone used wheelchairs? What if the whole world was paved? Although the idea of living in an all-disability community or world is completely preposterous when it comes down to it (at least in my situation; needing PCAs), it’s alluring to think of how amazing it’d feel to no longer be a minority gain, to no longer stand out like a sore thumb.
Would you consider living in an all-disability community?
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Tiffiny Carlson is freelance writer and writes the “SCI Life” column for New Mobility. She's also a C6 quad from a diving accident that occurred when she was 14 years old. A lifelong resident of Minneapolis, Tiffiny has been a writer in the disability community for over 10 years and writes for several publications and blogs, as well as her personal blog BeautyAbility. Her work has also appeared in mainstream publications such as Nerve.com and Playgirl.