Disabled Or Not: Why My Civil Rights Are No Different Than Yours

Disability and privilege

This has been a topic of discussion occurring among the disability community. By definition, a privilege is defined as a special right or privilege for a particular group/person. While doing some of my own researching… I found that people with disabilities were listing things like medical care, housing, gainful employment, and so on. Why is it acceptable for a non-disabled person to refer to these things as their civil rights, but for someone with a disability it’s seen as a privilege?

My life isn’t any less valuable because I have a disability, and the person next to me doesn’t. I am not some rich kid who takes advantage of people and the things they have simply because they can. To be grouped in that category because I want to be able to live a life that is seen as equal among my peers and society, is extremely insulting. Wanting to have a fair shot at living the best life I can is not a privilege but rather my right.

I have the right to have a roof over my head without requirements. As well as the right to provide for myself without being told how much I can make. Or what I can spend the money on. When it comes to love, I have the right to marry for love and not be penalized for it. I have a right to steady employment with the opportunity to move up the ladder like everyone else. These rights, in turn, are necessary for someone to be given an equal chance at making the best life for themselves. But that can’t happen if this narrow-minded approach continues. There needs to be change in how the disability communities are seen by those in power.

With cuts to vital and necessary programs and services happening regularly… We are only having to do with a system that continues to break down. With barely adequate conditions passing as acceptable. Just because someone has a disability, and needs to make certain adjustments and adaptations to living their life according to society’s rulebook does not mean that we are not a valuable part of society and have nothing to give back to it. Contrary to popular opinion, people with various disabilities have a very diverse set of qualifications that can benefit all of us. Because we have learned to think outside the box society tries to make us fit in.

We are not a species they should fear, but rather their equal partner with the same goal in mind. We can help lead and lead. We can share our knowledge, experience, and expertise in what we can do to help the general public. And we help the world not only run more efficiently but also grow with benefits. Benefits, that are for everyone and not separated by those in the position of power and change simply because of their refusal to see us, and treat us as equals.

Fear is a fickle beast. But when you partner with ignorance that is a duo that could do more damage than good. So why not break up with both of them, and being willing to share the table with us? You may find yourself pleasantly surprised. Having a disability is not a punishment. People with disabilities are a human who simply adapts and adjusts to life at different rates than that of their able-bodied neighbor. Our right to live a life like our fellow neighbors should not be seen as a bargaining chip that others can simply cash out on if they feel their existence does not benefit them in some way.

People with disabilities are not lost causes. We’re not broken; we are not problems without solutions. We can work with those who seem to be against us if they’re willing to let go of their blimp-size egos. My desire to want to a full life with them as I see fit is not based on privilege-I call it like I see it.

I see it as a right for my civil rights

I am a civilian; an American citizen. And I play by the rules just like everyone else. Why should I be looked down upon, dismissed, segregated, immortalized, and punished? Simply because there are some find it more beneficial and lucrative if they just cut me off at the knees at every turn. What good is having power to change something when you only ensure it benefits you/your inner circle? In my opinion, that is taking advantage of your privilege. Taking an opportunity that was given to put in effect a change that will help a community in need of necessities that helps them prolong their lives into something more rather than just simply existing.

My life is worth more than the misconceptions that are being made every day. Simply because I am physically limited. My civil rights and I, should not fall victims to the chopping block because a certain group or party don’t recognize/accept me as an equal member of society.

I have a right to my life no matter who thinks otherwise. And I will fight for it and the rights that help me live to the absolute fullest. My life will outshine their ignorance so brightly. Such that, maybe they’ll think twice before they take an ax to it out of greed. My life is not a child’s toy. They can not play with it and not expect that their said actions don’t hold a consequence. Nor a reaction from me, or the community I represent.

Stop treating my life and my civil rights as insignificant and not valuable.

Because my life has significance and value and so do my civil rights. These rights help me to show society that I am more than worthy to live among you. And that I can contribute my two cents to it. Regardless of how I go about accomplishing that. I have a right to show the world that I am part of society. And that I am more than capable to live in society. Just like everyone else does without issue.

Featured image via Photo by Josh Appel on Unsplash


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