Are people with disabilities judged according to able bodied standards? Is Paralympics an example of a principle running in the wrong direction?
Every four years, the Summer Paralympics is being held almost concurrent with the Olympic Games. The primary goal of this sporting event for the disabled is to foster the concepts on health and human rights for differently abled athletes. That being said, there are people, mostly person with disabilities (PWDs), who think that the Paralympics is a ‘mockery of equality’ and is just a mere sideshow for the upcoming Olympics.
Paralympics and Disability Politics
Disability politics is the core of calls to bring about amendments on policies or changes on customaries that still result to oppression on the part of PWDs. Even if the Paralympic Movement aims to reshape the weak notion on disabled athletes and people with impairment in general, the Paralympics somewhat presents a different context. For instance, the sporting event conveys a message that incapacitated athletes are passive and powerless, but nevertheless plucky. Moreover, the Paralympics gives a wrong impression of empowerment; that PWDs have to rely on able bodied people who will unshackle them from their plight.
Moreover, there are people who feel that the Paralympics is a gross misrepresentation of the actual experiences of a disabled person. Even though the Games show a sanguine perspective, it does not include the verisimilitude of PWDs: their pain and sufferings. It also promotes the wrong sense of inclusion; that you need to have the appropriate impairment for you to belong to the competition’s classifications.
Inspiration from Disabilities?
Reality check: a lot of people are inspired with PWDs achieving things or bringing glory in spite of their impediments. We actually laud them for getting the better of their impairments and regard them as ‘special’. However, little do we know that most of them are irked of being objectified and being the source of inspiration porn. That being said, we can still learn a lot of things from them; that we can still have true happiness regardless of the existence of extremities, that we don’t have to lose sleep over trivial matters, that flaws and imperfections aren’t always a bad thing, and that we should enjoy each day as if it were our last.