How To Be An Ally To The Disabled Community 🤝🤩
This week Peta talks about how both non-disabled people can be allies to the disabled community.
You can ask Peta a question for a future episode of the podcast via:
The website: www.icantstandpodcast.com
Peta [00:00:03] Hello and welcome to the I Can't Stand podcast, the podcast, and to your questions about what life is like when you have a disability. My name is Peta and I'm your host. I have cerebral palsy and I love to answer your questions. This week was a very important episode. I hope you enjoy it. I tried to make it as approachable and easy to digest as possible. I'd love you to ask me a question. There are three ways you can do that. One. You can send me an email via email@example.com. You can contact me through the website, which is www.icantstandpodcast.com. Or you can message me through my Instagram, which is my name Peta, who spelt Peta Hooke. Without any further ado, let's get into it.
[00:01:20] How can you be a better ally to people with disabilities? Well, firstly, let's define what Allyship is. According to the Oxford Dictionary, an ally is a person who helps and supports somebody. The state of being an ally to a particular group of people that you yourself do not belong to in order to help ensure their basic rights and ability to be happy and successful in society.
[00:01:59] How can someone be a good ally to the disabled community? Well, to be frank, you're doing partly great already. You're listening to this very podcast, a podcast that is solely produced and hosted by somebody with a disability. It is very, very important that people with disabilities are seen and heard. As I've said to you before, I think it's important if you're not part of the disabled community to examine any part of your life where you interact with a group or part of a community, whether that be at work or whether that be at a sporting event to look around and think, where are the disabled people? To actually stand back. Pardon the pun. And examine where and how people with disabilities are integrated in community is really important. Because I think that's a first step to truly understanding how much inequality is experienced to the disability community, how exclusionary the community currently is.
[00:03:25] I hope it then makes you forced to re-examine and think, well, where are the disabled people? To be honest, we're at home. Because we don't have the same sort of opportunities that you have to interact with the community. And this really has to change. Why not some hidden thing in the corner. We have every right to live our lives to the full. Just like people without disabilities. So that would be my first ask when you're going about your day, ask yourself how many people with disabilities have you seen during the day? And yes, I acknowledge there are many people with hidden disabilities. Unfortunately, the people with obvious disabilities are the only ones that are easily identifiable.
[00:04:25] My second recommendation to you would be. Continue to educate yourself. Because as I've said many times on this podcast, I'm just one person with one form of disability. Disability varies from the type of disability that you have, and then it can vary again in how that diagnosis presents in each person. It's important for all of us to continue to educate ourselves on what it means to be disabled and what inherent barriers are being faced by all members of the community. By educating yourself, you'll better understand that each person with a disability is an individual. Please don't put us all together in one big homogenous group. Because that continues to dehumanise us and not see us as individual people. As fantastic people for you to interact with. Communicate with. Be friends with, be work colleagues with. Be open to our opinions and be continually open to learn. As more and more people identify as disabled. We all have to put in the work and learn from different people's perspectives. Do that by actually interacting with us. Talk to us. Message us. Email us, hire us for work. Allow us to help you better understand. We all have excellent insights and expertise that no person without a disability could fully understand and articulate. Please do not talk down to us any more. Talk to us.
[00:06:36] I can't tell you how many times I've been out with my mum and a stranger has come up to us. The stranger has ignored me and asked my mum a question directly about me in front of me, like, I'm not there. Yes, I hope that to be a very old fashioned viewpoint and something that is slowly starting to decrease. But even so. As someone who's never walked, I don't know what it's like to walk up a step. From what I understand, it seems to be something that you guys don't even really have to think about. Or maybe something you don't even notice that you had to step up a step. But can I ask you to start and look at how many places you go to that are inherently inaccessible? I can't imagine the sort of positive impact do you could have if you simply went up to a business owner, your employer, your teacher? Anybody of authority and ask them where the disabled people are. Ask them why they're not there. Ask them, how can we better ensure that people with disabilities have the opportunity to interact in education and employment or just in the community? And then ask them why there's a step. Why don't they have a ramp?
[00:08:28] By learning from us, by listening to us and by opening yourself up to the very things that define inequality is the best form of allyship I can think of. If everybody in our community, regardless of whether you have a disability or not. Work towards making sure that the world was more inclusive of everyone. I mean, it sounds like utopia and a bit idealistic, but can you imagine the sort of impact that that would have?
[00:09:08] Right now, while you're listening to this podcast, can I get you to close your eyes? Now, whether you're standing or sitting or lying down, I imagine from this very point forward. Your legs didn't work. How would that affect your life? Well, first of all, you're probably stuck on the floor or stuck in bed or wherever you are right now. You would need assistance from somebody else. You might not be able to make a cup of tea anymore because the kettles up to high. Frankly, you probably might have to crawl around your apartment. Do you certainly wouldn't be able to drive your car. You can't use the foot pedals anymore. Or, imagine if when you opened your eyes, your legs worked, your arms worked, but you couldn't see anything. Just like a click of a finger. Your whole world has changed. You're still you. But the world has not thought of someone like you as it's being built and developed. To be the unthought of demographic really, really sucks. Does that change who you are? Does that change your ambitions? Your future goals. Wants and desires for your life. Of course not. Having a disability is not the end of the world. It is not a tragedy. It is only framed as that by society because of the inherent barriers that society have put in front of us. My disability is not the hard thing about my life. It's the low expectations of society placed on me without knowing who I am. It's the assumptions and the attitudes towards me and people like me with disability.
[00:11:47] I'm going to reiterate what I want you to do as a good ally. One. Look at your community and think, where are the disabled people? Question why they're not there. And work towards figuring out how you can make us more involved. Two. Continue to listen to us. Be open, to be educated by us and allow us to have a seat at the table. Three. Look at the built environment and question why it is like that. Does it have to be like that? How can it be fixed? Is it worth not including people with disabilities? I might be biased, but I'm going to say no.
[00:12:53] Thank you, as always, for listening to this episode. I truly appreciate your support. If you did enjoy the episode, can I encourage you to leave a rating and review, if you listen on Apple Podcasts? Or if you listen on another podcasting platform, share it with a friend or share it on social media. It all helps to grow the podcast and allow more people to understand what it's like to live with a disability. Thank you until next week. Have a good one, guys. Bye.