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Dear Suzanne Collins,
Please write a prequel to your popular series, The Hunger Games. This prequel should involve the first Hunger Games and how the nation crumbled and came to such a low so as to allow a dictator to separate citizens into districts and demand they send their children into an arena and fight to the death.
These are the things I need to know.
A similarly disgruntled person sent the same letter to George Lucas in 1998. He died a year later next to a note reading: “Dear God, what have I done?”
Admittedly I studied disability in the UK (so there may be a different consensus here in North America) but I was always taught that people don’t have disabilities. People have impairments. People are disabled by the ways in which society is organized by and for the non-impaired.
… poverty does not arise because of the physical inability to work and earn a living - but because we are prevented from working by the way work is organised in society. It is not because of our bodies that we are immobile - but because of the way mobility is organised that we cannot move… It is not because of our bodies that we are segregated into special schools - but because of the way education is organized. It is not because we are physically impaired that we are rejected by society - but because the way social relationships are organised that we are placed beyond friendships, marriages and public life. Disability is not something we possess, but something our society possesses. (Leaman, 1981)
Disability = social. Impairment = physical.
When you say things like “able-bodied” instead of “non-disabled”, you conflate the physical with the social and return to a personal tragedy model of disability, a model where disabled people have no agency to expose or challenge the oppression they face because their hardship is seen as innate.
Am I wrong about this? I have to ask because I’ve been hearing far too many people making this mistake. Has North America rejected the social model of disability for some reason?
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