Wendy Chisholm

Stairs make the building inaccessible, not the wheelchair. Co-author of Universal Design for Web Applications. Strategist for Microsoft. @wendyabc at twitter.

Archive for the ‘culture’ tag

Art and language

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From the L.A. Times: A new film about a troupe of disabled performers delivers a message of empowerment.

Coming soon to a theater near you, “My Dream” about a troupe of Chinese performers with disabilities. As I read the first paragraphs of the story, I assumed it was like many others that I’ve read; that the director, Liu Xiao Cheng, was using disadvantaged people for his personal gain. But, as I read further, I think he may genuinely want to change how the non-disabled view people with disabilities.

“It wasn’t enough for this troupe to arouse people’s mercies,” he said. “We wanted their respect.”

As I reread the article, it is the columnist’s use of language that triggers feelings of bias, “blind dancers,” “deaf dancers,” “blind singers.” By saying, “blind dancer” you are making the disability primary rather than the person – you see the disability before the person creating a box around them. By removing “hearing-impaired” from the host in the following paragraph, the theme can sing:

At each performance, a host uses sign language to express the troupe’s theme — that it does not take sight or hearing or full physical faculties to produce gorgeous art.

Beautiful.

Written by wendy

November 27th, 2007 at 6:24 pm

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