Sunday, 15 May 2011

"Hostility to Disabled people from strangers" - survey quoted in Guardian

Had just found this in the Guardian about a survey finding disabled people facing increasing hostility from strangers, which has grown worse over last 12 months since controversial benefits reforms were launched.

"Victims blame ministers for portraying all people with disabilities as scroungers" is quoted, and I think much of the media are equally guilty. I believed the redefinition of the tests for disability benefits to assess what people CAN do, is a positive thing in principle, but was made negative by the way the politicians however presented the changes "as a way of getting tough on people who are cheating the system" and it is this punitive talk which exacerbates the kind of prejudice being talked about. As a person "mostly able while having a disability" I want to be seen for what I CAN do, showing how the reforms should have instead been presented with the backdrop of how many disabled people would like to work and be seen for what they can do. The survey quoted incidents such as "being abused in the streets, erroneously reported to the benefits fraud hotline and accosted when trying to use disabled parking spaces".

The best point made in the last paragraph, as picked up by Scope's chief executive, was the irony that "this backdrop of negativity will only make it harder for the million disabled people who will be migrated off benefits to get a job because the decline in tolerance for disabled people would see fewer being offered taking up jobs." I've posted many times about the need for re-education of employers, this touches on re-education of much of the general public being prejudiced by the tough talking politicians and media, as within that public are employers. They have to be the ones willing to offer jobs to people with disabilities that are potentially able to work.

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