It’s axiomatic that the disabled are not recognized when people talk of diversity and inclusion even on progressive college campuses. The disabled are just a medical problem. They failed to get cured. This assumes disabling conditions don’t affect every group. Disability is thought of as a medical abstraction and not as a human rights and cultural issue. This extends ableism and promotes injustice.
The materiality of the disabled body is its universality since all bodies are subject to liberal narratives of value or the lack thereof. The connections between animal studies and disability studies highlight the taxonomic reductions of living creatures and the perils they highlight. Do all living creatures matter? Or do only some matter more?
Lennard Davis writes:
“Because disability is tied to this medical paradigm, it is seen as a form of the abnormal, or what I might call the “undiverse.” I say undiverse because diversity implies celebration and choice. To be disabled, you don’t get to choose.15 You have to be diagnosed, and in many cases you will have an ongoing and very defining relationship with the medical profession. In such a context, disability will not be seen as a lifestyle or an identity, but as a fixed category.”
Excerpt From: Lennard Davis. “The End of Normal.” Apple Books. https://books.apple.com/us/book/the-end-of-normal/id1230144861
A fixed category like something out of Linnaeus. A fixed category like a pinned insect.
I can choose to be disabled through acknowledgment or embrace; I can celebrate the shit out of it; but I can’t get others to believe I’m not living in a sub-par category.
In the public square or agora where diversity and inclusion are discussed the abnormal body is still considered something for the laboratory or clinic.