The Simon Heng Column

There is a growing community of disabled bloggers around the world, who use the web to share and compare their experiences as people with disabilities, as well as their other interests in life.

There is a campaign to make 1 May 2006 Blogging Against Disablism Day: all bloggers, whether they are disabled or not, are encouraged to write about disablism, historical or current,
personal or global, to highlight the breadth of discrimination against disabled people. In the light of this, the Disability Rights Commission’s Are We Taking the Dis? and Scope’s Time To Get Equal campaigns – and the fact that I don’t have a blog – I thought I’d share these incidents of disablism that caught my eye this week.

After the final round of The Masters, Tiger Woods said he had putted like a “total spaz”. The Disability Rights Commission responded: “Tiger Woods is a role modelhis choice of words may compound prejudice that so many of his disabled fans facehe should distance himself from the nasty labels of the past.”

A senior member of the Eden Project, Sue Minter, resigned after saying that the scheme’s disabled workers were “placed behind the scenes”. She stated: “It is a very difficult and controversial area. We need to have some way of dealing with it.”

Disabled people in Norfolk are being offered free bus travel – but none of the buses are wheelchair-accessible. A bus company spokesperson said financial pressures meant buses would not be accessible until 2017. The Norfolk Coalition of Disabled People said the problem had been caused by the bus company’s failure to invest when anti-discrimination legislation was passed 11 years ago.

In Worcestershire, four teenagers were on trial accused of grievous bodily harm against a girl of 17 with learning difficulties. It was alleged that they stubbed out cigarettes on the girl’s face, stomach and genitals in four hours of torture. She also suffered a perforated eardrum, a broken nose and black eyes.

Need I say more?


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