As a disabled person who can “succeed” in an ableist world, I am offered a similar bargain. Ableist ideologies and power structures now hail me as “valuable,” and encourage me to separate myself from other disabled people. As I have learned to navigate my own disability, I sometimes “pass” as able-minded and able-bodied. When I do, I find similar acceptance. I’m able to access this privilege in part because my disabilities are invisible, but a wide variety of disabled people are offered the opportunity to be gatekeepers for other disabled people whose disabilities are perceived as “more severe” than our own.
In non-profit organizations and schools, disabled people with education and other privileges are recruited to work in programs designed to serve other disabled people, particularly those with intellectual disabilities. Too often those programs are designed to provide “care” rather than collective liberation. Neville’s story is an opportunity to examine those moments in our own lives – and these are moments many disabled people experience, whether we want to admit it or not.
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