As you grow to understand things you acknowledge that you are aware of what is happening around you then boom something happens and you are like damn! I wasn’t really aware of that. Recently I was part of a colloquium…not a very easy word to say…the difficulties I had saying it…My WORD!.
I was part of the Dance, Disability and Diversity colloquium held at Playhouse by Lliane Loots and Flatfoot Dance Company with many guest speakers. I love workshops or any gathering were people will learn from each other…this one was no different. I was able to open my eyes to something I perhaps wasn’t completely blind bout…but it was not like I made any difference either. The Colloquium was two days…and there went as follows….summary.
Perhaps in the experience of the first day one thing that struck me the most was a comment made by one of the guest. Who said ‘We live in a world with disabled people, kids who walk in crutches and people with prosthetics but somehow there are hidden from us like they don’t exist…
Then it hit me how true that is…I began to realize it is hardly that I see or worse communicate with those with disabilities. The most disability I face is when a friend/student hurt themselves and they have to put on band aid…or walk in crutches.
I was hurt by my actions…hurt that I didn’t recognise my prejudice if I may say…it is not that I go my way to discriminate those with disabilities but subconsciously it seems like I do. This is something I need to fix…with the introduction of this colloquium by Lliane I hope I can take further means myself as artist to integrate my work with those who are disabled….what about you? Do you subconsciously discriminate? Be aware of it…stop living in a bubble.
“They are not broken”
Perhaps the mistake one would make is thinking that disabled people need to be fixed…on this day perhaps what I took was the idea that I can be taught too. That I can learn something from a disabled individual. Years back at home I learnt alphabets in sign language because I wanted to speak to my cousin…sadly I wasn’t able to get to the level of speaking…however the alphabets stayed with me. On the gathering we get taught the alphabets and asked to use them as a dance technique….Unmute Dance Company uses this technique developed by Andile V. these guys are doing beautiful work, absolutely breath taking. I say this because I was able to see their work Yaseen…love that dude.
I never thought I would have use for Sign language alphabets… and it got me thinking how hard it is to learn a language and sign is a language and the intellectual process that goes into learning. Give credit to were credit is due. In some way we are all disabled next to someone, especially when it comes to language. Not understanding what someone standing next to you is saying is a disability…and if perhaps we can look at it that way then you can understand how the person in a wheelchair or crutch feels.
It won’t take a day, week or month for me to begin start including myself in this world of the disabled. it will be a process but now I am more aware of it and that’s a start. I can’t say from now on I will be helping disabled individuals but I can say I understand the situation and I am not blinding in seeing what I can do to contribute.
What conversations are you having that are enabling your mind? Speak to me and I’ll listen..