Inclusion will happen as long as we can break the presupposition and the shame!


If we reduce the stigma, will it favor inclusion? How can we make inclusion happen? These are the two questions I answered the most in recent years in my lectures, in Brazil and in many other countries of the world. I decided to write something about it many times. Maybe this reflection can complicate even more the situation, but the complexity is not in the reflection itself but it is in the issue of inclusion which is certainly prickly.

If we reduce the stigma, will it favor inclusion?

Yes! if we reduce the stigma, we will favor inclusion. But actually, it wouldn't be attacking the stigma directly. We must attack what builds the stigma, it is, presupposition and shame. Presupposition and shame are powerful tools of social control. We live in a society in which the power relation is installed and as a consequence of it tendency to control is huge and it is almost a rule. In this power relation people "need" to control other people to just keep the power and for that they use tools to control - presupposition (early thinking) and shame.

This question: If we reduce the stigma, will we favor the inclusion? Has the same essence of the question I answered all over the world: How can we make inclusion happen? I always answer: inclusion will happen as long as we can break the presupposition and the shame.

For me, presupposition, after being applied to the identity of a person for a long time, then solidifies what we call stigma, a mark. Here there is an example of how presupposition can affect identity: people in general when they see a blind person in the street, they think: - A blind person! What a pity, he/she can't see! In general, when people see a person in a wheelchair in the street they think: - Poor person! He/she can't walk! And, in general, it happens to all people with disabilities. So, always "poor" person. And then years pass. Our identity is always full of "poor". And after many years, what have we got? So, we have another poor blind person, another poor wheelchair user, another poor person with disabilities. I will be a poor person because everybody sees me like this! The end. Presupposition won. The control tool has made it. Power - cautious - killed any possibility of this person be someone who could "disturb".

I follow this reflection to say: There are a billiuon persons with disabilities in the world, we are the largest minority in the world, but few of these people have sovereignity. The overwhelming majority live their identity with presupposition, without any kind of power in this relations, it is, they live being controlled.

And what about shame?

For me, shame is the mnost terrible control tool. Terrible because it acts in social and human ignorance in confusing "guilt and shame". And where is the confusion? In general, people fell ashamed without being guilty. They are not guilty, but they fell ashamed and here it is the power-control of the shame tool.

In my lectures I always ask people the following questions:

- Do you feel ashamed?

And people usually answer:

- Yes, I do.

And then I ask:

- What are you ashamed of?

People, after looking at both sides and get red, usually answer:

- Of many things, but to tell you the truth, I don't really know of what.

As we can see, people are not sure of their faults. Shame, as a control tool, acts here. For me it is clear and proved that after living many cultures and behaviours people with disabilities who can develop more are those who know ver well "gulty" and "not guilty".They only feel ashamed if they are guilty. If they are not guilty, they do noit feel ashmed.

Presupposition and shame in the stream of interest

Presupposition adn shame as long as they subordinate people with disabilities, also give them power. It is what we call the stream of interest. Most of the times, power chooses specific and subordinated people with disabilites to get some work positions, status and prestige, but this choice serves exactly to keep the control. Everybody knows that today this is very common. Many of our "leaders" are like this. Power gives "power" for those who are not going to be agents, those who are not going to "hurt" the power relations, it is the ones who are not going to "break" the stream of interest.

The things I have just talked about are really prickly. And it is exactly this topic I talk about in my lectures. This is such a prickly topic that i do not know another person to talk about it in the world besides me. Discussing this issue - presupposition-shame-power-subordination - is really hit directly the "wound" of social and human essence. The person who dares talking about this topic, must be aware that will be hitting the "normality", the "power"

Alex Garcia
Deafblind Brazilian
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