Braking with the presupposition and shame - Alex Garcia's lesson


Author: Cleuza M. M. C. Alonso 1

On 25th, August, 2014, at ULBRA Campus in the city of Santa Maria, the lecture "Person with disability: power, subalternity and full identity", was given by Alex Garcia, who is a deafblind person and a person with rare disease, at the opening session of the I ULBRA week for persons with disabilities. Alex Garcia also talked in the Master class of present and online courses, referring to the second semester of 2014. It was a remarkable event and that touched all the listeners, enchanted by Alex's impressive view of the world, "see" without the eyes, hear without the ears, but feeling the space and people's presence through their sensitivity and communication by touching.

His words have a strong social-political nature, shown through a critical perspective, in order to wake up people with disability in a way that they don't become "the poor ones" but rather make them show their abilities to the society which excludes them, despite the strong claims to inclusion issues and to the laws of accessibility. His lecture was not based on "self-help" slogans, but on a clamor to those people with disabilities to demonstrate what they and what they want to be and do, without expecting that other people feel sorry for them or help them because they are "poor ones".

Permeated by the term "presupposition", strong word mentioned many times during Alex's lecture and assuming that people look at the different one with prejudice and with precipitate and negative judgments, judging without knowing and that, for example, when people see a wheelchair user, they think: "oh, poor person, he/she can't walk"" and when they see a blind person they also think "Oh, poor person, he/she can't see". This, Alex's "breaking the presupposition and shame, came to show this experience of Will Power and determination in life.

"Presupposition" or anticipated concept, consists in a controlling tool of the society which affects all people in society, because they only judge the difficulties of people with disabilities instead of supporting and motivating them in their potencials. After presupposition comes shame that is felt by people with disabilities because they are not like the majority of people, making them fall in a terrible social trap which serves as a powerful tool of the society to control people. Within the theories about disabilities, it a social concept, because all psychological and physical peculiarities of people with disabilities have a biological nucleus not a social one. By definition, all human beings have some kind of disabilities, however, society assumes differences between those which are shared by everybody and the individual and specific differences, creating the need of treating people with disabilities as different ones and, in a humanitarian gesture, it proposes, the inclusion of those people in a place in society, a place which is theirs by rights. Inclusion is mentioned and discussed because exclusion is admitted.

Social exclusion, in this sense, is trivialized and it doesn't amaze or outrage people anymore, because both excluded and included people are getting used to this situation. Inclusion of people with disabilities has always been in the contemporary educational debate agenda, because they aim the access of those people to cultural property as a right to citzenship, which can respect their needs of physical and cognitive accessibility, not only with the elimination of architectural and technological, but also giving the opportunity to the search of solutions, of assistive technologies that can permit different paths of learning to their social and political autonomy, i.e., the need of creation of opportunities for people with disabilities so they can show how much they are efficient and inefficient.

The rescue of dignity of persons with disabilities means the persuit of the comprehension of their education in multicultural levels and democratic culture, through their insertion in a society free of prejudice and which can the differences with complementarity among people because when cultural differences in their plurality can be recognized it will be possible to build a new ethic.

1 Professor Doctor Cleuza Maria Maximino Carvalho Alonso, Coordinator of Education of the Lutheran University of Brazil, ULBRA/Santa Maria, RS.

Photos here: www.agapasm.com.br/fotos54.asp

All the best!

Alex Garcia - Defblind Brazilian