Aristotle stated that humans are “zoon politikon” – political animals. What differs us from other animals is our reason and speech. (Perhaps I would rather say our way of communicating; which of course is much more complex than whether you have speech or not.)
Yesterday on Crip Camp the author and blogger Imami Barbarin stressed that disability – no matter how you look at it – always is political. Of course it is all because of one thing and one thing only, namely the lack of representation. The fact that we rarely are seen or heard does not only make us invisible, but also turns us into a political act as soon as we actually do appear. I have talked about this before. For instance in the post on June 9th where the topic was the body and how you neither wish to be judged nor consider being inspirational. With that in mind it is rather obvious that the individual Disabled is synonymous with politics.
Barbarin said that we should all try to be that crip who we ourselves would have wanted to experience as a kid. But… if you did not like Disabled with a capitalized D, what then? If you did not think Aristotle’s notion of political animals being all that fun? Would I have followed people with disabilities if they would have existed online – if they were a part of my forums and spheres, obviously – or would, in my eyes, the capitalized D have ruined the individual? That is – is it possible to be political without for that sake being Political? To be even more clear: can society create representation without ever saying that is what is being done?
Aristotle meant that the people who put themselves outside of our society are no longer humans on the same stipulations. They end up in a different position hierarchy-wise; “above” or “below” completely depends on the individual. People with disabilities who hence do not agree to be Disabled… where do they end up? And someone Disabled… are they a zoon politikon 2.0?