As most of you reading this post, I enjoy educating myself on topics I’m passionate about whether it is through conversations, movies, involvement, or books. A month ago, I was scrolling through LinkedIn and Instagram, and I came across multiple posts promoting Alice Wong’s recently published book called Disability Visibility. After reading the suggestions and the synopsis of the book, I immediately purchased it and began reading it because I wanted to broaden my perspective on disability rights and issues.
The day I started reading the book, I finished approximately half of it. I couldn’t stop. What made me stick to it and read it non-stop were the first-hand stories and experiences that were narrated in the book. Disability Visibility shares first-person stories from the twenty-first century which don’t only open the readers’ eyes to the different challenges disabled people go through but also sheds light on many positive aspects of disabled people’s lives that many times we’re not exposed to. This book not only strengthened and questioned many of my beliefs and thoughts but also helped me understand that when it comes to disability and disability rights, we never stop learning. Disabilities and the lack of inclusion are two topics that can vary widely based on each person’s story. It’s not only about trying to make a change and fixing what society has been doing wrong, but also about focusing on listening to people and understanding their situation. Not to feel sorry for them but to give them opportunities in our society and to encourage them to also make a change and difference in any way. At the end of the day, we are all humans and we are all people. And our situations can change at any given time. For this reason, for this post I wanted to take the opportunity to share a few of my favorite quotes, lessons, and challenges that this book taught me. After reading this book, I strengthened my desire to emphasize conversations about disability rights and disability inclusion, as well as my desire to encourage those around me to educate themselves. It is essential that we continue to speak to disabled and non-disabled individuals about these topics and continue to educate ourselves to make the change we want to see. And most importantly, we need to be optimistic and look ahead because if this book taught me something, is that perseverance, positivity, and strength can take you a long way.
I hope that this list encourages you to read Disability Visibility, support disabled writers and creators, and pushes you to continue educating yourself and joining the revolution towards a more inclusive and accepting world.
People need to have high expectations for people with disabilities because then they’ll give them opportunities to learn and grow (Wong, 197).
“Clothing is your second skin; it changes the way you hold yourself. I consider it armor because it has the power to give you the confidence and strength to feel comfortable in your first skin” (Wong, 212).
Stories are powerful and they mean a lot to us. It is essential to portray disabled individuals in digital and print media, not only for adults but also for children. This can have a positive impact on their childhood and can lead to more confident and positive adulthood.
“Storytelling can become a movement for social change […] and can spark conversations and action” (Wong, 22).
“We need to hold ourselves accountable. We need to have conversations about inclusion and diversity but back them with actions, policies, and practices” (Wong, 29).
“There is a persistent belief amongst abled people that a cure is what disabled people should want. To abandon their disabled selves and bodies and assimilate into an unachievable abled skin” (Wong, 179).
“The public and physicians tend to underestimate the quality of life of disabled people. And there isn’t a negative relationship between disability and happiness” (Wong, 71).
“Disability is mutable and ever-evolving. Disability is both apparent and non-apparent. Disability is pain, struggle, brilliance, abundance, and joy. Disability is sociopolitical, cultural, and biological” (Wong, 30).
“The lack of inclusion applies to the prison system as well. They don’t always have American Sign Language interpreters. Sometimes they house multiple disabled individuals and make communication impossible” (Wong, 149)
I want to take the opportunity to thank Alice Wong for publishing Disability Visibility and challenging my view and perspective on disability rights and issues. Moreover, I want to congratulate the writers that shared their stories throughout the book.
Quotes obtained from: Wong, A. (2020). Disability visibility. New York: Vintage Books.