The affirmative delegates the condition of “disability” upon the population – this categorization precludes the ability for the individual to come into its own individual identity by vilifying and accommodating their existence
Overboe 1999 (James Overboe, PhD candidate at the University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada, “‘Difference in Itself’: Validating Disabled People’s Lived Experience,” Body and Society Vol. 5 No. 4http://a.parsons.edu/~nesrin/thesis/research/differenceinitself.pdf )
Fourth, according to Deleuze (1994), difference has been relegated to the separation of ‘this’ from ‘that’ according to the need to categorize. There is a distribution of difference that is entirely dependent on representation. For example, most disabled people would be primarily classified as disabled persons, which separates them from others with the exception of other disabled people. Although they would also be cross-referenced under the terms sex, race, age, education, employment and familial position the category of disability overshadows all other categories that are indexed. Yet sometimes disabled people do not fit neatly into these categories. For example, initially I was judged to be abnormal in comparison to the able-bodied population (Foucault, 1980). In some ways I could accept this designation because I was classified (albeit negatively) as having cerebral palsy which gave me a sense of ‘identity’ (albeit devalued) and ‘place’ (albeit marginal). However, an incident in my life began my questioning the classification of people. While undergoing a physical examination the head orthopaedic surgeon told the observing medical students that I failed to reach the recovery levels expected of cerebral palsy patients. I was shattered because not only was I not ‘normal’ but now I was also judged to be a ‘freak’ among people who experience cerebral palsy. In terms of cerebral palsy or able-bodied embodiment there was no prior template from which I came. It could be argued that I was born into a family that through genetics and socialization left me with some sort of ‘blueprint’ to follow. But, as I have argued, the representation of disability often negated my lived experience that includes my genetic background as well as my familial influence. Moreover, it is not a given that a family will provide a supportive environment for 26 n Body and Society Vol. 5 No. 4 disabled people as the Latimer case illustrates. The difference between my upbringing and that of Tracy Latimer stems from my family’s willingness to validate my lived experience. The classification of disability and, more specifically, cerebral palsy derived from the ‘desire’ of society to impose a category upon me. After I overcame the uncertainty and the fear of being ‘different for itself’ (to use Deleuze’s term) with no category with which to anchor my existence or no place to belong, I felt a sense of freedom because I was released from the restrictions of the ability/disability categories. It was only then that I was able to validate my experience of cerebral palsy (I realize that the term ‘cerebral palsy’ is a restrictive category itself, but presently I do not have a language that adequately describes my experience). But no matter how detrimental the devaluation of a disabled sensibility, the temptation to be safe and fall back on the familiar ability/disability continuum and its understandings is seductive. Thus for me there is an on-going struggle to escape these understandings that to some extent are embedded in my lived experience. I feel the risk in applying ‘difference in itself’ will be beneficial to myself and others in my interaction with them. Hopefully, both myself and others will be able to shed our preconceived notions about ableism. Perhaps Nietzsche was right. Speaking of the notion of ‘Eternal Recurrence’, Philip Kain (1996: 138–9) argues that the ‘new heaven’ is not an escape from the suffering of this world. You must see and interpret the world in a different way. Based on his own experience, Nietzsche believes that we need to embrace illness and have it no other way. Through illness Nietzsche hopes to create new meaning. While I do not necessarily associate disability with illness I realize that both physical manifestations are considered to be negations of able-bodiedness. Therefore, I feel that Kain’s (1996) interpretation of Nietzsche has pertinence for validating a disabled sensibility. No longer will we be considered the negation of a ‘quality’ life.No longer will we be considered heroic representations to be put on a pedestal.Nor will we be vilified or pitied as representations of what can go wrong with humanity’s fragile existence. Our experience of disability must be embraced in order for there to be the creation of a new meaning of life.
The affirmative is fixated on ending suffering – but in the process it negates the very things making life worth living. We must embrace the nature of existence as chaotic and painful in order to truly live.