The affirmative only exacerbates ableism – embracing disability is the only way to dissolve the affirmative’s life-negating dichotomies
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 )
The rhetoric of equality of rights is a cornerstone of identity politics movements with its liberal individualistic embodiment. By arguing that disabled people must demand equality of rights for themselves, supporters of ‘equality of rights’ deny the ‘lived experience’ of disabled people. For example, Bickenbach (1993: 163) argues that disabled people may have the ‘equal right’ to enter government offices, but if these offices are not accessible then many of us cannot exercise our ‘equal rights’. The obtaining of equal rights that maintains the systemic discrimination against disabled people does not resolve problems for us. It only exacerbates them. In respect of ‘identity in concept’ Deleuze (1994: 266) writes, ‘To restore difference in thought is to untie this first knot which consists of representing difference through the identity of the concept and the thinking subject.’ Applying Deleuze’s insights to disability I believe that by untying this knot that garrottes our lived experience and imposes an identity on us, we can begin to rid ourselves of the twin concepts of ableism and extreme liberal individualism that often lead others to see us as an abomination. Rather than an ‘equality of rights’ based on identity politics, I call for an ‘equality of condition’ that validates both a disabled embodiment and sensibility. Our physical, mental and emotional manifestations of disability as well as the social, political, moral and physical environment will continue to have an impact upon us. But shifting the notion of an identity which is devalued to a lived experience that is validated causes a change in approach. No longer would we be ‘done to’, and ‘done for’, or even ‘done with’ as so often ‘Difference in Itself’ n 23 within non-disabled and extreme liberal individualism parameters and with the restrictions of an ableist sensibility. The shedding of the illusion of identity allows for our ‘lived experience’ to come to the forefront. Thus our ‘lived experience’ would be an integral part of the atmosphere and tone for any change within our lives and our interaction with others, whether they be disabled or non-disabled.