The Equality Act’s aim is to protect individuals who fall into the following categories: age, disability, gender reassignment, race, religion or belief, sexual orientation, marriage and civil partnership and pregnancy and maternity.
I’ve often joked that because I fall into two of the above categories, life should be a breeze. Positive discrimination ought to work in my favour because not only am I black but I’m also disabled. However, this could not be further from the truth. Wouldn’t it be so democratic to say that in 2017, it doesn’t matter whether or not you are a protected individual because that is not how you will be judged? Instead you will be judged on your character, level of perseverance and the contribution you make to society. Unfortunately, we still have a long way to go and I doubt if we will ever get to that stage.
As a black and disabled individual, I have had to fight incredibly hard to be where I am today with plenty of setbacks and disappointments along the way. The thing is as a black person the level of expectation is not necessarily overwhelmingly positive, and then by throwing disability into the mix the level of expectation drops even further. So as a result, I end up being someone I’m not in order to fit into the crowd. I’ll laugh at jokes that aren’t funny, I’ll send someone else in my place who is considered “socially acceptable” in order to win a new client contract and I’ll push myself, sometimes to the point of poor health, just to prove my peers wrong.
Often, that’s my striving thought and purpose – I actually get a sense of pride when it comes to going beyond someone’s expectation of me. Whether or not that’s the correct motivation is for another blog entry. All I can say is this, being both black and disabled creates social disadvantages, some may be obvious yet others are hidden and dangerously subtle. In all of the barriers I’ve faced, I’ve learned that the only way to combat them is to be prepared to fight, push and persevere because if I stay still absolutely nothing will happen for me, which is far scarier.
So the idiots who think I haven’t got enough problems already by staring, secretly nudging each other or just being stupidly annoying by coughing. Give me a break!
My How F**CKED You Are Formula:
Black = F**CKED
Disabled = F**CKED
Black + Disabled = Doubly F**CKED
Black + Disabled + Woman = Royally F**CKED
Black + Disabled + Woman + Muslim = Beyond F**CKED
Black + Disabled + Woman + Muslim + Gay = I have no words to describe how F**CKED you are!