This approach to disability looks at disability entirely as a social construct and does not separate impairment from disability like the social model.
Radical disability activists acknowledge that we do not control the definition of disability – that it is defined by those with power to their benefit.
Women, queer people, trans people, racialized people, poor people and other marginalized people were all considered disabled at one point in history, largely under the umbrella of feeble-minded and/or degenerate.
Radical disability activists are very critical of certain groups’ attempts to get more privilege by defining themselves as other than disabled. Members of the Deaf and psychiatrized communities have attempted to distance themselves from other disabled people by saying essentially “there is nothing wrong with us. We are a linguistic minority or we think and experience the world differently but we are not disabled. There is nothing wrong with us.”
The radical disability model says there is nothing wrong with any of us.
We argue that disability is simply defined as those who are externally identified as disabled and those who self-identify as disabled.
To us, disability is not a point of individual or social tragedy but a natural and necessary part of human diversity. The tragedy of disability is not our minds and bodies but oppression, exclusion and marginalization.
We do not need to be cured. We do not need charity. We need respect, equality and access.
In-text links in this post: