Breaking Limitations | Wai Hung Ma

Breaking Limitations on DEI – Part 3

I try very hard to understand the various DEI logics[i].  Three- and four-year old children play with the toy, of putting different-shaped objects in a ball where the ball has corresponding different-shaped holes where the child puts the right shapes into the right holes; this is a lesson about belonging and the child cannot force things that don’t fit.  It seems to me that DEI wants us to fill in all the boxes with people who do not fit the boxes.  The brand for my company is breaking limitations but I know when I push too hard things break. Even a four-year-old knows when he or she keeps blowing the balloon, the balloon will pop.  Similarly, when you make something from clay and the clay does not stick together, what you are trying to make will fall apart.  The same concept will happen when DEI tries putting people into a box which they do not belong to; the people themselves will suffer in the end.  People should stay with their skills instead of walking away from them.  Stay with what people are good at.  That is what I have done all my life.  I never allowed victim thinking to stop me from reaching my dream.

When people think and believe they are oppressed, they won’t achieve their dreams; but with hard work and logic, within a supportive and enlightened environment, they will.

My lived reality is evolving along with Canadian sensibilities.  I was born Chinese and have physical disabilities, manifested as being unable to walk, the use of only one arm, and a speech impairment.   Historically, the development of industrial capitalism and a standardization of labour, as well as, and the rise of charitable benevolence, excluded disabled people from paid employment.[ii]   While these societal forces are still in existence, they are partially offset by a growing awareness of the benefits of DEI.  I consider disability to be a social phenomenon: the problems are not in the bodies or minds of people but in the stigmas and barriers erected by society.[iii]  As a person with a disability, I want to be able to work, own a home, and have unfettered access to mass transportation.  Furthermore, as I am writing this article, I am thankful to my mentor and philosophy instructor Doctor Jenna Woodrow for challenging my ideas and helping me to grow.

Wai Hung Ma

[i] People usually act rationally when accounting for their worldview.  It is common to see the DEI logic of one person differing from the DEI of another.  If my DEI logic differs from yours, please do not take offence.  Let’s use it as an excuse to compare notes, rather than to disagree. 

[ii] From the essay, Resisting the Criminalization of Disability: Cripping Disability Injustice toward Accessible Decarceral Futures, by Kelly Fritsch, Jeffrey Monaghan, and Emily van der Meulen

[iii] Ashley Shew (2023).  Against technoableism: Rethinking who needs improvement.  W.W. Norton & Company: New York

REFERENCE LIST FOR SERIES

[1] At one time, curb cuts (or kerb ramps, forming a solid ramp graded down from the top surface of a sidewalk to the surface of an adjoining street) were considered controversial.  With conventional design, which designs for the majority, the majority benefits.  With universal design, which designs for marginalized populations, everybody benefits. 

[1] Greg Lukianoff and Jonathan Haidt (2018). The coddling of the American mind: How good intentions and bad ideas are setting up a generation for failure. Penguin Books.

[1] People usually act rationally when accounting for their worldview.  It is common to see the DEI logic of one person differing from the DEI of another.  If my DEI logic differs from yours, please do not take offence.  Let’s use it as an excuse to compare notes, rather than to disagree. 

[1] From the essay, Resisting the Criminalization of Disability: Cripping Disability Injustice toward Accessible Decarceral Futures, by Kelly Fritsch, Jeffrey Monaghan, and Emily van der Meulen [1] Ashley Shew (2023).  Against technoableism: Rethinking who needs improvement.  W.W. Norton & Company: New York

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