BLIND SPOT: The Balance between Inclusion and Empowerment

Big blind boy and small blind boy have been included in a choir of regular pupils (meaning without disability). Small boy has a big problem. Father yelled at him last night. He said he has no money for the expensive contribution for the costume. He says money is needed for house repairs. He is irate. He suggests backing out from the singing group. Small boy says he turned around and went straight to his room. (Teenage behavior for a ten year old) Small boy resolves to withdraw from the group and the competition. On one hand, it makes sense. He’s just exercising simple obedience to parents – pretty rational. Big boy is enthusiastic for afternoon rehearsals. He does not have cash for costume. Auntie says they could barely manage to provide for daily transport fare. How much more for a more than a thousand worth piece of clothing which wouldn’t be used for casual wear? Despite this, big boy says that he will still join; won’t back out. He seems unfazed of the financial challenge. Is this childish ignorance or manly resolve? I would like to believe that it’s optimistic faith. Small boy is stressed out with situations at home. He starts to blame his father for the little chaos he is in. They start talking to each other of the little solutions that they can think of. Is this not inclusion? (A group of regular pupils with special pupils – reminiscent of breakthroughs in the civil rights movement, of emancipation from slavery, of suffrage for women, of equal employment opportunity) Is this not what is advocated for? Is this not what leaders envision? Is this not what they dream of? Then why is it giving Marvin and Manuel a hard time?

December 3 was International Day for Persons with Disability. This year’s theme is “Empowering persons with disabilities and ensuring inclusiveness and equality”. Oh man, all of a sudden I get nauseous. How long have we been pushing for inclusion and equality? It feels like a hurdle we can’t jump over; a hill we can’t seem to cross over. It’s been so long a struggle; and we’re still fighting for it; that I start to wonder, hey man, what’s wrong? Maybe the phrase says it. Maybe we’ve been wanting to jump on inclusion without the empowerment.

Weeks ago, Big Boy was set to go to a big city, included on a small theatrical group. They made it to regional level because naturally, they bested all other competitors on the division level. But Big Boy has to pay for transport fare. The kid has to eat too. We went to Headmaster for some pocket money. He tells us that Big Boy isn’t representing the school anymore. It’s not his accountability anymore; with both hands lifted up high; and months ago, we were pushed towards this cliff. Maybe that’s the reason why we’re still pushing for it; despite the fact that we’ve been pushing for it for so long. The aspiration for inclusion lacks authorization. The intent for attachment lacks empowerment. There so much, so high expectation for inclusion; yet critical stakeholders run short of obligation. On one hand, there has been significant effort; but push on , man; because we’re still short of passing through that line. Sadly, the necessary empowerment that lags are those from very important patrons – kinfolk, academic administrators. Maybe they feel they’ve done enough and a trudge further forward would be extravagant, or should be someone else’s part. But ironically, they unknowingly slip the participants almost out of inclusion which we push for.

Maybe that’s the same case in other social ills. The state has long pushed for citizens to be in inclusion from poverty. Yet they are not empowered by reforms of levies. They miss the empowerment in the mismanagement of economic policies. Or maybe it is these same strugglers who refuse or throw off the empowerment all around them. The state has adamantly advocated for the citizens’ inclusion in freedom from substance abuse; yet the users have lacked the empowerment of an alternative means to satisfy the resulting deprivation. Reformers who would want to reach that inclusion could lack the empowerment of a true social understanding of the matter at hand. Perhaps they miss the empowerment of the cooperation of all sectors of the government and society to push for their inclusion. The state desperately longs for inclusion in that stage of territorial sovereignty; yet the islands are left barren from empowerment from defense. Heck, they miss even the empowerment of an actual stronghold to speak of; or is it the state has lacked the empowerment to stand its ground?

“But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness…”

2 Corinthians 12:9