The Apostles of Abnormality

If there was one word I would get rid of forever – it would be that word ‘normal’ – Glasgow dad – parent of disabled child

Why do some people just love others not to be ‘normal’ – to be broken, bad, mad, wrong?

Profound malfunctions, subversive behaviour, the pathological can so easily be located in others who are different. Differences emerging from disability, culture, gender, sexuality, behaviour and reputation.

These apostles of abnormality, these ways of approaching others in thoughts and actions are close bed fellows with the forces of segregation and exclusion. Some of us are paid to be such apostles, others are just drawn to such ways through life experiences.

Who belongs with us? Surely not them? There must be a better more special or secure place for them to go and be incarcerated, treated, fixed or cured? Many people of all ages are ‘othered.’

Is the world a little simpler , more secure and safer when we find something wrong with someone else, or groups of others? There are always words to describe them – some technical – found in professional surroundings, some crude and basic reflected in curses, street and playground language. Do we just feel better about ourselves when we talk of another person or group’s deficits or brokenness?

Apostles of abnormality spread the word, making the world more divisive, nurturing hate and creating walls and other less obvious but just as formidable barriers.

What do we do, those of us who wish for the very opposite? We who long for acceptance, inclusion and diversity?

Perhaps we begin by recognising in ourselves these lurking thoughts and voices as much as in others?

Perhaps clearly recognising these forces as part of what it is to be human and part of our collective striving for mature civilisation helps us understand?

Or do we need to continually interrupt these forces, disrupt them, reframe them and even do battle with them?

Perhaps gather some people and let us in the room to explore the ‘Keys to Inclusion’ … just a thought.

What we cannot do is ignore these dark apostles and hope they will quietly disappear…


Colin Newton

Inclusive Solutions

January 2019





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