WHY BEND BACKWARDS TO FIT IN WHEN YOU CAN BE FABULOUSLY UNFIT
I never was, and never will be a ‘good fit’ or ‘standard’ for any box. But I don’t live remotely in the mountains either (also as I am a clumsy cow and do not climb/balance well – I will fall off and bruise badly then die slowly soon as I get up, if I did at all). I do like Lao Zi’s model of ‘gentle anarchism‘. The advice of ‘just be yourself’ doesn’t work when ‘being yourself’ is always too much, or not enough, compared to the ‘normative’ or ‘typical’. So you join many others to knock the existing barriers, mock the gatekeepers, and get other ‘non-traditional’ body-minds like yours through when you are in. I was invited by Donald Lush, Careers Consultant at King’s College London, to discuss academic job applications with a focus on equality (or lack thereof!), on 7th May 2021. The session was chaired by Donald, and attended by students of the Faculty of Arts and Humanities. Watch video clip here.
WHEN THE ‘STANDARD’ IS SUB-STANDARD, WALK OUT
I now dispense careers advice (solicited/unsolicited! sorry) to emerging colleagues and peers, but there have been few career advisors like Donald (the other was Dr Jana Dankovicova at UCL) who were outstanding, because they genuinely listened, did not give generic advice like others (Darling, no amount of ‘confidence’, ‘resilience’ or ‘power poses’ will break structural deep seated inequalities that prevent those like me to enter the elite spaces of higher education, art and culture, please do your homework) and who believed and believed in you. This was critical, especially when I was a Visiting Fellow and King’s Artist at King’s (2017-2019). I resigned from a permanent position from a UK university in Leeds due to three years of concerted, orchestrated racism, ableism and sexism led by white disabled feminist gatekeepers. Their loss.
RACISM & WHITE SUPREMACY WITHIN ND AND DISABILITY: FURTHER READING
See this short clip by Imari Barbarin, which powerfully unpacks this phenomena; see also Russell 2020 on the politics of the neurodiversity movement, Mistry 2019 on disability art movement’s racism, and Obasi 2022‘s ground-clearing piece that uncovers how white feminism has oppressed black women which bear many parallels.
Above: Composite image from two screenshots from video clip, of Kai and Donald.