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Can a sporting event change attitudes?

GeoarkGeoark Posts: 1,142Community champion Pioneering
Great Scope blog. https://blog.scope.org.uk/2017/08/25/can-a-sporting-event-change-the-world/

I thought at the time that the 'lasting legacy' would fail to materialise, in as far as the attitudes of the general public are concerned.

Annually there are any number of awards children who have shown bravery in adversity, some are aimed at children with disabilities, particular conditions or mixed with non disabled children. Yet the general attitude to young people stays the same. The problem is, as Scope identifies, is that these are identified as the 'exceptions' rather than the norm and raised on pedestals as heroes, separating them even more from their peers.

Without doubt the 2012 was an amazing Paralympic games, helped by being held in the UK. At best it inspired young disabled people to get involved in sport. To suggest though it would change the attitudes of the general public long term was always going to be a stretch.

One reason why I felt at the time, and continue to feel the expectation was unreal is because it was taken out of context of what else was going on in the UK at the time. Shortly after the celebrations died down UK Sports announced cuts in some paralympic sports, during the last year 7 sports found their funding had been removed or severely reduced. Winning Gold in Rio 2016 was not enough to save some.

But also this was the first term of LibCon government, and the assault on disabled benefits were starting to speed up. The language used regarding disabled people was derogatory and crime against disabled people was starting to rise. Disabled volunteering was described as an unacceptable lifestyle choice.

While the government claimed that the changes in welfare was to support those that need it most, the DWP had begun a campaign of reducing those on benefits through sanctions and, at the time hidden targets to reduce the number of successful complainants, using a corrupt assessment scheme. The fear of someone committing suicide should be offset by the benefits they would gain by being in employment, was the advise given to those dealing with Mandatory Reviews, a system to cut down the number of appeals and not to check the validity of the original decision.

Recently those in the ESA WRAG group had their benefits cut because the rate of those in it returning to work was a lot lower than JSA. Despite  being warned several time not to misrepresent national statistics continue to do so. 'I believe it is true and you cannot prove me wrong' - Ian Duncon Smith

I am not saying that the government is solely to blame for public attitude, but after a seven year sustained attack on the disabled and supported by much of the press it is hardly surprising that this has been the true legacy, against the two blips represented by the paralympics.

As an individual I stood alone.
As a member of a group I did things.
As part of a community I helped to create change!

Replies

  • [Deleted User][Deleted User] Posts: 689 Listener
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  • NystagmiteNystagmite Posts: 609Member Pioneering

    If people would get curious istead of fearful they'll come to realise there's no need to be scared and/or abusive. My best friend got curious about my differences so he learned about autism instead.

    This for me, is fine. I stayed with a relative and their children last year. They have a 5 year old who did ask me questions about my disabilities (I wear dark glasses) which is fine. The staring and whispering isn't.
  • MarkmywordsMarkmywords Posts: 398Member Pioneering
    I'm not really sure what point you are making @Geoark.

    Any claims made by politicians on any subject should be disregarded. Sports is no exception.

    People enter politics not to serve but to impose their will on others.

    Tories don't hate the disabled. They will prey on any soft target. The disabled are unlikely to be Tory voters, fight back against cuts or get much sympathy from the public.

    Tories believe the state should not be involved in anything. The Tory philosophy is like the Bond film, "Live and Let Die."

    Every other political party is just as flawed in their own way too.
  • GeoarkGeoark Posts: 1,142Community champion Pioneering
    Hi @Markmywords

    The blog and my post are titled the same, can a sporting event change attitudes?

    My point is when the government targets any group in the way the Tories have targeted disabled people events like the paralympics will not change attitudes long term.

    As I said I don't believe conservatives are solely to blame, but when they act as they have they help to reinforce prejudices and embolden people to act on those prejudices. Brexit was not about racism, but again the language and imagery used resulted in a rise in racist hate crime.

    As an individual I stood alone.
    As a member of a group I did things.
    As part of a community I helped to create change!

  • MarkmywordsMarkmywords Posts: 398Member Pioneering
    What you did was to answer your own question.

    It's naive to think a sporting event could change anything. The Paralympics is just entertainment in a good cause but it was also used as a PR opportunity by many people.

    I'd like to know what evidence you have that the government has directly caused an increase in race hate crime. The EU isn't a race nor is it a blameless victim.

    Terrorism has done the most to cause a fear and hatred of all things foreign and different. Second is a decade since 2008 where people are slowly realising that the best days are behind us and that the future does not have a place for everyone.

    The Tory government are not targeting the disabled as such, they are withdrawing support from everyone who they can safely discard.
    The young have also been discarded and misled by the false hope of opportunities from getting a degree.

    Hyperbole and polemic will not help the cause of the disabled or anyone else.
  • [Deleted User][Deleted User] Posts: 689 Listener
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  • NystagmiteNystagmite Posts: 609Member Pioneering
    I think attitudes have changed. But not for the better. People seem to think that because some disabled athletes can run or whatever, so should the rest of us. So, Usain Bolt runs 100m in under 10 seconds; so why can't the rest of the population...
  • [Deleted User][Deleted User] Posts: 689 Listener
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  • GeoarkGeoark Posts: 1,142Community champion Pioneering
    The blog linked to in my original post is titled 'Can sporting events change attitudes to disability?'

    So what I did was answer the question raised by the author of the Scope blog.

    My point is when the government targets any group in the way the Tories have targeted disabled people events like the paralympics will not change attitudes long term.

    As I said I don't believe conservatives are solely to blame, but when they act as they have they help to reinforce prejudices and embolden people to act on those prejudices.

    The reference to Brexit was to demonstrate that the use of language and imagery can feed into people's fears and prejudices to embolden them to commit hate crime. Also the Conservatives were not the party involved, and were not the worse for such language.

    With regard to terrorism, this has been a regular part of UK life since 1971, with a few before then. Despite what the press and tv like to say I feel a lot safer with the current lot of terrorists than I did with the IRA, including their predecessors and successors.

    As for people coming into the UK, the vast majority of us are of mixed foreign heritage.

    While what you say about disabled people are not the only ones being targeted by the conservative government, who as you say are withdrawing support to groups they feel they can safely discard, disabled people are not just affected by the cuts in benefits aimed solely at disabled people but are also impacted by other reductions.

    Unlike other groups they are not subjected to 'independent' assessments, with reports that have been shown to be deliberately fabricated, backed up by a mandatory review with just under 80% target to rubber stamp the original decision to lower the numbers going to appeal. Then being told by ministers the government was right because the number of appeals have fallen significantly.

    Of course if you do not accept what a government says or does has any affect in how people behave then I understand your viewpoint.

    As an individual I stood alone.
    As a member of a group I did things.
    As part of a community I helped to create change!

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