Part of a Whole

My name is Nicolas Steenhout.
I speak, train, and consult about inclusion, accessibility and disability.

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Stop Empowering Me!

I like the idea of empowerment. But I cringe everytime I hear someone say "We are empowering people with disabilities". Empowerment must come from within. Nobody can empower someone else.

You may provide the tools, or the environment where someone will empower themselves. But you cannot empower them. The very notion of empowering someone else seems to me to be disempowering. To give power to someone else, you have to be in a position of power to begin with. Empowerment isn’t about power given, but about power taken.

When you tell me that you will empower me, you are in fact perpetuating the oppresion – even if you don’t mean to!