The Charity Model is an offshoot of the Medical Model. It is based on the understanding that disability is something in the body that can and should be cured. It is complementary to, and in many ways the moralistic extension of, the Medical Model.
The Charity Model sees disabled people as victims who require the help of charities, families, and the government. This help takes the form of medical treatment, financial assistance, and public awareness campaigns.
The underlying assumption of the Charity Model is that disability is a problem to be solved. This is in contrast to the Social Model, which sees disability as a result of societal barriers.
There are several problems with the Charity Model. First, it reinforces the idea that disability is something to be pitied and avoided. Second, it relies on charitable organizations, which are often underfunded and unable to meet the needs of all disabled people. Third, it can create a sense of dependency among disabled people, who come to see themselves as helpless victims in need of constant assistance.
The Charity Model is well-intentioned, but it ultimately reinforces the idea that disability is a bad thing that needs to be fixed. This can lead to discrimination and negative attitudes towards disabled people. It also fails to address the root causes of disability, such as inaccessible environments and attitudinal barriers.
Non-disabled people develop the Charity Model, which is both an understanding of disability and the industry around it. The Medical Model views medical professionals as experts on disability whereas under the charity model, non-disabled individuals see themselves as superior to those with disabilities. Disability is not only seen as something that needs fixing but also a terrible event.
This is why the Charity Model is also sometimes known as the Tragedy Model. The Charity Model raises money for ’causes’ and ‘awareness’ through campaigns and fundraising events. These fundraisers often exploit disabled people’s bodies and experiences for profit. For example, ‘sponsored silences’ where non-disabled people give up speaking for a day to symbolise the struggles of living with a communication impairment.
Disabled people are often portrayed in a very negative light in order to generate sympathy and pity, which in turn encourages donations. This portrayal reinforces ableist ideas that disabled people are a burden on society, that they are less than human and that they need to be ‘saved’.
Non-disabled people are seen as the heroes in the Charity Model, as they are the ones who are helping ‘suffering’ disabled people. This creates a power dynamic where disabled people are seen as helpless and in need of constant support, while non-disabled people are seen as strong and capable.
The Charity Model is harmful to disabled people as it perpetuates ableism and reinforces negative stereotypes about disability. It also encourages non-disabled people to see themselves as better than disabled people, which can lead to discrimination and abuse.
The Charity Model is also emphasized by the constructs of the Eugenics Model, which established categories of fit and unfit to explain growing inequality in industrialised nations.
The Charity Model believes that those who have more should help those who don’t. While we no longer use the same definitions of ‘worthy’ and ‘unworthy’, the Model still places a moral responsibility on those would have previously been seen as ‘worthy’ to assist those considered ‘unfit’.
This can be seen in the way that disability is often framed as a “tragedy” or a “burden”. This reinforces the idea that disabled people are something to be pitied, rather than respected.
It also suggests that disabled people are a financial drain on society, when in reality we contribute billions of pounds to the economy every year.
The Charity Model is harmful because it:
– entrenches inequality by suggesting that some people are more deserving of help than others
– frames disability as a tragedy or burden, instead of something that should be celebrated
– erases the significant economic contributions made by disabled people.
We need to move away from the Charity Model and towards a model of disability that is based on respect, equality and inclusion.
We must recall what we learnt in the preceding section, which is that as income disparity increased in the newly industrialized, capitalist world, the eugenics model caught on. It was a theory for leaders to defend their money both ethically and scientifically while witnessing growing poverty, inequality, and social consequences.
The Charity Model of disability has a long history. It can be traced back to the Middle Ages, when people with disabilities were seen as cursed by God and in need of pity and charity. This attitudes persisted until the Enlightenment, when thinkers like Kant and Voltaire began to see people with disabilities as equal human beings deserving of respect.
Despite this progress, the Charity Model remained dominant throughout the 19th and early 20th centuries. It was only with the rise of the Eugenics Model that it began to lose ground.
The Charity Model is still evident today, albeit in more subtle forms. For example, it is common for people to refer to those with disabilities as “heroes” or “inspirational”. While there is nothing wrong with admiration, this language can perpetuate the idea that people with disabilities are somehow different or other.
It is also worth noting that the Charity Model has been co-opted by the disability rights movement in recent years. The notion of “disability pride” has emerged as a way of counteracting negative attitudes and promoting inclusion.
While the Charity Model has its flaws, it is important to remember that it is based on goodwill and compassion. Unlike the Eugenics Model, it does not seek to exclude or dehumanise those with disabilities.
At its best, the Charity Model can be a force for good in society. It can help to challenge stigma and promote social inclusion. However, it is important to be aware of its limitations and the potential for it to reinforce unequal power dynamics.
The structure of industrialised capitalism is inherently hierarchical, with the workforce at the bottom and a few persons at the apex. The capitalist belief is that when wealth and well-being increase, it benefits everybody in the triangle.
That is, while those at the top get richer, everyone else’s material condition improves as well. Inequality, on the other hand, is inherent because there must be more people at the base of the triangle than at the peak — otherwise known While this may appear to be an advantage for capitalists, it can become quite detrimental over time if left unchecked.
The Charity Model of disability perpetuates this inequality. It posits that people with disabilities are in need of charity, and that it is the duty of those who are not disabled to help them. This is done through pity and/or fear, as opposed to a genuine understanding or acknowledgement of the lived experiences of people with disabilities.
The Charity Model exists in contrast to the Social Model of disability, which recognises that it is society which disables people, not their individual impairments. The Social Model emphasises rights and inclusion, rather than charity and pity.
The Charity Model has a long history. In the 18th and 19th centuries, people with disabilities were considered to be a burden on society and were hidden away in institutions. They were seen as objects of pity, to be pitied and cared for, but not as full members of society.
The rise of the eugenics movement in the early 20th century only served to reinforce this view. Disabled people were considered to be unfit and undeserving of life, and were thus subjected to forced sterilisation and euthanasia.
It was not until the 1970s that disabled people began to organise and fight back against their oppression. The disability rights movement emerged, demanding equality and inclusion. In response, the Charity Model began to be challenged and slowly replaced by the Social Model.