Awareness is useless

“We need to raise awareness!!!” scream the campaigners, before going off to create a campaign that excludes the very people that they’re raising awareness about. For an example, have a look at endsteptember.

What does all this raising awareness actually accomplish?? What is gained by raising awareness?? Absolutely nothing is what is accomplished.

By this time, I am pretty sure that most people are aware that not all people possess the same toolkit of abilities. If you’re not aware of that by now, then it’s time to get out from under your rock because people who have different abilities exist everywhere, and not being aware of how to accommodate those different abilities is the thing that disables people. But, awareness campaigns don’t ever focus on how to accommodate different abilities, they don’t focus on acceptance, they focus on the fact that people have different abilities. We know that! So, what is achieved by raising awareness? It seems it’s a weird money thing. They raise funds by raising awareness so that they can raise funds to raise more awareness so that they can raise more funds and more awareness and… and… and… When does the awareness stop and the actual action begin?

Closer to home, what is the point of spending oodles of dollars on blue light bulbs to make the Sydney Opera House go blue for a night? How the hell does that actually do anything? I mean, I have tried to picture how this helps. I really have. Here’s a scenario:

Person 1: “Why is the Opera House blue?”
Person 2: “It’s for autism”
Person 1: “What’s autism?”
Person 2: “It’s a disability”
Person 1: “Oh – ok”

And, then what? Person 1 now knows that autism exists and is now “aware” (scare quotes intentional). Mission accomplished. Person 1 doesn’t actually have to do anything because that was the end goal.

The other irritating part of awareness campaigns is they focus on pity and guilt. Look all able people: this is not you. Don’t you feel guilty that you’re “perfect” while everyone else is all “broken”? Alleviate that guilt by giving money to raise awareness. Don’t do anything to actually help all the broken people feel less broken. Just pay $x and all your guilt magically goes away and you can carry on with your life without worrying about doing anything. Of course, please continue to pity us poor broken people, but hey, you’ve paid your dues, right? You’ve done something, right?

“Ah! But – ,” the awareness campaigners say, “Once we’ve raised awareness then we can move on to acceptance.” Really? When are you going to do that? When do you reach the point where you have enough money in the bank raised through raising awareness to work on acceptance and accommodation? As a business model, that’s kind of a shitty one because if you stop raising awareness, you can no longer get people to pay off their guilt, and you can no longer make money.

So, awareness is useless. That is all.