Podcast: Black History Month with Fats Timbo and Cassie Lovelock

The Disability Download

This month, we spoke with creator and educator Fats Timbo, and sociologist and researcher Cassie Lovelock, as well as a few friendly members of the public, to discuss the intersectionality of disability and race.


Fats: Having a disability was like an added layer, right. And I found it very difficult because everyone would question "Why am I so small? Why am I this? Why am I that?"

Beth: Hello and welcome to the Disability Download, brought to you by pan-disability charity Leonard Cheshire. On this podcast we respond to current topics, share stories and open up conversations about disability.

My names Beth and I'm on of your co-hosts for today’s episode. With it being black history month, we've decided to focus today’s episode on the intersectionality of being Black and disabled. Myself and co-host Peter have talked to some pretty interesting people such as celebrity Fats Timbo on being black, disabled and in the limelight.

We've also spoke to academic and advocate, Cassie Lovelock, where we shed some light on the harrowing experiences of those who've been victims of hate crimes. We hope you enjoy today’s episode of the disability download.

Peter: Our guest today is none other than the fabulous Fat Timbo, a name that resonates across the realms of social media, fashion and television. Fats is not just a social media influencer, she's a trail blazer in the world of disability advocacy.

You may recognise her from the covers of Vogue, breaking barriers and redefining beauty standards in the fashion industry.

Fats Timbo has also graced our screens as a star on Channel 4's Undatetables, where she effortlessly challenges societal norms and misconceptions about love, relationships and disability.

Today, myself and my co-host Beth had the privilege of delving into Fats Timbo's incredible journey, exploring her experiences as a disability advocate. Her passion for reshaping perceptions and her relentless commitment to promoting inclusivity and diversity.

So without further ado, let's dive into this captivating conversation with the one and only, Fats Timbo, right here on the disability download.

Fats: Thank you so much for having me!

Peter: Oh no worries. You’ve had a really sort of busy period. Like a really sort of busy year. You’ve been on Vogue, you've been on TV. You know, you're quite a star. What was it like waking up, having millions of followers on social media?

Fats: Ah, it was a lot to be honest with you. It was a bit daunting but at the same time it didn’t feel real because it was during the pandemic. So, at the time it just felt like numbers. It felt like, “Oh, I've got this many numbers of likes”. I never accounted it to actual people, and it sounds funny to say, but when you're just filming things on your phone and uploading it, it just feels like you're posting on social media, but you don't realise that it's for a whole nation that are sitting looking on their phones.

When the whole country reopened and I was going out more, that's when people started to recognise me and I was thinking, “Oh my God, this is actually real. This is insane.” I think it kind of hit me then when people actually came up to me and started recognising me.

Peter: Has your life sort of changed since?

Fats: It has. It has completely. It's done a whole 180. Nobody knew me before. Now people know me and it's insane. I've gotta go on the underground and have at least five people recognising me or wanting to take a picture with me. So, I've always gotta be photo ready. All the time. It's exhausting but it’s got to be done.

Beth: So you do lots of really funny comedic material. What would you say inspires you?

Fats: What inspires me is everyday life, a lot of the time and also trending things that are going on. And then I put my own twist on it through my own experiences. 

So, for example, when this lady came up to me after I did my lashes, I was going home and she was like, out of nowhere, she just popped out of nowhere and she's like: “You born like that?”. And I was thinking, I don't even know what to say. I was like, yeah. And she was like, your mum born like that. And I was like, yeah. And then she was like, OK, have a good life. So, I reenacted that.

In like that situation, a lot of people laugh like they found it so funny because it was like this is an actual human being doing this to you. So I said this is a true story. This is exactly what happened. So I kind of base it off real life things and I kind of get inspired by, for example, one of my friends, we went to a party and she left early because there was no food and one of my latest viral videos, I basically stated that I'm leaving because there's no food at this function. So I kind of just get inspired by real life. Real funny things and relatable stuff as well that people think, “Oh I do that as well!

Beth: I think that's what makes you so popular, though, because your content is super relatable, and it really resonates with a lot of people.

Anyway, let's talk about Vogue. So, this is such a big deal. For listeners, Fats appeared in British Vogue in May 2023, looking absolutely amazing. Fats, can you tell us about how this all came about?

Fats: So, I got approached by Sinead Burke and honestly, it was actually such a pleasure that she  even approached me. And when she did, honestly, I felt like I was about to collapse cause I was like me doing Vogue? I used to say that when I first started modelling that maybe one day I’d be in Vogue, as a joke. But at the same time, I was like maybe one day, who knows! But I didn't think it would actually happen. And yeah, I said yes of course, when she emailed me.

And we just got the ball rolling to doing it. I was with, how many other people was doing it with me? I think about 19 change makers. And honestly, it was just such a pleasure to be amongst all these amazing people that have done so many amazing things that have disabilities.

Honestly, I feel like stuff like that needs to be normal. You know? It should be a regular thing and I'm glad Vogue took that step to actually doing that, you know. It was just sensational to be honest with you and I’ll always remember it for the rest of my life. First time being on Vogue.

Beth: Sounds amazing. I've really got to ask the question though, and I guess this is the one that everybody probably wants to know. Did you get to keep the dress?

Fats: Yeah. I did and I wore it again as well, and it was bespoke as well, so it wouldn't make sense if I couldn't keep the clothes because they were made for me.

Beth: Amazing. How did your family and friends react?

Fats: Ohh my days they were so proud. They were so so proud of me. My family was so happy to see that I was pursuing my dreams. I always said to my mum one day I wanna do vogue and now that she's seen her little girl do it, it's like, wow, you know. I did a video on my stories of my mum's blind reaction. And she was just like, Fatima! Oh my God. Oh my God you’re in Vogue! Yeah. Yes, I did it.

Fats: And my friends, just yeah, they were so elated for me.

Peter: I remember seeing that cover and I was like, you look bad! But bad, for our listeners means good!

Fats: Yes, I know what you mean. Thank you, I’m so proud of it.

Peter: Yeah. It was an incredible achievement. I think sort of, sort of leading on to that question was about, you were on Channel 4's Undateables. I got to watch a bit of it. You're quite good in it, but I never really-

Fats: Ohh thank you!

Peter: What I wanted to ask was, what was your experience like on the show?

Fats: My experience on the show, initially to be honest with you, I didn't want to do it. I didn't want to do it because I didn't want to be labelled as undatetable. I know full well I'm very dateable, but I thought about the bigger picture and I thought about sharing my story. That's the main thing about it, it's about sharing my story. It's about inspiring others. It's about representation. But that's why I did it.

And then when I actually did do the show, they set me up with an average height person. It didn't work out. Well it didn't work out with him. It's just one of those things. It just didn't work out. But they were absolutely amazing. The production, even when you talk to like a psychologist to see if you're, like, mentally ready to do the show, they were amazing and yeah I just loved doing it. 

I went on This Morning afterwards. It was like my first ever TV experience, so I'm glad I did it and I'm glad it's part of my story because I've started on the Undateables and you know, this year I'm doing Vogue. Yeah, it's just, I wanted to have some sort of place where I start my TV debut, and I'm glad I did it on the Undateables.

Peter: When we last spoke, we talked about disability in Africa and it's a big talking point where there's lots of different misconceptions and it's almost a taboo where disabilities aren't really spoken about in the household.

You mentioned possibly doing some work around this, such as doing a documentary. Could you tell us a bit more?

Fats: I want to do that because when I did go to Africa, their attitude to disability is completely different and I thought, wow, I am so lucky to be brought up in the UK because we have benefits for disabled people. We have so much support as well, and it's not as stigmatised as it is in Africa, so that's why I think if I show the world and the Western world, what it's like to have a disability in Africa. I think people will be more aware. I think people would want to maybe raise money for people with disabilities in Africa because they're really struggling, and I feel so bad sometimes thinking about it.

Like, in my country (Sierra Leone), they had a civil war in the 90s where they were cutting off people's legs, cutting off people's arms and its left people really severely disabled and some people who just walk on their hands because they don't have a wheelchair. The wheelchairs are so expensive. And it's not even just Sierra Leone, it's third world countries. It’s completely overlooked and there should be more awareness to it because, here there is, but there’s still work to be done, but it’s way better than most places.

Beth: It's really interesting. What would you say some of the attitudes to disability are like in parts of Africa?

Fats: They think it's witchcraft. They think it's like black magic or they think you're like, cursed, or they think you're like a witch or something. They don't think that it's actual, like, medical problems. They think you’re cursed basically. So, they try to disassociate themselves away from people with disabilities and it's not nice. And sometimes you are in traffic, and you see like a little boy with his grandma who's blind begging, you know, because they have no source of income. It’s so sad. It's completely different there and people are really, really suffering.

Beth: Have you got any other exciting projects lined up for the future? Could we see you on the big screen anytime soon?

Fats: Possibly. Possibly. Well, not possibly. Yes you will. I can't say exactly what it is, but just know you'll see me soon on television and it's for something good.

Peter: Holding the cards close to your chest then. I guess we're not going to find out.

Fats: Yes, very much so, very much. I'm holding them close.

Peter: It sounds really exciting. It sounds really exciting. Can't wait to see you on the big screen or see you on TV. We'll definitely keep an eye out.

Fats: Definitely do cause it's gonna be good.

Peter: I've got a question about sort of identity. What's it like being a black woman with a disability, how do you challenge the stereotype?

Fats: To be honest with you, I feel like my disability has been more of the challenge than being black because I grew up in Newham where basically everyone is a minority, you know, no one stands out because everyone's different. So, it kind of helps with knowing that, OK, I'm black and that's fine, but having a disability was like an added layer right. And I found it very difficult because everyone would question why am I so small? Why am I this? Why am I that? Which was difficult to deal with because it was like I can relate to everyone, but obviously I can relate to people who are black, but I couldn't relate to people in terms of my disability, so there was this, disconnect that I had from everyone really because I'm the only one that is the only little person that's around, you know, obviously having parents that are average height and then having all my siblings that are average height you just feel alone most of the time. So I would say my disability is what made me the most lonely.

Peter: I grew up in Newham as well, so I can sort of resonate with it being a bit of a melting pot, but then at the same time, you know, disabilities isn't necessarily something that is discussed or you don't really get to see the visible disabilities or any kind of disabilities in Newham. And so I can totally relate to that.

When I first met you (at an event), we were talking about sort of social media and you were doing a really good talk about social media and sort of social media bullying and trolls. Do you, do you ever experience it and if so, how do you, how do you deal with it?

Fats: I experienced it like every day to be honest with you and how I deal with it is knowing the fact that I've made it this far through physical, mental, verbal bullying.

I can deal with cyber bullying as well. That's what I think to myself. I'm like, OK, I can deal with the cyber bullying if I just push through and you know, just because Tom said ohh, I'm not worthy enough to be on social media or I can't dance when I know full well I can dance I'm not gonna listen to Tom. I'm gonna keep going and pursue my dream. So that's kind of the attitude that I have. And then also having social media tools that protects you from seeing negative comments kind of help as well. There’s keywords that you can block from seeing on your actual social media. So now I pretty much don't see any hate at all compared to the first, I don't even know. Maybe 3-4 years. That's kind of how I deal with it. And when I do see it, I don't look at the full sentence I just block and delete and keep moving.

Beth: I think that’s really good because you always hear people say you can get like a thousand positive comments and then you know a lot of people, that one negative comment can just be  the one that they'll fixate on. So I think it's really good that you kind of like set your wards in place and yeah, you don't even entertain it. Because what’s the point?

Fats: What is the point? What is the point? I don’t need to listen to Sally or whoever, who hasn’t even got a picture up and is just cussing everyone. No, they’re the sad ones not me.

Beth: Yeah, I always think it just says more about them anyway than it does about anything else. It's like... it's projection. That's what it is.

Fats: It really is. It's projection and I can't afford to listen to that at all. I know if I listen to that I can’t go far in life, you know.

Beth: Time is precious. That's what I always say.

Fats: Yeah!

So moving on to Black History month, is this something that you celebrate? Like what does black history month mean to you?

Fats: Black History Month, to be honest with you, I feel like it's where we celebrate black celebrities. Not even just black celebrities, black change makers like Martin Luther King, and that's where I actually learned, like black history, because obviously growing up in the UK, you learn about the national curriculum. The typical stuff and I think Black History Month is where we actually get the time to learn about what's happened in black history. So, slavery and things like that.

To be honest with you, it’s the only time I’ve had to learn about my own culture and history, and I think it’s very essential for everyone to learn about it because, you know, some history is just erased, there’s some history that we haven't even learned about. That's really important for our knowledge and for our future. I love it to be honest, its amazing.

Beth: Amazing. And so obviously you're like a really good kind of advocate for disability rights. Do you think that there's a space at the moment for disabled people in media arts and fashion and what do you think needs to change so that there's a better representation?

Fats: There's still yet to form more disabled people to be entered in those spaces, but because there is more of us doing that, it's better.

So for example fashion, we still need more adaptive wear. There's still a space for disabled people to get clothes. And for me, I wanna get petite clothing and I don't want to have to think about tailoring. It's long. It's absolutely long. And also fashion shows, we're more in fashion shows now. I absolutely love it because it's more diverse. It's not the same typical people you see, and we're being seen more. One in four people are disabled and it's still not accounted for in the media. So, day by day, as we're getting more representation, we can see ourselves in the traditional forms of media, and that's what I wanna see for the future.

Peter: There needs to be sort of that more representation of people with disabilities in all sort of areas of society, whether that's media, whether that's government or within politics. We've got a bit of a way to go, but I do think that there is, you know, there are some changes that are sort of being made, but there just needs, we just need I think people like you Fats to continue, to advocate.

Fats: Yes, I’ll definitely continue to speak up and I'll continue to make sure that I'm in those spaces that need disabled people and voices as well. It’s so important.

Peter: Given your experience, you know, you've done vogue, you've been on television. You know you're a comedian, social media influencer, and you've also experienced, you know, discrimination with your disability and that you've had to sort of really sort of figure out your identity and what you've been saying. What advice would you give a younger you?

That's quite a sort of a really deep philosophical question, but what advice would you give to a younger you?

Fats: Advice I'll give to my younger self, is to speak up more because when I was younger I didn't speak up much because I was scared of hurting people's feelings, I was scared of not being liked, and now I realised when you're more of yourself and you're not scared, not scared of like consequences in terms of speaking up for what's right, you're doing what's right for people, and that's what makes you liked, that's what makes you liked more. Now, I don't care if somebody doesn't like me, that's your own problem. But before it was such a terrifying thing.

That's what I advise myself. I think, just stop caring, stop caring as much, do what makes you feel good. Do what makes you, do what's right. Don't let anyone walk all over you. Because I was there, letting people walk all over me because they knew I was scared of not being liked, you know.

Peter: Fats, thank you so much for, for you know, agreeing to the interview. We've learned so much. You’re a real delight to speak to and, you know, you’re a real influencer to people that want to sort of, you know, make change. And I think you really send a really positive message to people that want to make change or want to be a social media influencer, or just generally wants to sort of make change. So I just really want to thank you for that. You're a real, real inspiration.

Fats: Thank you so much. I appreciate it. And this is why I do it, because I want to inspire the young people and want to be that changemaker that I wish I had growing up.

Beth: Well, you're definitely doing that.

Fats: Thank you. Thank you. It's been a pleasure.

Peter: After out interview with Fats Timbo, I went to central london to ask the public their thoughts on black history month, disability hate crime and the cost of living crisis and it’s effects on disabled people. Here’s what they had to say.

Vox pop 1: I think there should be a lot more in this country of polite support and you know, things that people need. Like I don't see enough disability ramps or enough care dogs or anything like that really like, even up to crossing the road. There's like, there's a thing for crossing the road like you can feel under, so for blind people to cross, but it's not very talked about and not a lot of people know about it. So I think there needs to be more awareness of helping people with disabilities and of disabilities themselves.

Peter: That's good. Thank you. And in terms of the cost of living, because lots of people impacted by the cost of living, how do you think people with disabilities are impacted by the cost of living?

Vox pop 1: I reckon they’re probably impacted a lot more because I know that people with disabilities tend to have a lot more costs that come with them because for the care that they need. So I'd say yeah, people would disabilities are being a lot more effected by it.

Peter: What does black history month mean to you?

Vox pop 2: So currently I'm still trying to understand what black history could mean? So for me I just have to do more research, but generally in England and probably Western countries it's, you know, a time where they also celebrate you know, historical figures, but I do feel like there needs to be, it’s like the life you live being a black person isn't dedicated or predicated. Maybe that's the word, to one month.

So black history months an interesting one because it's like that's the time where people will call and ask questions or try to reach out and raise the profile of black history. But it's a lifelong experience.

Peter: And then in terms of people who have got disabilities and that are black, what do you think their experiences are like?

Vox pop 3: So in relation to disability and blackness, there's the intersection of those two components, and I'll add women to it. But I was writing a master's thesis about that, where it's just like being in that intersection can be extremely challenging when it's not being able to get the correct or right supports and all of these invisible barriers that other people cannot see or could never fathom or understand.

So that's one thing in terms of the intersection of disability and blackness. But thank goodness there's more, well, there should be more schemes out there to help people. It's just not, I'm talking about my own personal experience actually, but it's not the most easiest thing to navigate because discussions of racial barriers you have to kind of navigate certain rooms you may not be in or won't know culturally how to navigate through. And then with disabilities getting into those rooms can be challenging because you'll need the support to get there or to stay there. But also, I feel like there's a unique perspective to it because then you get people to think a different way from your experience.

Peter: Our next guest is Cassie Lovelock from Kings College University of London.  Cassie is an advocate for disability rights and has published work on mental health services and disability and will be sharing her insights and experiences on hate crime in relation to disabled people.

Peter: Thank you for agreeing and to be interviewed and just to share your insights into hate crime. But I guess the first question is that hate crime continues to be an ongoing issue in the UK and I just wanted to get your views on why you think that is?*

Cassie: Cost of living! Obviously, we're all feeling the cost of living squeeze, whatever the diplomatic term for it is. But like in the end, when people aren't seeing their needs met and disabled people are perceived to have our needs met for free, of course it's going to brew that sense of resentment because people can't pay their bills. They're stuck on Universal Credit, they can't run the car, they can't feed their children. And then. Disabled people are perceived as being given all of those things right. We're given Motability cars. We're given benefits to be able to afford to feed ourselves. And even though that's not true, that's the perception. So of course, it's going to breed that sense of resentment.

Isn't it because they can't do any of those things and we're perceived to have all of those things. And why are we being provided for? And I think that stems into the same conversation about asylum seekers and people trying to stop the boats and all of those things and we are not helping our own. Why are we helping all of these other people? And it's that same thing for me anyway. Some of it is probably disabled people are quite easy to be made with and there's definitely a more diplomatic way of putting that. But it's that sense of, capitalism and these things position disabled people and our history is disabled people in terms of asylums and ugly laws and not being allowed in public positions, others being the bottom of society. So then for an able bodied person when their life is Just ****. They're having a really, really tough time.

They're going to look for a group of people to look at, to make themselves feel better, and in the end, that ends up being disabled people because of how we're positioned, we're positioned to be easy to victimise and for me, I think a great example of that is that I go to the supermarket in my wheelchair and I'll be buying things and someone  will be like, oh God, it must be so difficult and I'm like, well, I live with my partner in a very nice flat, and I have a very well paying job and I'm really lucky to have all of those things. But you've seen my wheelchair and the side of my life must be horrific.    

That's sums it up in that instance and then I think the last thing for me is social media, It gives people the anonymity to say whatever they want, doesn't it? They say whatever they want behind the screen and not even be aware that it'll actually have an impact on the people that they're saying it to cause. I'll say it and forget it.

Peter: Yeah. And it's a bit like the Wild West, isn't it with in terms of social media and you know, the idea that you can hide behind the screen and say things. I think it's increasing isn't it and I don't know whether there's accountability which is and an issue. One of one of the things I was thinking about when you were talking was around a recent news article that had come out recently, which basically spoke about people with disability being hindrance on the economy. You know that they, they it costs a lot to support people with disabilities and just the question do you think that sort of that rhetoric sort of fuels you know. Hate crime as it will.

Cassie: Yeah, I think it always has. Like I think there's been definitely an increase in it, but I'm not sure it's a rhetoric it ever really went away did it. Like the 2008 recession and the Sun had their hotline of ohh is your neighbour faking disability? Give us a call and we'll investigate kind of thing. I don't think it ever really went away as a rhetoric.

It's just like its back in full force again, cause there's a recession. And again because disabled people and for me an easy scapegoat for other people. When people reflect on bigotry and all of those things, ableism is the glue that holds all of them together. Because people can claim to be anti racist and love is love and all of those things. But if they're still being ableist, they're still being all of those things as well. It's just about separating themselves from the. The least banned parts of bigotry, if that makes sense.

Peter: Yeah. No, absolutely, absolutely. No, thank you for that. Thanks for that insight. There's another question that came to mind, which was around. Could you recall the earliest time when you experienced hate crime?

Cassie: In some ways, no, I can't… because it was baked into what growing up was like, right. Yeah. But in other ways, you can think of specific examples of things people said and the way they chased you around… and particularly hate speech in that sense of what people feel entitled to call you and how they feel entitled to treat you and I think there's a lot of things like that, but for me, because I grew up in that environment, I never really considered any of them It was very much for me positioned as like. That is the price you pay for being here.

That's the price you pay for growing up here. That's the price you pay for the education that we're giving you and the outcomes and things you're going to gain from growing up in this country in this area of this country, with this likelihood of attending this top university kind of thing. It was never conceptualised or positioned as that is wrong. It wasn't that it was just that is the price that you pay. So for me experiencing hate crimes, it wasn't until my disability I was born with a genetic disability, but it didn't really make itself known until I was in my 20s. It wasn't until that happened until people treated me differently because of my disability, that I conceptualise any of those things as hate crime, both yes and no.

Peter: Especially with when you talk about hate crime and there's like a bit of a racial component that's also part of it, it can sometimes seem like the norm that if that makes sense, depending on the kind of era that you lived in. So, yeah, I can. I can totally resonate with that with that point. So I think in essence it touches upon something else, which is around intersectionality and race. And for you being mixed race like, you know, women with a disability, do you think there's, I guess, like an extra layer, do you think your experience with hate crime is different from, your white counterparts?

Cassie: I mean it must be right? I'm not white, so I don't know how they experience it. Well, like, I think it definitely is. Like, there's a lot of forced reflection about, like, what was it about me which motivated them to treat me like that is that is a good way of putting it. Like it's that thing of like my disability and my race grant people permission to treat me in a specific way, and then when you are mixed race and this is different from being black or being white. Your race is chosen by the audience you step into. I can step into places and those people will decide if I am white. I will step in places, and they'll decide that I am black. And in reality I have no say over that. It's about what that audience perceives as me, right? I work in academia. You can guess which direction it goes but it's exactly that thing that depending on what that audience decides depends on my value. Which then, when it comes to hate crime, places you in this limbo, being like, have they said these things about me because of my skin colour? Have they said these things about me because of my bone structure and my features and how my hair presents itself? Or have they said these things about me because of my disability and in reality, of course, it's a mixture of ice. It's never that easy and that easy to separate.

But and experiencing these things and trying to process them and taking them to therapy, you do go through this thinking process about like, what is it about me, which equips those people to treat me like this and I think it's that sense of disability is something that is seen overall into society as more disqualifying than race. And that means for me, I tend to go away from things and be like they treated me that way because of my disability. But in reality it was probably both. It's very easy and nice, and there's such a desire to separate the two and think that people aren't full of hate because of my skin colour is because of my disability or vice but in the end it's just both ff them because. how can It not be.

Peter: My experience is slightly different because it's much easier me to identify what and why is it being said because I'm, a black male I would experience, one element of racism that you have to sort of. It's almost like you have to filter through what messages are coming through. So it must, it must be a lot more difficult and quite stressful.

Cassie: Yeah, I think like especially hate speech is the easiest way to identify it, cause people can call you a cripple or people can call you a cripple and then you don't you sort of  think when it's more sort of insidious and a little bit more subtle, not the hate crimes ever really subtle, but its own unique way. In the end, you find yourself questioning these things because when you have been a victim of a hate crime, even though rationally you know it's not on you, of course you name you. But oh, what should I done differently? Ohh, what should I? But in the end, particularly around racial hate crime and around disability hate crime, there's nothing you can do differently. Because for me, how I present myself is obvious. I am a mixed race disabled person. I can't hide. I know those things sort of thing. But you do end up questioning yourself and being like should I have acted differently? Should I have said something differently, but in the end and hate is hate. It's not on you that you're able to treat you that way. It's on the structures that we've gained and how ableism and racism are baked into the society we have.

Peter: And I think I think there needs to be that there's there, there needs to be more discussions had. So I often think of Renee Lodge, Renee, lodgers book, which I'm sure you've read, which I don't know if it touches on disability. You know, it's obviously about race. But again, it I think there needs to be more discussions around the intersectionality, especially around disability and rates.

Peter: Which I think those discussions there just needs to be more of those discussions in my opinion, but it makes me think about just talk about social media. It made me think about the George Floyd Movement, which was like, really pushed through social media and all these other different avenues, you know, with the death of George Floyd and Brianna Taylor, which exposed systemic oppression both in North America and in Europe, they just made me think about the question around do you think that movement sort of developed like a momentum for people with disabilities as people that intersectionality, so people that have disabilities and who are also black. Do you think there was sort of a movement there. Do you think the BLM movement sort of helped to highlight hate crime incidences amongst people with disabilities and black people? So it's a very long question.

Cassie: Like yes and no, two-part answer I think individually there are a lot of cases of them pointing out that this person who died by police violence was also disabled and we cannot discount that part of their lives. I think social media did a good job and adding all of the hashtags like black, disabled, Lives matter and all of those things but on the flip side of it, I think that was definitely a hesitancy sort of around the idea that If we start talking about black disabled lives, we're taking away from black lives and I think that's always been a an issue when trying to discuss intersectionality and understand intersectionality is there's this idea that bringing in an intersection takes away from the main group.

But in reality it shouldn't. It should just be that it should just be an addition. Oh, I see. It doesn't seem to really like work like that often that well, particularly when really big movements like BLM, are trying to show people that aren't politically and social justice minded and engaged that this is important. Then when we bring in a complexity, people tend to just sort of switch off, if that makes sense. And I think that stems into all of them. Like you can say, love is love and great, but if you don't care about.

Disabled people, then every disabled LGBTQ person that you are saying love is love isn't true and I think the love is love. Example is another prime one where disabled people can't get married. We're here saying love is love and marriage equality exists but disabled people can't get married because then we lose all of our state support and we lose all of those things and I don't think a lot of people know that. But also it's that idea that yes George Floyd and the BLM movement, and like his harrowing death and the death of Brianna Taylor and all of these things were horrific. And I never want to take away from those things and people, particularly in the It's are dying for literally no reason because of institutional racism, but a lot of those people were disabled and are disabled, and a lot of people in this country who are victims of police violence. I work in mental health, right? I'm a mental health academic. I can tell you through and through that racial violence in this country and racial violence. From the police for disabled people and mentally ill people is ongoing and perpetually going and has not changed. It hasn't. Yes, we had 2020 and the media and white people suddenly realising, Oh my God, racism still exists. What do we do? Umm, posting black squares on Instagram, but what did the black squares do for black lives? Nothing.

Peter: I want to reflect on that observation that you've made in terms of disabled peoples experiences both here in the UK and in the United States and it's the parallels. So you know regardless of us, you know being in different countries, disabled people still experiencing violence on both sides of the Atlantic and regardless of, you know, geographical locations it's well, you know an issue in an ongoing issue and I think more needs to be done in terms of being able to provide that kind of support for disabled people so they can live a life free of discrimination, but yeah. Cassie, I want to thank you for joining this podcast and agreeing to be interviewed. There's been some great insights that you've shared. Around the sort of intersectionality between disability and race. So thank you again.

Cassie: Thank you. It's been great.


Beth: We hope you enjoyed todays episode of the disability download. We just want to say a huge thank you to our amazing guests, Fats and Cassie for coming on and sharing their stories and knowledge. You can find both of our guests social profiles in the show notes. We’d also like to say a big thanks to members of the public that shared their voice too.

We’d love to know what you think. So get in touch by emailing us at disabilitydownload@leonardcheshire.org.  Or you can contact us on Twitter or Instagram, @LeonardCheshire. If there’s a guest you’d like to hear, reach out to us and let us know. And don’t forget to like, share and subscribe to the podcast. Thank you for listening to the Disability Download.