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Crippen looks at the possible new symbol for the Disabled People's Movement / 4 October 2010

Crippen’s reworked black triangle symbol

Crippen's black triangle with text

Zoom in to this image and read text description

Leading the recent protest rally against the proposed Government welfare cuts were a large group of Disabled people. Wearing and carrying large black triangles, they were symbolizing the murder of thousands of Disabled people during the Holocaust; their aim being to embarrass Cameron and his government, who have repeatedly insisted that the most vulnerable will be protected from the impact of the cuts.

The use of this black triangle seems to have had an impact upon the general public, journalists and other non-disabled people at the protest which indicates that we may have found a symbol with which to carry our fight on into the future.

By re-owning the Black Triangle, it could become 'the' symbol of the Disabled People's Movement, a rallying cry for us all and something which articulates our demands in a more direct and recognizable manner.

Such a simple yet powerful symbol could be the very thing that we need to bring together the disabled artists, the mental health system survivors, people with HIV and AIDS, and the Deaf communities with all of the other Disabled people in the UK. This is something that we have struggled to do until now, and the powers that be have capitalized on divisions, continue to try to separate us into impairment groups and ensuring that we just fight our individual corner. 

Large corporations pay huge sums of money to image consultants and publicity specialists to come up with a symbol that the public recognizes and associates with just their company. Imagine just having to portray a Black Triangle in order for people to understand that it represents Disabled people who are working and fighting together for a just and accessible society united under the Social Model understanding and not part of the oppressive Medical or Charitable Model status quo.

I’m reminded of the immense power of the red ribbon cross adopted in support of those living with HIV and AIDS, and more recently the pink ribbon symbol which prompts us to think of those we love who live with breast cancer and those we have lost to that disease.

Envisage an MP opening an envelope in the future and a Black Triangle falls out. That is all we would need to do ... the symbolism alone would mean that we are watching him or her and expecting them to support our corner in an upcoming debate or vote. The Black Triangle could become the biggest symbol for change since the peace symbol of the 60's!

So, how about it, you articulate and feisty Crips out there? Let’s debate these issues and I promise to keep the ball rolling on this blog.

Change to original artwork following comments

Following comments regarding the use of an all black, upwards facing triangle, how about something like this (see illustration). It still retains the triangle shape but introduces a vibrant background of red with accessible white lettering depicting what it represents. What do you think ..?

Editor - You are invited to scroll down and leave your comments in the space provided below.

Keywords: black triangle,disability art,disability pride,disabled people's movement,disabled people's protest,history of disabled people,mental health,nazi party atrocities towards disabled people,politics,social model,survivor movement,user led organisations,young disabled people,