Today is brought to you by the letter U. And what’s this picture all about you ask? Well you should!
GOOD GRAVY! What are people thinking?????
What is it about disability that allows people to abandon their usual values, standards and behaviors?
I am pretty sure that the police officer in Florida who dumped the man who has quadriplegia out of his wheelchair on camera--a camera she knew was there--didn’t make a habit of knocking people over and tossing folks on the floor or she would have had too many felony convictions for assault to be a police officer.
And if the jail personnel in the Kitsap County Jail in Washington had noted really bizarre and self-injurious behaviors from any other of their prisoners it would be treated as a mental health emergency….instead raging symptoms were allowed to continue until the prisoner suffered irreversible damage.
And the other stories of bullying and abuse that is reserved for people with disabilities that generates lukewarm responses from authorities and statements of concern about the perpetrators instead of the victims sets my teeth on edge.
If Barack Obama learned that a minority other than folks with disabilities were being excluded from his campaign events do you think his response would end with an empathetic, but ineffective we’re-doing-the-best-that-we-can? (Read more about this here--this link is to the first of a few posts as this story evolves)
And in spite of the advances in medicine, education and the high rate of success experienced by people with Down syndrome, a portion of the medical community reiterated their position that it is worth the vast financial investment to do first trimester testing for Down syndrome in ALL pregnancies. WHY? The body of scientific evidence about Down syndrome does not support this response, but with disability apparently it doesn’t have to.
And the medical test industry is in full competition mode vying to produce these tests—though they know an entire class of people is likely to DIE as a result of their work. This is acceptable to them—because it only affects people with disabilities.
And what about the professor in North Carolina who made the statement that mothers had the “moral responsibility to abort babies who have Down syndrome” in his classroom. He didn’t say this on the golf course (or in the church parking lot) some Sunday morning, he stated this as the professor in a University biology class—where he is presumably seen as a scientific authority.
Yet again, the science does not support his position. Beyond this, is there another class of people that he would expect to remark on in this way without repercussions? Of course not. (Update: funny post about this here.)
He says he made the statement to get his students to think—and it worked! One of his students realized that his statement had implications for that class and for other students who may have heard this rhetoric from this professor before. She took a stand for the value of people with Down syndrome. She has been criticized for this, but only because it worked. (Of course, other professors at other universities have been making statements like this for years trying to generate just this level of response!)
(Update see the press release from NDSC that came out today.)
And these are just a sampling of the issues that have occurred since the start of THIS year.
Knock it off people! People with disabilities are PEOPLE FIRST. There is nothing about the diagnosis of a disability that changes the requirement for upstanding, respectful behavior.
I am the mother of three, wife of one. I am a Partners in Policymaking graduate and a committed disability advocate. I want to catch up on my scrapbooking, learn more about art-journaling, get my house in order, read all the books I have set aside to read and change the world--not necessarily in that order. The opinions in this blog are my own and not those of any of employers.