I’ve been told that it’s a good idea to set up internet alerts to keep up with the news that may interest me. While I think it’s a good idea and I have come close to doing so on more than one occasion, I’m glad I don’t have any of it. There are plenty of days when I want to pull the plug and throw my computer out without additional influence. Can you image what would happen if articles ended up in my inbox the second they were published? No thanks.
Over the last few weeks there have been a few articles that have grasped my attention and just won’t let go (and raised my blood pressure exponentially).
Please note (and respect) that I will not be linking directly to or mentioning any specific details of these articles. I’m choosing to use my “linking power” wisely.
I’m not expert on dignity but it’s been a recurring topic in my continuous inner dialogue lately. What is it? How does one achieve it? How should you go about protecting it? I think you get the idea.
The issues surrounding dignity or lack thereof and disability are really starting to get to me. I’m not the most diplomatic person (read: at all) & I have a temper, so my first reaction is usually anger and it takes me a little time to get my thoughts out so someone else can know what I’m trying to say and want to listen.
Dignity in regard to disability is not a new frontier. However, it is one that needs exploration by the able-bodied (and those related in any way to someone with a disability). It can be a tricky subject to approach in mixed (ability) company; it probably has something to do with sympathy vs empathy, or other similar topic.
I remember the first article I read that made me question how people saw dignity for people with disabilities. It made me so angry I just sat on my feelings for a while, because I wasn’t “into” being a disability advocate then so throwing my feelings out there would’ve been shocking to everyone. I kept my feeling to myself, mostly, but it’s never left my mind.
I’m pro a lot of things but I draw the line somewhere before preforming medical procedures to stop individuals from growing up, literally, because someone going through puberty and adulthood are more difficult to care for.
It’s a fact of life, disability or no disability. There shouldn’t be a separate set of rules for those with disabilities. That’s the exact opposite of what so many people fight for.
If the same thing were to happen to an able-bodied person masses of people would be up in arms and it wouldn’t even make it in front of an ethics board, never mind be approved by an ethics board.
Let’s not even discuss what would happen if a child were to ask to stay child-sized forever, because I think we can all guess what would happen.
One area I tend to struggle with my thoughts the most is in an educational setting. I’d like inclusion for all, of course, but there are situations when I wonder if it’s really possible. I’m against self-contained classrooms mostly but I’m not completely against them. If you want to reinvent the mold for your child to fit into the mold that’s fine, but not at the expense of other children, that’s not OK. A child needs to be given the best environment to flourish in the long term.
Creating a short-term solution and hoping that it “just might” evolve into a long term plan is not only irresponsible but further proving the long held myth that people with disabilities are handed opportunities because they can’t afford them for themselves.
Let’s not forget about a certain photo controversy that’s become a virtual powder keg of opinions.
To be clear the differences of opinion are with the photo. I haven’t read a single comment from someone with a disability who has a favorable opinion of the photo. At the same time the majority of positive opinions have come from parents (or caregivers etc.) of a child with a disability. While both groups (PwD & parents, etc. of PwD) are part of the disability community each comes to the community with a different point of view.
I will not be talking about the point of view of parents, etc. because I am not a parent and I am not close enough to “the etc.” to be able to speak on it effectively.
Speaking as a person with a disability I can tell you that the photo was an immediate turn off. I’ll often read articles even if the photos turn me off the subject. I’m a visual person so I understand the value of a well-placed visual, whether positive or negative. Sometimes I have to “override” first instinct and give something a chance. However using this particular photo was foul play on the part of journalists and parents.
Just because you’re OK with complete access (and/or are given it) doesn’t mean it’s OK to take advantage of it.
How many pictures have sparked controversy because a parent posted it online? Pictures of able-bodied minors in a diaper or even a questionable outfit are posted every day and someone somewhere always had an unfavorable opinion of it. And if the backlash is big enough social media accounts are suspended.
Why isn’t the same courtesy extended to an older individual who cannot speak for themselves just because a relative or caregiver gives the OK?
And what would happen if someone who could speak for themselves is perfectly fine giving a journalist full access and a similar photo was used? I doubt people would have a similar reaction. In fact I doubt a photographer would even take such a picture.
I’m going to take it one step further (maybe a step too far even). Child predators toll the internet 24/7 looking for images of people, most of them are seemingly innocent images.
People get upset and “cry porn” if a mom posts a picture of a three-year-old proudly wearing her “big girl underwear.” Yet it’s a “beautiful image” to see a disabled 16-year-old wearing nothing but a diaper.
Isn’t this a double standard?
I could probably go on and on with more examples, in fact I know I could, but I’ve said enough, for now.
A friend said things better than I ever could, “because disability is involved, we accept the notion that disability means less-than-human. We must remember that a person is a person, no matter their abilities. Everyone deserves to be presented to the world around us in a manner of dignity and respect.”(source)
*A similar version of this post was written on July 29, 2014