Have you experienced discrimination because of disabilities?
- 1a : the act of discriminating
b : the process by which two stimuli differing in some aspect are responded to differently
- 2: the quality or power of finely distinguishing
- 3a : the act, practice, or an instance of discriminating categorically rather than individually
b : prejudiced or prejudicial outlook, action, or treatment
Good morning my Friends 😀
For the past week my moments have been filled with beauty, wonder, travel and connection. There have also been moments of vulnerability, sadness, loss and fear. I think the most difficult task has been to decide what to do with the residue after that moment fades.
I grew up in small towns across the Midwest where many families grew up together, generation after generation. Wasn’t ever perfect, but one could avoid being teased or singled out by avoiding certain places and people. My tics, concurrent with anxiety, were generally ignored by family and friend alike.
As I traveled from Wisconsin to the East Coast, I watched as those attitudes about difference slowly fell away to reveal a very different pattern and texture. The further I traveled, it was apparent that people associated differences into separate containers based on past experiences, neighborhoods, appearance and so much more.
On the Greyhound headed towards Maryland I overhead more than a few accounts of people who were “this way” or “that way” based on a category that had been determined long before they ever met. In one instance, a man from Virginia tried to advise me on who to watch out for based on style of clothing and background. I was floored. I was never raised to put others in such categories or refer to anyone as “just a….” or “all are alike.”
I see it in my students that I teach around my home school district. Many seem to don a difficult exterior at first glance until you get to know them. I see how truly gifted and young they are. I have no idea what they are subjected to outside of the classroom much less at home. No idea what kind of discrimination they face as many have learned the art of “poker face.”
I know this post was supposed to be about discrimination based on my disabilities, but I see discrimination everywhere. We all live with our own differences no matter our age, race, background or socioeconomic status.
I think that’s important to remember the next time you come across someone that seems so different from yourself. Can you see beyond the difference to shared similarities? Who knows what the other is capable of—what talent! What love, what beauty! I know that if each of us take the time to re-frame thoughts to see similarity before difference, we all can impact the world 🙂
Every week I answer another question about my disability from Redefining Disability, a creation of Rose b. Fischer. I do this in order to continue my healing process as well as doing my part to create an open dialogue about disabilities. Thank you for listening. If you want to share your story, please join us!