Scrolling through Facebook the other day, I saw many links and articles. However, one caught my attention due to the subject of disability. It is about a girl who became “invisible.”
Rather than having people ask her what she would like or how she was doing, they assumed people around her could answer for her. In this reading, her disability was not specified, like Christopher’s in The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime.
The author explains that rather feeling invisible from her limitations, the society makes her feel worthless and insecure about herself, as she is treated like a child who cannot figure out simple tasks, or just ignored completely. One of the authors issues is how people are treated different instead of normal when they have a perceived disability. However, this issue brings in the other extreme. If society does treat people with disabilities the same way as “able -bodied” people, then they will still be disadvantaged. Without curb cuts, ramps, and special ed classes so people can learn at their own pace, people with disabilities are also disabled by society.
This is where the question of how much extra attention should people with disabilities receive? There is no clear answer, as every person and every disability are different. The easiest way is to simply ask. Yes everyone is trying to make the world a more accommodating place, as the universal design model explains, not every one wants help. When someone talks down or immediately assumes they are incapable of taking care of themselves, it belittles people with disabilities. Treat someone with disabilities as you would anyone else and then respect their decisions. Never let anyone feel invisible.
Over the last year the #METOO movement has been rising, and many people, including celebrities, are supporting this growing movement. However, some celebrities, including Norm MacDonald of the Norm Macdonald show, are showing their support in troubling ways. After an incident where MacDonald exclaimed that, “of course he supports the #MeToo movement! You’d have to have Down Syndrome not to! “, the public responded in a polarizing way. MacDonald using the word Down Syndrome to imply people who were incapable of empathizing and supporting others created many issues.
While some people believed that this was a huge insult to people with cognitive disabilities, others believed that people were overreacting, especially after the cancellation of his Netflix show. He was also banned from the Tonight Show.
His defense when questioned was that he was about to use the word “retarded” but stopped himself. Some reactions defended him:
These people believe in free speech and believe that the world is being too poltically correct, tearing down a celebrity for trying to support a cause.
On the other hand,other commenters were not there for him:
“I don’t care how “edgy” someone is, the words he chose are not ok and can cause others who aren’t educated on disabilities of all kinds (specifically DS) to have a negative view on those with them. That’s not right. Words are more powerful than we think.”
This is ableist and absolutely not okay. It implies that people with Down Syndrome can’t feel human emotions like empathy.
Overall the issue is a question is to what extent one can share their opinion in teir personal life before it impacts their career? Because clearly people with Dow Syndrome have ablities that include empathizing and thinking of others. In fact, many people with cognitive disablities are more in touch with their feelings and extremley sensitive to others emotions.