Discriminating against the disabled…are you aware that you’re doing it?
I am always completely baffled by the types of people I encounter being prejudiced against disabled people. Young, liberal people, who feel so strongly about fighting homophobia, transphobia, racism, sexism, etc. ... e.g. discriminating against someone for something they were born with and cannot help. If you stand against hatred in this way, why are you being selective with your discrimination?
When I say these people are acting prejudiced, they are not doing it loud and proud. In fact, I am completely convinced that these people are unaware that they are being discriminatory. In any conversation about helping the disabled, they will be all for it, guns blazing.
However, they are unaware that they are not putting this into practice, and will continue to exclude a disabled person from their activity, or will call them ‘weird’ behind their back. Perhaps when they hear the word disability, they think of crash victims in wheelchairs, or brave veterans with missing limbs, but God forbid they feel the same compassion towards someone with a mental disability, such as Autism or Asperger’s.
The attitude I witness suggests that they are not seeing disabled people as humans. I know this sounds like a dramatic statement, but they do not seem to consider that these are people with personalities, interests and feelings. Maybe some of these people have never met anyone with a disability before, and when they act this way it is because they do not know how to act around them. However, if this is the case, why would you not take the opportunity to get to know the person, so that you can get a better understanding of how to act around them (Answer: You act normal, they’re just a person). Immediately turning away from them and treating them as though they are strange is just as bad as turning away from someone because of their sexuality or race. Every disability is so diverse, so you cannot make assumptions about someone based on this.
I ask those reading to step back from themselves and consider if this is you, because the discrimination I am talking about is subtle, and I am sure people do not notice they are doing it. If you feel strongly about people being accepted for who they are, then remind yourself to put this into practice.