I sat through a training film that drove me nuts. Just nuts. It arrived in the mail with a request that I review it and send it back. It was a short 'you tube' kind of film about a bunch of students who were 'experiencing disability' - clever stuff that. They tied blindfolds over their eyes and then attempted, unsuccessfully, to do a puzzle. They put them in electric wheelchairs and they crashed into things. They gave them earmuffs and let them try to talk to someone. Afterwards they went on and on and on about how much they'd learned.
They learned it was tough to be disabled.
Give me a freaking break.
What a stupid exercise. It's an exercise that reinforces stereotypes not challenges them. It reinforces a gratefulness not to 'be like that'. It reinforces the heirarchy - just what we need.
And stupid, stupid, stupid.
A blind guy would have had the puzzle done in six seconds. Cause he'd know how to manipulate by touch. He wouldn't have broken a sweat.
A disabled woman would have steered the wheelchair without a problem. Cause she'd know exactly how to maneuver the steering stick. She wouldn't have come near the wall.
Any deaf person alive would know sign, big deal about the communication.
They made the DISABILITY the issue. They tried to get them to experience DISABILITY. All they did was tittilate themselves with the idea of being disabled all the while they knew they could see, walk and hear. This is NOTHING. Not A Thing.
Because the issue isn't disability. Please get that. It isn't overcoming blindess or deafness, it isn't overcoming life in a wheelchair.
It's about bigotry.
It's about attitudes that think doing puzzles with a blindfold over your eyes will lead to insight about another life. It's about attitudes that 'thank heaven's that's not me'. It's about attitudes that the barrier is the disability.
The barrier has never really been the disability - it's attitudes that have stopped generations of people from participating fully. Attitudes that lead to segregation. Attitudes that lead to unemployment and poverty.
Say it with me ... congregate, segregate, persecute, destroy
That's the history of disabled people. That's what normates need to learn.
CONGREGATE SEGREGATE PERSECUTE DESTROY
It ain't about no freaking puzzle and a blindfold.
How shallow is that?
So now those kids walk away from the lesson just feeling lucky. And that feeling of luck. Of being better than, blessed even. Of not being disabled. That's the main ingrediant for cooking up a batch of bigotry.
I hated it.
I guess you can tell, huh?