So, in my quest to find out What Would Readers Do, here is a question for you:
Joe and I went over to the ROM (Royal Ontario Museum) to see the exhibit on Mayan culture. I joined the ROM after moving to the city and we get our money's worth. We like the place. We visit often. It's a combination between two buildings, one old, one new, so it's a bit tricky to navigate in a wheelchair but, for the most part, I get to where I want to go.
As we arrived just at lunch we went down and had a bite to eat and were in high spirits and ready to see the exhibit. The ROM does know how to put on a show and we were really enjoying the displays and the information posts were actually interesting. On going through I began to notice something, to me, interesting. There are several carvings, representations, bowls and whistles that had images of dwarfs. At first I thought I might be imagining it, but after the sixth or seventh image, I became curious. I saw no mention of them and what they might represent in Mayan culture anywhere. (Now realize, I didn't look at absolutely every written description, I could have missed it.) However, when I saw a ROM employee talking to some people, answering questions and the like, I approached her.
She said that she was indeed with the ROM when I asked her if I could pose a question to her. She said that she would try and answer. So I mentioned that I am interested in disability history, art and culture and as such I noticed that the image of dwarfs and wondered why that was. What was the significance, and by the preponderance of images there must be a significance, to the Mayan people? She looked very uncomfortable at the question and then she started talking about dwarfs and "crippled" people as perceived by various cultures. My face must have registered shock at the use of the world "crippled" but she carried on, using the word two or three more times. I felt no hostility from her, just deep discomfort at the question (or the question asker, I'm not sure) so I just listened to her, not stopping her and correcting her.
I don't know why I didn't say anything. I didn't have a good sleep and was tired. I didn't have the energy for a confrontation. I just didn't and after having left, regretted not having done so - I think she would have been receptive.
Now, here's the question, should I just let it go, or is it letter writing time?
I know that it's important to pick your battles. But I also think that if the institution gets involved one of two things will happen - one is that they will just send a polite note thanking me for my feedback, two it will grow out of proportion and the woman will get a severe reprimand when all I want is someone to say, "Hey, you might want to use the word 'disabled' rather than 'crippled'."
So ... I'll do what the majority of people want me to do.
How's that for sloughing the decision making responsibility off my shoulders and on to yours!