Tuesday, March 21, 2017

The Promposal and World Down Syndrome Day

This morning I went to Google, typed in "Down Syndrome News" and waited the nanosecond it took for the search engine to present me with the results. My goal was to see, on World Down Syndrome Day, what I would find. I do things like this with expectations, here I expected to find an article on World Down Syndrome Day, but I didn't. Instead I found a story about a handsome 18 year old young man, described as a "kind hearted boy", who asked a young woman with Down Syndrome to the prom. There's a whack of pictures of him asking her and even a video to watch.

No question she was excited, and no question that it meant a lot to her. No question. The young man stated that, "They deserve everything that everyone else does too." 

Naturally, everyone is quite ga-ga about this event.

The comments are interesting.

They are all about him.

Not about her.

She was the backdrop to the story.

She was the canvas upon which a scene was painted.

She was the mechanism used to tell a story about a boy and a stereotype.

In none of the stories, that I read, was she interviewed.

This is World Down Syndrome Day and I don't, and won't, spend it bashing 'good intentions' of 'kind hearted' boys. But I will state that, as we move forward, I want to see stories of people with Down Syndrome who are more than the means of furthering stereotypes. Good heavens, why does she need him to ask her to the prom, isn't it slightly possible that she might have a date already? I want to hear the voices of people with Down Syndrome, they are amazing voices and need only the microphone.

The microphone.

A spot on centre stage.

And a world that will look and listen and learn.

That's what I want on World Down Syndrome Day.


Andrea Shettle, MSW said...

You get better results if you go to news.google.com and try googling Down Syndrome (without the keyword "news" because you're already in the section of google that only looks at news sources), World Down Syndrome Day is the second result listed. Or, if you search for "Down Syndrome" at news.bing.com then you get similar results--the second and third results are about World Down Syndrome Day.

But, yes, even here at news.google.ecom, the thing about the guy asking his best friend's sister with Down Syndrome to the prom (I assume this is the same one you saw?) is the third result on the first page. And at news.bing.com, the results are similar--both the fourth and fifth results on the first page are about that teen with Down Syndrome who gets invited to the prom in either the "sweetest" or the "cheesiest" way possible (depending which source you look at).

And even if it weren't so, you should still be getting better results when searching for "Down Syndrome News" at regular www.google.com (I got same as you, where the prom thing was in the lead and Down Syndrome Day nowhere in the first page). And regular www.bing.com is somewhat better in that the prom thing does not turn up in the first page, but neither does World Down Syndrome Day.

Jenni said...

This came up in my facebook feed today. Its about the term 'special needs' as its used to refer to people with (in this instance) Down Syndrome. What do you think?


(They also have a website, apparently here: http://www.notspecialneeds.com/ )

Andrea Shettle, MSW said...

Love the www.NotSpecialNeeds.com website and video! (Yes the video has human-edited captions, but people who need the captions may need to click on the video to go to its YouTube page in order to turn them on.) I discovered that there is also a hashtag, #NotSpecialNeeds, and a closely related hashtag #SayTheWord, which encourages people to just say the word "disability", or the term for the specific disability (such as, Down Syndrome, or blind, etc.).

Thank you, Jenni, for these links!