Wednesday, May 16, 2018

23 Times

"Hey!" said a passerby with disgust, "Don't do that!! It's disgusting."

Now I don't happen to believe that this was said to the man with an intellectual disability because of his disability, I firmly believe it was because of his behaviour. He had been walking alongside his staff in a mall when he leaded over and spat a huge gob onto the floor. The fellow who protested was clearly upset about this. I, took found it, to say the least, off putting.

The staff said, "It's his right."

The passerby said with surprise mixed with anger, "His right?"

The staff nodded in as haughty a manner as possible. I'm sure she was thinking that she was advocating with the nasty public.

Now, I don't know about you but I don't think we all have 'the right' to spit on floors in stores, restaurants and malls. And if, by chance we do, we shouldn't freaking do it anyway.

I have been fully engaged in the fight for people with disabilities to have full adult rights, this is not what I envisioned. Not at all. In fact, I think this is neglectful of his right to learn behaviours that are not gut-wrenchingly awful. Spitting on the floor in a mall or anywhere like that really bothers me, when anyone does it. But then in all of my 65 years, I've not seen someone do it before so there must be some unwritten code guiding us all to gob where gobbing is acceptable. It seems simple.

Rights should not be trivialized.

Rights should not be used as an excuse to provide service that is essentially neglectful.

The look on the faces of everyone around was not, um, positive. The look on the face of the man who'd spat on the floor was triumphant, he knew what he did was wrong and he's got his staff as his pass-key to do whatever the hell he wants.

Rights should not be trivialized.

I'd like that staff to write that on the blackboard 23 times.


3 comments:

clairesmum said...

I don't think he has the 'right' to learn that because he has a disability it is OK for him to behave in socially unacceptable ways in public places. I think his care team/staff don't like him very much...and are ensuring that he doesn't gain the benefit of being included in the world around him.

This is not about "the right to spit in public" it is about the staff not even trying to fulfill their responsibilities....and that is not right!
The phrase 'bigotry of low expectations..." comes to mind.

Ron Arnold said...

"Rights" are ill-defined in this day and age. The dictionary defines it as: a moral or legal entitlement to have or obtain something or to act in a certain way. So according to the dictionary, rights and entitlements are synonymous. So . . . the fellow was "entitled" to spit on the floor? And if so - by whom? The owner of the mall? The janitor? The laws of the land he resides in? The moral code of the population?

I'm not a fan of the word "rights" or the word "entitlements." I think they are convoluted "invented" words that come from folks who want you to think they're giving you some kind of gift. The way I see it - the fellow certainly had an opportunity to do that. But was that opportunity free of consequences? I don't think the staff did him any favors in terms of him being seen as "belonging" to or in his community at that point. He became aberrant.

Aberrant gets excluded from a lot of opportunity.

L said...

The only time someone has the right to spit indoors in public is if they're choking / their airway is blocked / they can't breathe, and they don't have a tissue or bucket to spit into. (I once spat water on the floor at the dentist while having my teeth cleaned, when I had accidentally aspirated a lot of water into my lungs and I literally couldn't breathe. It was that or choke.)

If the gentleman needs to spit on a regular basis, he (or his carer) could carry a disposable vomit bag for him, most pharmacies carry them and they're not expensive.

I'm Disabled and chronically ill, and I think it is reasonable to expect Disabled and/or chronically ill people to follow social rules wherever doing so does not harm us.

For example, spitting in public without a compelling reason: no

Refusing to shake hands because shaking hands causes four days of agonizing hand pain: yes.