In the United States today, there are over fifty-one million disabled adults and children. Throughout our nation’s history, we have not allowed the best treatment and care for these numerous citizens. But, in the recent past, the government has passed laws, made exceptions, and thoroughly tried to provide accommodations to these people with special needs. While this is true, America, as a whole, still views this group as strange or different. Even though this is exceptionally normal, it is not correct. The United States needs to be opened up to the truth about their fellow American citizens. The people of America ought to understand that these disabilities affect not only those who are disabled, but that it affects the family and friends
“The curious incident of the dog in the night time” written by Mark Haddon demonstrates that disabilities also come with advantages, as shown by Christopher Boone.
Unspeakable Conversations by Harriet McBryde Johnson is an article about her experience visiting Princeton University to exchange views and challenge Peter Singer, a professor who strongly believes that all disabled people, like herself, are “better off” not been born at all. The article provides an insight into Johnson’s life as a disabled person. She takes the readers on a journey that explores both sides of her own and Singer’s contrasting beliefs. She protests the prevalent stigma and prejudice of disabled people and gives voice to this marginalized community. Johnson challenges stereotypes of disability, uses her a personal experience to better understand the world and help others, and attempts to directly address oppression by arguing against Professor Singer’s theory and assemble a group of diverse and like-minded people for social change.
In the chapter “Tiny Tims, Supercrips, and the End of Pity” of No Pity, Shapiro focuses on the stereotypes disabled people endure throughout their lifetime, a result of the systematic oppression of disabled and neurodivergent people. Similarly to race, gender, and sexual orientation, disabilities are a social construction (Wendell, 2) created by able-bodied, neurotypical people to uphold power. A goal of the Navigating Boston course is to acknowledge that disabilities exist in this society, and to recognize the needs of the disabled.
If you saw a person in the mall in a wheelchair, would you judge them? Or would you look at them like they are a normal human-being? People who have a disability whether they are physically disabled, mentally disabled, or learning disabled, are still themselves. Nancy Mairs was forty-three year old woman with multiple sclerosis. She wrote an essay, “Disability”, that explained her views of her physical disability.
In this essay I will attempt to explain people’s attitudes towards the person with disability, also about the causes due to which our society discriminates against them. Few of these reasons are stereotyping, psychological discomfort, lack of accommodation, paternalization & pity.
Douglas C. Baynton argues in his article, “Disability and the Justification of Inequality in American History”, that the concept of disability is culturally constructed and has been paid little to no attention to throughout history. He also argues that the term disability plays an important role in justifying discriminations against minority groups, based on gender, race, and ethnicity. He states that “Disability has functioned historically to justify inequality for disabled people themselves, but it has also done so for women and minority groups. That is, not only has it been considered justifiable to treat disabled people unequally, but the concept of disability has been used to justify discrimination against other groups by attributing disability to them.” (Baynton 94) He used women’s suffrage, African American freedom, and immigration restriction as examples to show how disability played an essential role in illustrating how minorities who were labeled as disabled were treated with discrimination. As they were labeled with disability, discrimination against them became justifiable, which ultimately proves that discrimination against disabled was thought as justifiable and were looked over.
In Nancy Mairs’ article for The New York Times, “Disability”, published in 1987, she expresses her distaste with the media's representation of handicapped people. Mairs, who struggled with multiple sclerosis herself, clearly and sharply conveys this disgust by stating, “I’m not, for instance, Ms. MS, a walking, talking embodiment of a chronic incurable degenerative disease.” (Mairs 13), and that she is actually, “the advertisers’ dream: Ms. Great American Consumer. And yet the advertisers, who determine nowadays who will get represented publicly and who will not, deny the existence of me and my kind absolutely”(Mairs 14). Mairs is greatly upset that disabled people are defined by their disabilities and, therefore, are underrepresented in public media. This might lead to one asking themselves, but why are they? And the answer, according to Mairs, is quite simple, “To depict disabled people in the ordinary activities of daily life is to admit that there is something ordinary about disability itself, that it may enter anybody’s life”(Mairs 14). Mairs concludes by pointing out how this effacement could have dangerous consequences for both disabled people and, as she called everyone else, TAPs (Temporarily Abled Persons) alike. Treating disabilities as an abnormal characteristic (as opposed to viewing them “as a normal characteristic, one that complicates but does not ruin human existence” (Mairs 15)) can cause one of these repercussions, as it makes the
Individuals with disability have had a long history of maltreatment in America. From being thought of as possessed individuals in need of exorcism, targeted for heinous experiments, unknowingly sterilized, being labeled imbecile, feeble minded, and retarded, to being shipped off to state schools or mental asylums, those with disabilities were given no consideration as a valuable and able to contribute member of society. In a speech to congress, Frank Bowe, a highly educated deaf-man highlighted this claim by stating, “we are not even second-class citizens, we are third-class citizens” (Bowe, F. 1977--need citation), and Jim Cherry (2001) furthered the ideal in his words, that prior to “1970 we [disabled citizens] had no right to education, to employment, to transportation, to housing, or to voting. There were no civil rights laws for us, no federal advocacy grants. Few people looked beyond our medical needs” (Cherry, J.L, 2001 http://www.raggededgemagazine.com/0701/0701cov.htm). Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 attempted to fundamentally change how disabled people were reguarded.
In the book, The Short Bus, Jonathan Mooney’s thesis is that there is more to people than their disabilities, it is not restricting nor is it shameful but infact it is beautiful in its own way. With a plan to travel the United States, Mooney decides to travel in a Short bus with intentions of collecting experiences from people who have overcome--or not overcome--being labeled disabled or abnormal. In this Mooney reinvents this concept that normal people suck; that a simple small message of “you’re not normal” could have a destructive and deteriorating effect. With an idea of what disabilities are, Mooney’s trip gives light to disabilities even he was not prepared to face, that he feared.
In the essay “Disability,” the author Nancy Mairs argues that the media portrays disabled people in an unjust manner. Mairs supports her claim by first appealing to the reader’s emotions, second by proving her credibility as a disabled person, and lastly by appealing to the reader’s sense of logic. Mair’s purpose is to prove that disabled people are just as normal as anyone else in order to persuade advertisers to represent the disabled on television, newspapers, commercials, advertisements, etc. Based on Mair’s informal tone and diction, she is writing for the common, intellectual audience who has the ability to make a difference in changing the views of the media and non-disabled people towards the disabled. Nancy Mairs introduces her essay
The Russian Revolution and the purges of Leninist and Stalinist Russia have spawned a literary output that is as diverse as it is voluminous. Darkness at Noon, a novel detailing the infamous Moscow Show Trials, conducted during the reign of Joseph Stalin is Arthur Koestler’s commentary upon the event that was yet another attempt by Stalin to silence his critics. In the novel, Koestler expounds upon Marxism, and the reason why a movement that had as its aim the “regeneration of mankind, should issue in its enslavement” and how, in spite of its drawbacks, it still held an appeal for intellectuals. It is for this reason that Koestler may have attempted “not to solve but to expose” the shortcomings of this political system and by doing so
Disability has appeared frequently in recent films (Byrd & Elliot, 1988), a reflection of society’s interest in the subject. These films often misrepresent disability using stereotypes. These stereotypes reinforce negative and incorrect social perceptions of, and attitudes towards,
The novel Speed of Dark by Elizabeth Moon illustrates living with a disability and overcoming society’s stereotypical views. People with disabilities are often labeled as abnormal. In the novel the main character, Lou
Prior to the course, Perspectives on disability, my understanding of disability was a fundamental, concept of disability, in which I knew it existed, and also have seen and interacted with people considered to have a disability. I never took a deep look at all the social and political factors that exist within the spectrum of disability. This course has allowed me to examine all aspects of disability, which has changed my view and approach of what a disability is and how it is viewed. "Historically, disability has been viewed fundamentally as a persoal tragedy, which has resulted in diasbled people being seen as objects of pity or in need of charity. They have been subject to descriminatory policies and practices in which the predominant images of passivity and helplesness reinforced their inferior status"(Barton 4). Uncovering the framework of disability, by studying the historical, soicial political and educational standpoint, I see the intricacies in which gives me a greater understanding and awareness of the topic.