Monday, 8 August 2016

Why do we assume people are victims who live with a disability?

There was a person speaking at a funeral which I was attending. The person who passed was a dear friend, he died at the age of 33. The person who came up to do a speech and who I will be referencing through this post had an accent and a missing arm.

The speaker came from Africa and he is a barber. He was my dear friend's barber who has passed away.

Why am I writing this post? To understand why we judge people based on who they are and what they can and cannot do, disabilities.

People who do not look like us, talk like us, or have the same abilities as we do, we tend to stereotype and put them in a different category. We treat them differently even though they deserve to be treated just like everyone else with respect.

I noticed at the funeral, out of all the speeches that his got the loudest applause. Was it what he said that made everyone applaud louder and longer or was it because people felt that he had a disadvantage that he deserved the applause that he received?

What may appear as a disadvantage can actually prove to be an advantage. How you may wonder? People who lose a limb or part of the body that makes them unable to do things that an able person can, seem to be more resilient.

They fight/work harder because they have to. They see the world for what it is, they are blessed for what they do have and they realize this blessing and do what most able bodied people won't do. That is take a risk by applying their efforts into something that is rewarding.

I am not speaking for every person who is disabled. I am speaking particularly about the people I know in my life that are born or had a tragic accident in their life who don't have the same abilities and who are now fighters. People who use their disability, don't complain, and who capitalize on the opportunities they are given.

I do not have a disability; does this give me the right to talk about people with disabilities? Absolutely. I believe everyone should have a voice, everyone has opportunities, they may not be the same opportunities, but the execution of those opportunities matters more.

Everyone wants to be treated equally. So why do we not treat people equally, especially those who are at a disadvantage? I recently read a great article about how people with disabilities are shifting from victim to advocate on the Huffington Post by a journalism student from the university of Maryland.

The student tells us about his disability and how he is proud of it and would not change what society deems as comfortable. His article is a great lesson to perceive people for who they are not the ability or non abilities they may have.

Empathizing but not actually understanding the symptoms since you cannot experience it makes your assumptions misleading. Sure you can think about how it may be to step into their shoes and thus it would make you feel bad for that individual for having to go through the everyday struggles.

They don't see it that way. People who do not have those abilities do not see the struggles. They see the opportunities that they are given. Find the rest of the post by clicking on this sentence HERE.
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