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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2010

    Default Discrimination of handicapped.

    (Couldn't decide where to post this topic. Politics/Health?)

    This subject is not often found on the internet, because most people do not
    seem to have an interest for it, therefore it is quite often neglected by the
    general public. And that is a shame, because it can fuse ignorance.

    In Norway, we use functional- and development impaired to describe the
    word handicapped. Words like disabled and retardation is taboo, and
    "a handicap" is rather refered to as an advantage, not a disadvantage, for
    instance; a handicap parking spot, or having a handicap in a game of cards.

    • To point out
    • To sympathize

    Even people well in their twenties (including friends of mine) can suddenly
    point out and make fun of an impaired who "walks funny", or someone who's
    sitting in a wheelchair or type automobile for the impaired, and so forth. I do
    not laugh at such, nor do I look in the direction they want me to look. I do
    not comment on their distasteful sense of humor, nor do I ditch them
    because of their lack of integrity.

    When this happens, I have three layers; my first and top layer being visable
    for others to see, whereas my second layer hides my true feelings, the third
    and final layer.
    1. I'm not interested.
    2. That was unnecessary.
    3. I want to slap you in the face with the palm of my hand. It's about time you grow up, moron.

    There's a big difference between pointing out a general impairment, and
    pointing out an impaired. Comedians should not feel restricted to make fun of
    the impairment itself to lighten the mood, but should consider letting the
    impaired be. If not, it is categorized as discrimination. For instance, Eddy
    Murphy called the stars he joked about on the phone before he did his
    shows, and asked for their blessing, people like; Stevie Wonder and Michael
    Jackson. Otherwise he wouldn't have made jokes about them. Michael
    Jackson was in fact a big fan of Eddy Murphy.

    Parenting / learning how to respect others:
    When I was three years old, I asked my mother if that guy behind us in line,
    with the beer belly, was pregnant. My mother pinched my mouth, turned my
    head around, looked at me with her angry-eyes and said with a strict voice
    "Watch your mouth!" And with good reason! The man however, laughed, but
    still. I do not understand why this is not common in parenting today. Are you
    afraid to hurt your kids? What's the problem? Do you want your kid to grow
    up to become a dick with no respect for others?

    Another one, is showing extreme sympathy for the impaired, as if they need
    your sympathy. "Poor guy, he's in a wheelchair." The worst thing you can do
    is consider them as people who can't do shit on their own. The only thing
    you need to do is clear a path for them, and they do well on their own! Be
    polite, and considerate. And if you fuck up, just give a straight "I'm sorry; I
    didn't mean it that way," without hightening your voice as giving sympathy,
    but more a sincere apology for your clumsy remark.

    People have yet to fix proper access to the impaired; at malls, stores, diners,
    restaurants, bars, and so forth, even public transportation and housing.

    What is your view on this?

    Ps. I am not impaired, nor do I work with the impaired.
    Last edited by angell_m; 08-06-2010 at 08:41 AM. Reason: fixed some bad english

  2. #2
    Senior Member Chaotic Harmony's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    9w1 sx


    Well, in your list, I jump straight to number 3 if I notice someone making fun of, or worse yet, harassing someone with a handicap. I think it stems from all the times my aunt took me to charity events for the handicap when she had first started out on the police department.

    In all honesty, I envy some handicapped people. Some of these people are the happiest people I have ever had the pleasure of meeting. The movie I am Sam is pretty much spot on with how caring they can be. They seriously don't seem to ever see anyone's faults. They are so accepting, and so what if it's naive. The world could use more acceptance of others.

    We have a couple of places around here that specifically find jobs for those who are mentally challenged. It's a great thing for these people that would likely never pass a typical interview to be given a chance.

    But yeah... I pretty well turn into a blood thirsty monster when I see someone making fun of a handicapped person.....

  3. #3
    Starcrossed Seafarer Aquarelle's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2010


    Wow, good topic.

    Actually I find it interesting that the preferred term in Norway is "handicapped." Here in the US "disabled" or "impaired" are preferred.

    I agree with you about sympathy being a form of discrimination - I think most people get that making jokes about someone's impairment is discriminatory. Although, if it is meant as a tongue-in-cheek parody of what an insensitive person would say seriously, then I don't mind it... if that makes any sense. Anyway... I think a lot of people don't consider saying something like "I feel sorry for him" to be a discriminatory remark, but I find that almost more uncomfortable than jokes.

    The issue of access is a really interesting topic in my line of work. I work in the study abroad office at a public university, and in the US we are striving to make everything accessible, at least new construction of public buildings, and modifying older buildings as much as possible. However, we have study abroad programs in places that just aren't accessible - Senegal, Kenya, India, etc. We recently had a student in a wheelchair go on our program in France, and we modified the entire program office for him - we had to make the bathroom accessible and build a pathway to get up to the door. Other than that the city was already fairly accessible and he got around fine. He was a great student and really appreciated our efforts, as apparently he'd been told by a lot of programs that their sites just weren't accessible and they couldn't be modified. Luckily, we had a grant to be able to make these modifications, as making our programs accessible to students with disabilities is one of our initiatives.
    Masquerading as a normal person day after day is exhausting.

    My blog:
    TypeC: Adventures of an Introvert

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jul 2010


    "In Norway, the word handicapped is defined as functional- and development impaired."

    I didn't write that properly enough, sorry. I ment that we use functional impaired and development impaired to describe the word handicapped =)

  5. #5
    Strongly Ambivalent Ivy's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2007


    Nice post, interesting topic.

    A couple weeks ago I took my son with me to a meeting. I was a census crew leader assistant, so part of my job was to meet with the enumerators and take their questionnaires and timesheets. One of our enumerators had some dental issues and one of her bottom teeth sticks up above her lip. My son (who is 5, and who has autism) came up to her and said "Why do you only have one teeth?" I was mortified- I took him out for a talk and then made him apologize to her. I can't imagine a parent not doing that, and IME most parents do. But I don't think it's necessary to spank or punish a child for doing something they don't know better than to do. You just teach them better.
    The one who buggers a fire burns his penis
    -anonymous graffiti in the basilica at Pompeii

  6. #6
    Patron Saint Of Smileys Gloriana's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2009


    I don't have kids of my own yet but when I've been babysitter and had them out for the day, I've had a couple of experiences with this.

    I had the experience with my friend's daughter not knowing what to make of a dwarf man when she saw him at the beach. She was around five at the time too. She asked me what was wrong with that man, and I just said nothing was wrong with him, that he was just born a dwarf. She asked if that meant he was like the dwarfs in Snow White. I said I didn't know, and I just explained to her as well as I could that some people were born small and they could only grow to be a certain size even though they were grown ups. I think she was having trouble with equating: small = young/tall = grown-up. I just explained that wasn't always the case. I told her again the man was a grown-up and just like any other grown-up. Of course, there are more complex things to explain but at the time I thought that would be good enough. She did keep looking at him and I did tell her it was not polite to stare. At first she seemed afraid of him but I just kept telling her he was a grown-up just like any other grown-up. Nothing to be afraid of.

    Another friend of mine had a little baby girl born with one femur half the length of the other femur. She had to get an amputation around the time she first started to want to walk, and when that healed she got a prosthetic leg. At the children's hospital, most of the kids there were so familiar with these kinds of differences in other kids they didn't bat an eyelash. They just accepted it. Kids in restaurants or public places sometimes stared and one little girl asked my friend's little girl what was wrong with her leg.

    My friend wigged out a little because it was the first time she'd been faced with a stranger asking what's wrong. She was sort of choking on her words a little. The mother of the little girl who asked wound up giving the little girl a smack and telling her to watch her mouth and that bothered me. My friend had clammed up too and it was tense for a little while until the little girl and her mom just went back to eating.

    We talked afterward and my friend had to work on how she wanted to handle stuff like that. Her family was very much self-conscious of appearances and were constantly talking as if my friend's daughter was just going to be disadvantaged and have a very hard time in life, talking predominantly about how she would definitely be made fun of and all this other stuff. My friend was torn, knowing this was partly true but not wanting to raise her daughter to feel disadvantaged or limited. She researched a lot of stuff about Aimee Mullins, an amputee who became a champion swimmer, and she taped the episodes of 'Dancing With The Stars' where Heather Mills came on to dance in spite of her prosthetic.

    I don't think children should be reprimanded for simply being curious, but I know people can be sensitive on both sides of any given handicapped issue depending on what their experiences have been. My friend tries to be open now because she wants her daughter to be open to, to explain how it is rather than shy away from it. This is in regards to people who are curious. The folks who act afraid, or judgmental, are hard to deal with. Some who act afraid are odd because they're not really looking down on my friend's daughter, if they're afraid of anything it's being offensive. They might be curious and never ask anything, which is a shame in a lot of ways.

    I also personally still apply my 'take everyone on an individual basis' principle to anyone with a handicap. I think immediately of a guy in a wheelchair that used to come to open mic shows where I performed with my Improv crew. This guy had lost his legs in Vietnam, and everyone knew it. Thing is, he was such a horrendous a**hole and he did things I just couldn't excuse because of his terrible experience. He was misogynistic and said really horrible things to the women in that bar. He was loud and often did not care about disrupting shows. He also used his wheelchair status to bully people into buying him drinks and guilt tripping them if they talked back to him. I just told him not to try pulling that s**t with me, and he tried painting me like I was being prejudice because of his wheelchair but I was like "Man, come on, grow up".

    To me it's all about understanding. I want to understand what 'disabilities' put what limitations on folks but at the same time, I like seeing where those ideas of limitation can be challenged. It just seems a lot of people who excel (any people) often achieve some of the greatest, amazing things because no one told them they couldn't. It might be idealistic but I believe in that. I don't pity anyone with a 'handicap', I might empathize or sympathize, but pity just isn't constructive.

    I don't like volunteering for charities that work via a cornerstone of pity. I think there are many people who are conditioned to play victim or just decide to, there is no denying it. Seriously though, I think most people want help or assistance just to hang in there until they themselves can make things better, until they can achieve and shoot for goals on their own steam. They don't want to suckle the teat of charity forever. I like volunteering for organizations that send positive messages rather than dealing with those condescending "Oh, you poor thing!" organizations. Can't do it and won't do it. If some organization reduces someone with a disability, or someone experiencing economic strife, to a child and just treats them like inferiors requiring babying, I will check out fast.

    Not sure how much of this is relevant, I hope most of it is.
    "Nobody in life gets exactly what they thought they were going to get, but if you work really hard, and you're kind, amazing things will happen. I'm telling you...amazing things will happen" --Conan O'Brien

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