Okay, fair warning. This is a really long post on somewhat a touchy topic, if not quite on topic of this blog, but definitely related to it.
I found the link far below, at the bottom of this post, while following blog links. And I admit to using this word in the wrong way my whole life, most likely even recently, I didn't pay attention. And that seems in my opinion to be part of the problem; I don't think alot of people see it as the insult that it is, more to the people who are mentally handicapped than as an insult to those who the term is flung at for not calling the boy next door you have a crush on or forgetting to pay a bill, or tripping on the curb one day.
I didn't see it for what it was, even recently as this topic began to take light on the net. I began tossing my thoughts on the issue around in my head and have been for a few days now. Is it really that wrong, I wondered? I mean, I don't think people are really intending to be mean to people with these challenges.
I read where someone wrote to the effect of, "I do not agree with this, it is just a word."
Yes it is 'just' a word. But the definition of this word has become sickly twisted from a medical term to something derogatory.
For that person who wrote that it is just a word and they are not going to stop using it, that is your choice. But my choice and the way I see it is this - ignorance is bliss and easier to accept than the truth - which hurts. And it might be the easier to keep doing what one always has and everyone does than to get off the proverbial rolling bandwagon and go bare-footed down the road less traveled.
All roads were less traveled once. If you think about it, most everyone knows someone who knows someone who struggles with such challenges, if not mentally than physically, some sort of challenge. - My own grandfather is blind. I am too, nearly blind. Legally, I am.
Does this make him stupid? Does that give you reason to shout, "Hey, Old Blind Guy!," at him from across the street. And yes while some may do this to be cruel I bet many people would see him out there with his cane and at least offer to help him, if not then they would most likely leave him alone. But would they plaster the term in a movie and on T'Shirts? Most likely no. And does it make, him, or me, me stupid, No.
Let me tell you a couple short stories, first is about this same grandfather of mine.
I took him to walgreens one day so he could get his prescription filled. Remember, the man is BLIND he cannot see. But we try to let him be as independent as we can, as he has put himself through blindschool for. [he lost his eyesight only a few years ago. In fact, he used to be a pilot] So I stand back and just browse a few isles down to make sure you know, he is still okay.
Anyway, my grandpa, cane in hand, asks directions through the store on how to find the pharmacy window, and people are generally friendly and help him out. So he gets there and the guy stares at him. Doesn't speak, just stares. But my grandpa can still hear him you know. So, Grandpa gives him the paper with the prescription on it, a type of lotion, and asks to have it filled.
The man behind the counter tosses the prescription back at him, "this item is in cosmetics, you need to go there!" And then the man proceeds to walk away from the pharmacy window.
Grandpa calls him back, "sir, I am blind. I can't..." he starts to say 'see' but before he finishes the sentance the man behind the pharmacy counter literally yells, "go to cosmetics!" at him, drawing not only my attention but the attention of a few other patrons of the store.
I walk up. Take the prescription. Glare at the guy behind the counter, who happens to be the manager, and we leave [probably i should not have glared] all the way everyone else who works there has seen it and is trying to cover asking if they can help. I tell them no, and we leave and get the item from a walgreens up the street.
---Can you for a moment imagine how it felt for my grandfather to be subjected to that? A man who has been independent his entire life to suddenly be dependent, no matter how hard he is trying to continue on without his eyes, in the first place to be subject to such blatant disrespect??
Okay, think about it in another vien - of mental challenges - of the fact that those who are mentally challenged might not even know. To that effect - is that disrespect for those who will never harm or judge you and only love and want to be loved?
Onto the same/similar topic:
My uncle was the vice president of the a major computer company, but he was also diabetic since the age of 12. In his last days he could not walk or even move much on his own. Did this make him stupid? No.
And I cannot for the life of me, at 30 some odd years- grasp long division. I can do algebra and have gone to and graduated college after having to pass all their math courses. But this one thing escapes me, my family has tried, teachers have tried, said uncle above even tried. I can't grasp it, and yet I write full length novels and can get impressions and sometimes understand archaic and ancient languages?
So - does the fact that I can't do long division make me stupid? No.
I can't let go of my ex. It has been four years. I know I need help from a therapist to overcome it...
Does this make me stupid? No. Mentally challenged because this IS a handicap in my life, perhaps.
I do not know.
We were warned when my baby sister was born 17 years ago that chances were high of her having some sort of mental handicap, as my mother was almost 40. My sister would have been beautiful no matter what, I decided that. Yes, I was old enough to understand and remember and be willing to fight for her.
But she was born 'typical' the same. We were told, she was blessed. Does this mean that kids with such challenges were not. I don't believe so, I believe they are blessed just the same but as everyone else they have other gifts to give and things to teach as we all do along the way.
"I'm fat. I'm thin. I'm short. I'm tall. I'm deaf. I'm blind, hey aren't we all??" It is a song by Mark Wills called "Don't Laugh at Me." It goes on to say, "In God's Eyes we are all the same."
Indeed, indeed we are.
I know I am only one person. But from here out I pledge to no longer use this word as an insult in this sense. Thank you, for this post, found through the link 'Educate Yourselves Please,' Below. I will think of your sister. I will think of angels.
So there are my thoughts on this somewhat controversial topic.
Please follow the link below and read what it says. I do not allow for negativity on this site. That is not what it is about. And such comments will be quickly deleted. Thank you.
Where Are My Angels: Educate Yourselves Please.