Whether it's my able-bodied uncle giving me his idea of a "pep talk" by dispensing trite advice: "you are a smart girl, you can do anything you put your mind to, and you wouldn't want to live life from a chair!" (As if anybody has a choice or really aspires to live their life from a chair in the first place...) Ah, the mind over matter speech. If only it were that simple... If only my mind were able to cure my physical illness...
Or my therapist saying that having to go to the doctor every week is "no kind of life," I have come to realize recently that even seemingly well-intentioned people sure do pass judgment on others a lot. I am probably even guilty of that myself every once in awhile. It's one thing to have a thought pop into your head and keep it to yourself but quite another to impose your potentially offensive point of view onto someone else. Yet I am sure that neither one of these people meant to offend me. Which hearkens back to the same question I have asked myself before: am I just overly-sensitive? Or does everyone just need to take care to be more politically correct when it comes to their interactions with the chronically ill?
My skin cannot get much thicker. I am sensitive by nature but have learned to let a lot of things just "roll off" these past few years that would have previously really upset me. Today's discovery of the Facebook group openly discriminating against the disabled really left me reeling. It is amazing to me how people can get away with hate speech like that at this time in history. The following cartoon was posted on their group page and I found myself studying it for quite awhile, not able to uncover a single ounce of humor in it:
I certainly do not find it amusing and do not appreciate being given the label "pampered disabled." If the cartoonist's idea of being "pampered" is not making enough to live on, not being able to travel, not being able to be physically active and not being able to lead normal lives, then call us "pampered." Surely we must be "pampered" by being granted access to basic services through closer parking spaces. Surely that evens the score and levels the playing field among the able-bodied and the disabled. I believe in free speech as much as the next person, but I do not believe in poking fun at or disrespecting people in a public forum, especially the most marginalized groups of society, or "mutants" as a particularly ignorant and mean-spirited member of the Facebook group referred to all disabled people as. It is disgusting to me how sinister and overtly hateful some people can be. Days like today I am even more thankful to have compassionate friends on my side who are genuinely good people. You know who you are.