A Conversation for Aiding, not Disabling - a Personal Perspective

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Post 1

FG

...it's not necessary to raise your voice when speaking to a person in a wheelchair, or talk to them in a "baby voice". My father is in a wheelchair, and people think that in order to communicate with him, they must raise their voice, and speak to him as if he were a child. Paralyzed doesn't mean deaf or stupid, thank you very much!


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Post 2

Researcher 170889

So true! Have you noticed that people also do this to those who are visibly old? Or sometimes to those who are clearly foreigners? It is sad that a desire to be kind can be patronizing, and I think this is because people who do this see the old, the handicapped or the foreign as incurably unlike (and sometimes inferior to) themselves. I have even noticed the same phenomenon among males and females who were educated in single sex schools. Each sees the other sex as incurably 'other' and agonize over how to talk to, meet or date the other. "Hi, nice day!" never seems to occur. All these businesses agonizing over what women/Blacks/the handicapped want, with never a thought that good pay, opprotunity for advancement, respectful treatment might do the trick. A last observation: the handicapped are not always saints (as the author acknowledges). Sometimes you can get your head bit off for doing what really was a good thing. Seeing the person in the example given struggling up a grade, if you say "Hey, want a push?" you are doing a good thing, just as you might offer help to a non-handicapped person who was struggling to carry too many packages. If you get your head bitten off, that is because the guy/gal in the chair is in a bad mood, or is a jerk. Don't assume that all similarly situated folks are the same.


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Post 3

Researcher 170889

So true! Have you noticed that people also do this to those who are visibly old? Or sometimes to those who are clearly foreigners? It is sad that a desire to be kind can be patronizing, and I think this is because people who do this see the old, the handicapped or the foreign as incurably unlike (and sometimes inferior to) themselves. I have even noticed the same phenomenon among males and females who were educated in single sex schools. Each sees the other sex as incurably 'other' and agonize over how to talk to, meet or date the other. "Hi, nice day!" never seems to occur. All these businesses agonizing over what women/Blacks/the handicapped want, with never a thought that good pay, opprotunity for advancement, respectful treatment might do the trick. A last observation: the handicapped are not always saints (as the author acknowledges). Sometimes you can get your head bit off for doing what really was a good thing. Seeing the person in the example given struggling up a grade, if you say "Hey, want a push?" you are doing a good thing, just as you might offer help to a non-handicapped person who was struggling to carry too many packages. If you get your head bitten off, that is because the guy/gal in the chair is in a bad mood, or is a jerk. Don't assume that all similarly situated folks are the same.


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