Tuesday, September 30, 2008
Amazed by Intolerance
I sell on eBay, it's what I do. There's even a little link there, on the left side of this screen, to my eBay store. So every Monday I go shopping for inventory, and I never cease to be amazed by people's intolerance of disabled persons.
One store I go to frequently hires disabled adults. It is a great program, and they get to learn basic job skills. Yes, they are sometimes louder than necessary and even, quite frankly, rude. I understand that social skills are part of their disability, and therefore am always sure to be friendly and smile, even when I want to tell them to back off and let me shop in pease please. ;) The other customers are not always so friendly. I overheard one lady complaining to the manager about all the "retarded people" working in the store. She said that she understood that "someone has to hire them, I suppose" but they should be working in the back room, and not up front where the public shops. Okay, to be blunt, you're shopping at Goodwill for gosh sakes, not Nordstroms!
This Monday I went to a different store. I parked my van, which has Peanut's wheelchair lift on the back of it, as well as stickers of our family as little cute stick figures.
A little old lady came up to me and said "Do you really have a child in a wheelchair? Is that what your stickers mean?" I said yes, my daughter has cerebral palsy. She said "Oooh .. the poor thing. That must be so hard!" I fumed silently for a minute, and then explained that she does not need pity, she is a perfectly happy and wonderful child. She looked agahst and said "You mean to tell me that she's not SAD about being disabled? I don't believe it". I said that she probably doesn't even know she's disabled. She is happy and active and smiley and loving.
Then all hell broke loose. The lady went on to tell me that her sister had a "mongaloid child" and she still feels sorry for her sister to this day. The child is now 49 and she says that her sister is lucky the "poor mongaloid" lived that long. Ohhhh hell. So now I take it upon myself to explain to her that "mongaloid" is NOT a term that anyone uses anymore. That the child has Down Syndrome. That the child is probably not a "poor child" unless her mother is as intolerant and ignorant as this lady!!
I shuffled my indignant butt into the store and shop myself back to normal. Who SAYS things like that???