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???


Deanna said...

Go you! I've had to work on my own mother with the 'mongoloid' and other un-PC words for fear that she'll get beat up some day. Its ignorance rather than truly negative feelings when it comes to some people. They just never stopped to notice that the 'dis'abled are often the most loving and beautiful people when you really look.

Tamara said...

You have got to be kidding me! I honestly can not believe the blunt, blind and ignorance of people! I am so glad you have your family on the back with peanut in her chair! Where'd you get those! I want one for Abbs! I am so proud of you for being so polite, Im not sure exactly how I would have handled that! Mondaloid... What was she from the ice ages??

The VW's said...

Unfortunately lots of people say things like this!!! Good for you for telling it to her straight! Someone has to teach them! Ignorance is all around us! Keep on sharing the truth!

And, of course your child is happy! She has a family who loves her, takes care of her! In fact, I'd say she's probably a lot happier than that lady is!

It's funny you posted about this, because it happens to be National Down syndrome awareness month. I just posted about it on my blog. Anyway, thanks for doing your part in making people aware of the truth!

Amen sister!

Anonymous said...

I think the strength of your response is in your own acceptance of Peanut. If you were still dealing with anger over her diagnoses, that anger would have come-out towards the woman.

Who SAYS things like that? Nothwithstanding her age, she has likely lost (or never had) the social skills or ability not to say the first thing on her mind. Possible causes are mental illness, her own mental challenges, substance abuse, stroke, early dementia.

The only gain you can hope to make in that situation is to learn from it yourself. Parents tell me this is a repeat occurance. I recommend reading this post:

Thanks for blogging, and I will be back to learn more from you about ebay! Barbara

Anonymous said...

Thanks for your comment on my blog. I have no heard of SCAD Deficiency (as I guess most people haven't). We hadn't even heard of PKU until we found out our son had it. Glad to know that we aren't all alone on this journey, even though we have different circumstances.

Jessica mommy to Alex/ RTS said...

I hate this part of this new journey. even very dear friends of mine say things that sting.

our children are such a gift. My purpose.....To teach others to see it!

Connie said...

I was thinking of how to post something yesterday about the hurtful things that are sometimes said, and then realized it sounded preach-y. This is good. The sad thing I think is that no one actually "gets" our kids but us - that one of the gifts of having such an incredible child is that your eyes are opened, and you see things that you can only see by the experience of falling in love with your child AND getting to have her/him in your family. So it makes me sad sometimes, that most specialists never really "get" my daughter. They fail to reap the benefits of her being here. It's all heaped on our family, and we are so grateful, but it almost seems like it's lost on others.

Jason and Vanessa said...

I found your blog on A New Kind of Normals blog. I just wanted to share with you the link to a friend of ours website he also has cerebral palsy. He has a huge ministry and speaks all over the country God is being glorified through this mans life. Here is the link http://www.justinpeters.org/

Shari said...

Oh Good Gracious! You've got to be kidding me! You would think 'old people' would know something about being polite and compassionate to others. I am sorry this happened. We, too, have a special needs child. I understand!

me said...

"I shuffled my indignant butt into the store and shop myself back to normal." That really made my day. Thanks! I've been really captivated by all your post about the joys and the struggles of having a child with special needs. I wish you and your family all the love, peace and serenity that you do deserve.

Jeb, Paris, France