Secret. When I was in high school I helped out with the special Olympics at my school. I was a senior and … thought I was big stuff. You know what I said while outside working the special Olympics? “That is so retarded.” True story. I immediately was mortified. In my defense, I was 16 and realized my mistake. My face turned red, I walked away – so embarrassed that I would say something so crass at a function so important.
I told you that story so you could know that I’m not standing on my perch preaching down to you. I’ve been there. I’ve said and done and thought a million things I’m not proud of. But… now – things are different. I believe I am hard to talk to.
Lately we’ve been spending a lot of time with friends, family members, and people we don’t talk to on a regular basis. They aren’t used to spending time with me. They aren’t used to having conversations with me. Something is said and I’m offended. Something is almost said and everyone stops. Someone is talking to me and they suddenly just trail off…. I’m over sensitive. The world is not sensitive enough.
I teach about social situations. I HATE hate. I try to live tolerance every day. And you know what? Other people around me live tolerance also. I do not associate with bigots. They don’t make crass statements about women, people of other religions or ethnicities, or just… people in general. Except. the. helpless. Why is it ok to make fun of people with special needs? People like my SON.
Oh – here’s a list of the things I’ve heard in the past week or so…
I stopped by a blog I thought would be awesome. I was reading it and getting ready to comment on how witty she was. And then – there it was – in print. The “R” word. Yup. “When I run, I look retarded.” Thanks. Thanks for putting yourself out there with my SON who has spent every ounce of energy trying to sit up and I pray one day runs. JERK.
I’ve seen first hand people using physical gaits, hand tics, and non – verbal sounds … (you know what I’m talking about) because they think it is funny. That might be my SON someday. JERK.
“That person is going to ride the short bus.” Guess What? My SON has a nurse that stays with him every day. I’m pretty sure he’s going to ride a short bus to school. JERK.
“That person is special.” JERK.
*sigh* That doesn’t even begin to touch on the number of conversations I’ve had where people begin down that path and realize what they are going to say and just …. sort ….. of ….. trail…. off…..
I can’t fix the world. But, women can stand up for themselves. Minorities can stand up for themselves. People of different religions can stand up for themselves. Who will stand up for those who can’t stand up for themselves?
And stepping down from my pedestal – I’m guilty of things too. How many times do I say, “You almost gave me a heart attack!” What if that person lost a loved one because of a heart attack? Or, “If I hear that one more time I am going to shoot myself.” (If you are thinking of THIS POST – no worries) … but – honestly – how inappropriate is that statement? Am I a JERK?
What are we going to do? Will there be a day when you can’t say anything without offending someone?
I guess I’m just trying to wrap my head around this. I hear it. I hear people say we are to “Politically Correct.” and I can see the validity in their statement.
But then I hear the jokes. I see the people making fun of … the person that could be my son. And my heart breaks. My mommy gut shifts into high gear. I want to scream. I want to lash out. I realize I will alienate the other person… they didn’t mean it. They didn’t mean to hurt my feelings.
They don’t think about Alexander that way.
Truth…. Weather you like it or not – most of those things apply to Alexander.
What will that person (who thinks it is funny today to stiffen their arms and gait around and make noises that sound like words) do … if someday Alexander uses ALL HIS ENERGY to walk and manages a gait and ALL HIS ENERGY to talk and doesn’t enunciate his words properly.
I will clap. I will be proud. Tears – proud tears of joy will stream down my face that Alexander is walking and communicating.
Will that other person feel pride? Will they continue to use the same joke?
Or… will people just avoid us because they are so worried they might offend us?
Thoughts? What gets tossed around that you think should end – once and for all? Do you think I’m too sensitive? Go ahead – give it to me!
This post was taken from our personal blog.
Kristen @ www.alittlesomethingforme.com
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