Disability rights movement

“Society’s accumulated myths and fears about disability and disease are as handicapping as are the physical limitations that flow from actual impairment.” Society makes generalizations and stereotypes about the disabled and the disease stricken.

Society as a whole has the belief that they are less of a person because of something they cannot change about themselves. Society places the disabled in a category by themselves, as an outcast from modern civilization. We think that if we include the disables in everyday activities we could all one day become the same.

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Those who are disabled but are still mentally competent realize these exclusions. In “The able-bodied still don’t get it” by Andre Dubus, he states that in a newspaper restaurant review they don’t tell whether it is handicap accessible. He says that “this means that they don’t think of us as people. They wouldn’t review a restaurant only accessible to Caucasians or only to men.”

This shows how the disabled are placed into their own category of people, when they can fit into already established ones, like in Dubus’ case, Caucasian and male. Just because of a physical limitation a person isn’t less of a person. They are still capable of thought and feeling, so I would imagine they feel some discouragement and sadness from these stereotypes. Wouldn’t you feel the same way if you were treated differently because of something so insignificant to your function as a human being?

The media portrays an image of amazement and awe when a disabled person accomplishes a goal such as the Special Olympics. But they do not give these events the same publicity and coverage as the traditional Olympics. How does society expect the disabled to move on past these hindering situations and become a more successful person? It’s hard with the obstacles put forth by the “able bodies”.

In “Disability”, Nancy Mairs shows the human side of the disabled. Like Dubus she is disabled. She tells her audience, “Take it from me, physical disability looms pretty large in one’s life. But it doesn’t devour one wholly”. She shows this audience how she is just like every other woman in America; she just has a little extra baggage. She still shops, cleans, drives, eats, like any other woman her age.

She recognizes the true reason advertisers do not target the disabled, they are afraid. Afraid of the fact that “depicting a disabled person in the ordinary activities of daily life is to admit that there is something ordinary about disability itself”. Society isolates their problems to make them seem far away and unattainable, when they are so close, and could happen to anyone at anytime.

The reason the disabled are isolated more than similar causes like race minorities, is that disability can happen to you involuntary. You cannot “turn” yourself African American, Caucasian, Asian, or Latino. Those are things you are born with. You could be like Andre Dubus, living life to the fullest, when one day something happens that would change your like forever, and your perspective on your new race, disability.

Those who are disabled should be given as much opportunity as the “able bodies” do, not more to make them feel like they are being taken care of, just equal. They deserve to be recognized as true citizens of the world, not 2nd class. The disabled have so much to offer to the world, but are hardly ever given the chance. Maybe if we removed some boundaries and stereotypes, the world would be living at its full potential.