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Friday, December 14, 2012

Shocked: Just Shocked

This video shocked me. "Get Outta Town Retards". This hateful graffiti was spray painted on a home in a small town in Central Illinois. The home and cars were spray painted with other hateful words. This took place in the spring of 2011, a day that changed the parents life. The family was attacked because they have two daughters with Down Syndrome. The response is from the daughter's brothers. I have no idea how much work went into making the above video. I do know that 129,753 on Facebook people "like" this and 55,043 have shared the video. These numbers are a shock. I want to know why did this story not go viral instantly. I want to know why this did not become a national news story debated from coast to coast. This video kept me up last night. How could people be so cruel. How could a human being knowingly spray paint this on a home. I wonder do my neighbors think the same thing when it comes to the group homes that are nearby. Worse yet, do residents of any town in America hate students with Down Syndrome?

Sadly I know the reason why this video did not go viral. Disability rights and civil rights are never thought to be one in the same. The ADA is not and has never been perceived to be civil rights legislation despite the fact that is exactly what it is. Disability rights ring hollow for the vast majority of Americans. If disability rights is discussed it is perceived narrowly--as in the decision to have a bus with a wheelchair lift. Secondary schools simply do not in any way discuss disability rights as part of its curriculum on the civil rights movement. We get a day off for Martin Luther King Day every January. Every child knows exactly who King was and what he did. Every American is exposed to King's I have a dream speech. I am sure no student in elementary school knows who Ed Roberts was. I am sure 99% of the teachers in elementary schools have no idea who Ed Roberts was. I am sure no students, teachers or administrators know the history of accessible transportation, specifically the fight to get wheelchair lifts on public school buses. This lack of knowledge is called ignorance. Ignorance breeds misunderstandings, hate, fear and exclusion. Ignorance made the above video possible. Today is a grim day in my mind.


Elizabeth said...

I thought the same things. I wondered the same things. I think of my eleven year old son, Oliver, who has worked tirelessly to educate his friends and fellow schoolmates about the use of the word "retard," and how he told me the other day that he thinks it's "hopeless" that people will "get it."

william Peace said...

Elizabeth, My son came to the same conclusion when he was a little boy. As an adult now when we encounter needless bias he tells me "Dad, this, meaning equality, will take generations. 99% of the population doesn't give a shit". This makes me sad. How can a young man be so jaded? The answer of course is an utter lack of progress in terms of disability rights.

Middle Child said...

Have shared on Facebook and on my blog.