Monday, August 31, 2009
Ignorance At Its Best
My buddy, Esbee, over at the Life in Forsyth blog, emailed me to let me know about one of her blog posts that she thought might interest me. Her comments in the mail definitely piqued my curiosity. She said she was still ‘sad’, two days after the event she detailed in her blog.
I immediately went to read her posting, and while I understand ‘sad’, what I was when I read it was ‘angry’. I moved a little closer to ‘sad’ the more I thought about it though. Sad that even in this day and age so much ignorance still exists about people with disabilities – sad that people have no trouble sharing their ignorant views, even if their views might emotionally harm someone, especially a child.
Take a few moments and read Esbee’s post and let me know what you feel. Then come back and let met share one of my weekend encounters. I’d also like to know your thoughts about that.
Sunday afternoon, Chip, Ashley and I went to a local bookstore – one of the big ones with a name you would recognize. Chip had selected his books for purchase, and I was pushing Ashley in her wheelchair through the aisles while waiting for Chip to pay.
As I went down one of the aisles, a young African American girl – probably about 14, the same age as Ashley – turned and stared at Ashley. It wasn’t just a short stare – those kind I have learned to ignore most of the time. This girl stared as we approached her – as we passed within 12 inches of her – and then turned and continued to stare as we started to pass by. This was a stare I just couldn’t ignore.
I asked the girl is I could help her with anything – did she have any questions? She got an angry look on her face which I admit did start to make me angry. I said, “You were staring so much at my daughter that I thought you might have some questions you would like to ask.” She made a disgusting noise and walked away.
As I went to the end of the aisle and turned back towards the cash register, the girl was angrily whining to her mother about the ‘weird lady who told her to stop staring.’ The girl’s mother was immediately irate and approached me in typical trashy talk show form and asked me what my problem was. She told me that I shouldn’t talk to her daughter, and that if I had anything to say, I should say it to her. Well, okay then.
I said, “This is my daughter, Ashley. She is 14 years old. She is deafblind, has three brain tumors, and needs this wheelchair to get around. Are they any other questions your daughter might like to ask?”
She said, “You’re a crazy b*tch and stay away from my daughter.”
I rolled Ashley away, and as they family left through the parking lot, the mother turned and used a type of sign language we all know.
Funny thing though, Ashley signed also. She signed “crazy b*tch and pointed outside the store.