People can be so judgmental and assuming! - Cat Forum : Cat Discussion Forums
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post #1 of 10 (permalink) Old 11-06-2004, 02:14 PM Thread Starter
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People can be so judgmental and assuming!

Last night my husband and I went to a craft sale in town. We were looking for anything for babies that we could find. We happened upon a table where the couple made car seat covers - you know, a cloth to put over the top of a car seat (instead of a blanket or along with a blanket) to keep the wind and cold air out of the baby's face. Well, anyway, while I was going through and looking at all the different designs that this couple had made, someone that I know from my old hometown stopped and said "hi" and said, "Oh, do you make these?" I said, "no," and that I was just shopping like everyone else (DUH! I was on the customer side of the aisle.). She then said, "Oh, you shop just like the rest of us?" NO SH**!

I was absolutely livid! Just because I'm in a wheelchair does that mean that I can't shop? Furthermore, I'm at a table, along with my husband, looking through baby stuff. There were blankets, car seat covers, and lots of other things for little ones. She totally skipped over that fact and didn't even notice that I'm 5 months' pregnant with twins! She probably just thought I gained a lot of weight or something and assumes that people in wheelchairs can't get pregnant either.

Stupid people just bug me! First of all, I've learned through my life that you should never assume ANYTHING about anyone - especially just because they're in a wheelchair. I've known others in wheelchairs before who have a lot more brains in their head than the person I saw last night. Another stupid thing is I'm only a year younger than her son and we graduated from the same high school. It was a small high school where everybody knew everyone else so it's not like she didn't know my story.

Being in a wheelchair sometimes stinks! Most of the time around here things are fine because people here, for the most part, are pretty common and levelheaded and realize that just because you're sitting in a wheelchair doesn't automatically mean you don't have brains. But I've been in other cities before where I've been talked to like I'm 2 years old or something. People can be so condescending! When I get things like that I'd love to be able to just reach up and shake the person and say, "I'll bet I could beat you a contest for brains anyday!"

Whew! Sorry about that. Just had to get that out! I can't wait until these babies of ours are born so I can prove to the world that I'm capable of this. I've learned in life that a lot of situations are mind over matter. I know there are some physical things I might not be able to do just like a walking person but I have the mindset to be able to think of a solution to get around it. I once saw a story (on "60 Minutes," I think) where a gal didn't have any arms and she raised a baby! It was amazing. She actually had the strength in her legs to be able to stand on one leg while lifting her baby out of the crib, nestling it in the crook of her neck and shoulder and carrying it across the room. She changed it's diapers, dressed it and fed it with her toes! That just goes to show you can do anything if you set your mind to it.

OK, I'd better get off my soapbox and go do something else for a while. Talk to you later.
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post #2 of 10 (permalink) Old 11-06-2004, 03:01 PM
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I'm always shocked about how close-minded people still are. I could never DREAM of treating someone with that little respect just because they are different from me in some way. As a child, I was taught that physical disability does not NECESSARILY mean a person can do less than me. Most of the time, that person just does it differently than me.

I'm sorry that you have to deal with people like that. In one way or another, we all have our "disabilities." In the end, it just comes down to mutual respect. I wish more people would realize that.
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post #3 of 10 (permalink) Old 11-06-2004, 04:57 PM
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That was just a rude comment for that lady to make! I think many people are uncomfortable around disabled people, and some seem to think that being sympathetic means talking down to them. I understand that disabled people are just people and would like to be treated the same as anyone else; I'm sorry more people don't realize this. But I would say, in most cases, it's the result of the other person just not knowing how to act/respond. Not the lady you're talking about, though - that just sounds rude to me.
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post #4 of 10 (permalink) Old 11-06-2004, 08:31 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by jessamica8
But I would say, in most cases, it's the result of the other person just not knowing how to act/respond.
I know what you mean. My mom is so laid back and hardly gets bent out of shape about anything and she tries to tell me just about the same thing you said. But I got my hot-headed temper from my dad and I don't take kindly to treatment like this. I don't think it's a fair assessment of ANYBODY to do or say anything "down" to a handicap person. It's not like disabled people are a rarity, or something to be afraid of. They're everywhere you look. Why else would our government have mandated commercial building codes for such people.

It just sickens me to hear and watch people do this - either to me or anyone else. When is everybody else going to realize that we're people too? We just happen to sit all the time. We have feelings, wants, needs and ambitions just like everyone else.

There's a young lady I've known since I was about 10 or 11 years old who has cerebral palsy. She's just a couple years younger than me. This girl can't speak a vocal word and she uses a keypad to talk. She is also VERY dependent on the help of others, still living with her mom. She basically has no motor control at all (except enough in her fists to be able to hit the keyboard) so someone needs to feed her and everything. Yet, she is so smart it's ridiculous! Despite all her physical problems in life she went to college and graduated with a double major - in social work and psychology! I've seen her now and then since the days when we took swimming lessons together as kids and talk to her just like everyone else. Maybe she can't vocalize what she's trying to say but inside that crippled body of hers is an intelligent, funny person screaming to get out! She deserves just as much respect as the next person.
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post #5 of 10 (permalink) Old 11-06-2004, 08:42 PM Thread Starter
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I just wanted to add one more thing...

I can't speak for everyone disabled person out there, but I don't look for sympathy from anyone. All I'm asking for is some understanding that I'm a regular person just like anyone else only it's going to take me a little extra time or a different way of doing things to get through my day. That's all. I've never wanted anyone to feel sorry for me. Even though I'm sitting here in this wheelchair right now I count my blessings every day for the things that I do have in life - my husband, my cats , lots of friends who understand me and take me for who I am and, of course, the children I'm expecting. I know there are people out there who have it A LOT WORSE than I do so I'm not about to sit and sulk over my problems.

I've also had the opportunity to go to college and had a pretty fulfilling career as a medical transcriptionist. It's not the job for everyone (you either love it or you HATE it) but I got a kick out of getting out bed each morning knowing that I was doing a small part to contribute back to the medical community. It's not much but it's what I can do. I don't transcribe anymore because of some earlier pregnancy complications that had me laid up and off the job for a while but I plan on going back to it once my kids are in school.
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post #6 of 10 (permalink) Old 11-06-2004, 10:25 PM
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I agree with you all the way. I have a cousin with cerebral palsy, so for me it was something I grew up with. I go out of my way to show kindness to "disabled" people, not because I pitty them, but because they are people just like me, and I realize many of them probably don't get a lot of positive interection from the public at large. That's so sad to me.

This may be going off on a tangent, but I enjoyed the story about the woman with cerebral palsy, and wanted to share a story of a wonderful person I knew. ... Anyway, at my old job we had a customer with a muscular condition (it was several years ago and I don't remember exactly what it was now .) She was still fighting being confined to a wheelchair, and was only able to get around with much pain and difficulty and the assistance of canes. She was one of the nicest persons I have ever met, and I always took extra time to chat with her, which she really seemed to enjoy. The thing about her though, was that with all the pain she delt with, and all the trouble getting around, she never complained; instead, she spent her energy showing empathy and good will to others. You see, she volunteered at a group home for disabled people, she came into my work because she was always making homemade gifts and cards for those other people to brighten their days. She didn't have much money herself, but she was always doing things like this. Whenever she had a story to tell me, it was always about the pain and suffering others were going through and what she was trying to do brighten their lives as much as she could. I actually had to ask to find out how she, personally, was doing, because she would never complain. She would have to go the doctor for treatments now and then, and would often be virtually incapacitated for days afterwards. There were days, she said, she was in too much pain to get out of bed in the morning, but did it anyway because of her volunteer work - not because the staff at the home needed her, but she said, because she knew many people there looked forward to her visits and counted on her coming, and she refused to disappoint those people just because she was in pain. With all she went through, she was still able to see the positive side of her situation.

The point is, this lady was a far better person than many others out there. I always enjoyed her visists, not because I felt sorry for her, but because she was an inspiration. She put aside all her own troubles to be a positive presence in the lives of others. I always wished we'd kept in touch, but unfortunately, when I put in my notice there, I did not see her again before I left. She was a wonderful woman.
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post #7 of 10 (permalink) Old 11-06-2004, 11:16 PM
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That was so rude. I really hate rude people, and I am always surprised how many rude people there are in the world. It really really ticks me off more b/c the things these rude people do, I wouldn't think of doing and it amazes me that they are like that. I'm sorry you had to deal with that person but that's just one sour grape you delt with. I know most people aren't like that. At least I hope not
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post #8 of 10 (permalink) Old 11-06-2004, 11:38 PM
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The worst things that happen to people with special needs are that they are either overlooked (for jobs, etc.) or they are "looked over." Clerks in stores and even receptionists at hospitals look over the person and then overlook them, in an attempt to find a companion, or someone else with normal intelligence. Sometimes they get desperate and speak to the person in the wheelchair. Some find it necessary to call this person "dear" or "honey," regardless of age. Some find it necessary to speak loudly, as if a problem with a leg, back. or neuromuscular system
made a person hard of hearing. How insulting! How unacceptable!

Sometimes these condescending people are speaking down to someone with an IQ of 135, or even 145, which is near genius. It is all the person in the chair can do to keep his cool, and not verbally abuse these people. I overheard a doctor tell a patient, "If they cannot recognize your intelligence the minute you open your mouth, tell them, 'My IQ is in the superior range; you can speak to me directly!' " Rude? Very! But well deserved, and often necessary. I would be tempted to add to that answer ---"that is, if you think you have the vocabulary necessary!"

All of the above sounds bitter, but what it is is righteous indignation. Noone can assess the intelligence or value of a person with a physical problem by either looking, overlooking, or looking over. It is not acceptable behavior, no matter what the motive! If a person doesn't know how to deal with a person in a chair, that person doesn't know how to deal with anyone else.

Don't automatically do things for people who say, "No, thank you. I'll do that." Don't insist. If a door needs to be opened, and the person in a chair has a lap full of packages, open the door automatically, as you would if your friend had packages in both arms-with a
smile, not a condescending, "That's all right, honey"--when the person is obviously an adult.

In other words, please use common sense. Anyone can need a wheelchair at any time, for a variety of reasons. That person, whether you, a stranger-or your child, does not change. Wheels are wheels, whether on skateboards, cars, or bicycles. They make transportation easier. That's all. And please don't call a person "honey" or "dear, simply because he appears to have a physical problem. You are only making it more obvious how different he is from you. Few people with wheelchairs want special attention; fewer want pity. They play the hand they are dealt. They don't need the public to make them more aware of what they are handling, most often with a "s*** happens" attitude. They are not all Nancy Kerrigan, crying out, "Why me?" "Why me?"

I taught in a school for children with special needs ( up to and including 21 years old), and a person very close to me is in a wheelchair. I have seen all of the above and much more. I have other credentials, but I don't care to expand on them; it's not necessary. I just want to add that it is hard enough to deal with a physical problem, but thoughtless people make life so much harder! They add anger and depression to an existing problem. If you love your fellow human beings, please make it a point to learn what you can, and to put that in a nutshell, treat everyone with courtesy. You will make a huge difference in many lives.


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post #9 of 10 (permalink) Old 11-07-2004, 12:31 AM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Jeanie
The worst things that happen to people with special needs are that they are either overlooked (for jobs, etc.) or they are "looked over."
Well said, Jeanie! I had no idea when I wrote this thread that it would be carried this far. Sounds like it's a touchy subject for quite a few people. I cannot tell you how many times I've been in a restaurant where the waitress would ask the person I was with what I would like to have (that ABSOLUTELY fries me!!!!) or how many times I've been in a line in a store somewhere waiting to be helped with a question and the clerk glances directly over me to the person behind me or skips past me to talk to the person beside me.

It's nice to know that there are plenty others out there who can see the problems in the world as I do. If only people could be more like our kitties (or whatever pets you may have). Isn't it amazing how many quirks a person can have and their pets could care less. They just love unconditionally and can't see our setbacks.
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post #10 of 10 (permalink) Old 11-08-2004, 09:41 AM
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All I can say is that I have an enormous amount of admiration and respect for people in your situation. The world doesn't slow down for anyone, and when you get a wrench like a disability thrown at you, it just makes it that much harder to keep up. I can only imagine how much harder things would be for me if I was in your position. The fact that you go about every day with such a positive attitude, do everything you want to do, are going to be a mother, etc... I think it's fantastic and amazing! I really do admire that.

Personally, when I see someone who is disabled, I always feel bad because it DOES attract my attention, but I don't want to come accross as one of those people who just stare and look down upon people who have it harder than I do. It is hard sometimes because I really WANT to help if i can, but I don't want to be seemingly go TOO far out of my way, because I really don't want to treat that person like they are so different from me. Hopefully that makes sense and doesn't make me sound even insensitive!
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