Watch Your Words Even If You Don't Understand
[Editor's Note: A recent post by Bonnie at The Fragile X Files gets to the heart of the matter why we can't just make sweeping generalizations -- election year or otherwise. I was moved by her post, because I know how others' thoughtless words have hurt me. Her words serve as an important reminder to own your words, to be considerate and compassionate with others. -Jenna]
Last week I listened to a speaker talk about believing in the potential of our children. Not special needs children - all children. And during the discussion, she pointed out how of course all children had the potential to grow up and drive cars, go to college, get married. Such a typical comment to be made by someone who has never know anything but typical children. When she said that, I avoided eye contact, and she lost a little credibility with me. I know she was talking about typical children. I know she understands how some children aren't like others.
It was just - when people do that - make generalizations that exclude people with disabilities - it's thoughtless. I know they don't mean any harm and it's nothing personal and I try to ignore it. But it makes me feel a little excluded. Like I'm not really a part of the crowd she's talking to.