Friday, May 29, 2015

Discrimination against the disabled

Discrimination against the disabled

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Q: Will there ever be a "level playing field" for the disabled, without fear and ignorance?
Jacksonville, FL

depends on what you mean by "level". We have an African American in the White House, but there is and will be racial prejudice. But there is real progress. We had a triple amputee in the Senate, a blind man as governor of New York and many other examples of how once societies outcasts slowly move into the mainstream. One of my closest friends is in her mid-50s and lesbian. I asked her if she was troubled by all of the anti-gay rhetoric we've all been hearing lately. She said that 30 years ago she never would have imagined this discussion ever taking place, so she feels pretty good about the fact that the issues are at least on the table.

We will always have fear and ignorance. And because of the way we are hardwired, fear and ignorance will always turn to scapegoating or discrimination. And those of us with disabilities are likely to be discriminated against because we represent most people's nightmares. Many of us are dependent, paralyzed and vulnerable -- just what people are unable to see in themselves. But just look back at where we were and where we are and then looking ahead seems more hopeful.

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Dan Gottlieb
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