Friday, October 14, 2011

reverse disability/reverse discrimination

I've been in the human services field for awhile now.  Long enough to know that there is a concept of reverse disability/reverse discrimination.  I probably need to explain what I mean when I use these two terms because I don't think that they are known to most people.  Basically it means that because someone has a disability their treatment is overcompensated to the point that they are treated better than someone who doesn't have a disability.  So to explain further.  Have you ever been hit up to donate so that someone with a disability can go on a trip?  I have; I've never donated.  No one has ever given me a donation so that I could travel.  Or, what about a person with a disability given allowances for rude behaviour?  I've seen that too.  Having a disability does not excuse bad manners; Temple Grandin actually said that!  I heard her with my own ears at a conference one time.  She was the best speaker I had ever listened to.  She basically said that the reason why she is successful in her life is because her mom had the same expectations for her as she did for her other children.  That Temple would have manners, go to school, get a job, and be a contributing member to society.  I completely agree.  If you make excuses for a person with a disability not to have the same expectations you have for yourself you really are discriminating against them and saying, "well your special so we don't expect as much from you."  Really?!  Maybe people don't intend that but when you break it down that is exactly what it is saying.  Now don't get me wrong I know that not everyone is able to have a full time job and live on their own and etc, but they can have the same responsibilities I have to the best of their ability.  One area that I see quite often the ideology of reverse disability is when support people attempt to do "everything".  Do you not believe that they are capable of doing anything?  Just yesterday I met someone who had a less than great relationship with their parents.  The supports wanted me to come in and take this person's legal rights away so that the relationship with the parents would change.  This person knew that they didn't like how the relationship was and they knew what they could do about it but in their own words they said they didn't want to "go down that road".  So then I told them that my rule in life is that you can complain about something for only so long but then you either have to do something about it or stop complaining.  I'm sure the people around the table thought "how could you say that to this poor disabled person".  Well they are a person first and they have responsibilities too and in this case the responsibility is to stand up for yourself or choose to continue to be treated like crap.  Your choice, and me taking away your rights will not fix that.  The people around this person I think are being discriminating to them because they don't think that the person has any responsibility in the situation and so therefore are treating them differently.  This I think is so wrong.  So that's my beef for the week.  Next time I promise to blog about Jacob and about our little family, the original intention of this blog.  But I hope today's reading makes you think, do I treat people differently if they have a disability?

1 comment:

CGM said...

I understand and agree with what you are saying. The disappointing thing is that this sort of "reverse discrimination" runs deep. So deep that as someone who works in the field, I have been ignored, ridiculed and even reprimanded for voicing my belief that the persons I work with have socially acceptable expectations placed on them. It's hard to change perceptions when the ideology of caregivers is so totally warped.

I will step down from my soapbox now.