I hope you are all well. I have been trying to write this post for a while now, in fact, I have sat down to write it about 3 times. I have been struggling with a comment that I keep running into, and the only way to change things is to bring them up and have those tough conversations. Education is key to change, and that is what I work for.
The comment that I keep running into and have for a while is. “I really need to get out there and do x y z, if you can do it there really is no excuse why I can’t” I usually get these comments around things like snowboarding, golfing, making YouTube videos etc.. The thing that these things all have in common is that a lot of people do not think that it is possible for a blind person to do.
In most cases, I am sure that people do not even realize what they are saying. When you make that statement you are saying “well since you are less than me, I should be able to do it with no problem and no excuses”.
I want to inspire people to do things out of their comfort zone and push the barriers that we feel exist. However, I do not believe that I am less than anyone. I think that language is a very powerful thing and we need to be aware of what our words say in someone else’s head.
We hear this comment a lot even in media, like the commercial where they show a bunch of athletes with disabilities doing things and it says at the end “what is your excuse”, now I am not a rocket scientist but how is that ok. Really take a moment and think about what that statement says about people with disabilities. How would that make you feel if that was you, and someone looked you in the eye and said that statement?
It goes to the same thing when people say someone is inspirational for doing a mundane task like putting on makeup, getting dressed by themselves or taking the bus. These things are not inspirational at all. These are normal everyday tasks that we are more than capable of completing.
I think the one thing that I want people to understand is that people with disabilities are equal on every level and your language can be very powerful in both a positive and a negative way.