NOTE: The first part of this post is a composit from several previous posts, which I am reposting in honor of the "stop the R-word campaign. FOLLOWING it, is an entirely new post, somewhat related.
I was in nursing school when the word "mongoloid" was still used freely for Down's syndrome, and it was used as a slur as well. Eventually they used other phrases. But ANY word which is used for the mentally disabled, whether it is "Mongoloid", "Moron", "imbecile", or "retard", or "full retard" WILL eventually be used to hurt and slander people. Because people feel that the intellectually challenged are worth less. They cost money. The intellectually disabled community is discriminated against to the point that most fetuses with Down syndrome are aborted.
I think that our main thrust has to be at PROMOTING rights and respect for the disabled. We have to support the closure of large institutions where the "clients" are treated as numbers, not people. (If an institution is so big that they don’t have a say in what they eat for breakfast, they have lost their rights to be an INDIDUAL.) We have to encourage and support places that hire the intellectually disabled. We have to protest when someone calls a teen with Down syndrome a nick-name fit for a three year old. We have to encourage our child’s right to make certain choices.
I have a dream:
I HAVE A DREAM that one day people will see my daughter, and see HER, not her diagnosis.
I have a dream that one day my daughter will be able to walk the street without being subjected to stares.
I have a dream that someday “retarded”, “imbecile”, and “moron” will be a simple description of intelligence, and not an insult.
I have a dream that the world will value people for being created in the image of G-d, and not for what they earn.
I have a dream that the government will someday have the foresight to realize that educating special needs children and adults to be independent is less costly than supporting non-independent adults, and act on that knowledge.
I have a dream that adults with Down syndrome will get a reasonable salary for the work that they do.
I have a dream that people will one day realize that my daughter is not just a burden, a “cosmic mistake”, but that she adds to the value of our lives and society.
And the only way to reach this dream is to wake up, and take a stand, as Rosa Parks did one day, and say “I am a person, oh not so different than you.”
T he Most Terrible Crime: “They should never have been born.”
If you will go to this article by Rosa Monckton, you will get a picture about what it is like to be a baby with Down syndrome in Bulgaria. And last year we saw on the news about the same type of thing, if I remember clearly, in Rumania.
Now we all understand that this type of situation is terrible. A live person should be given a chance to live and succeed. But it is caused by the attitude of “They should never have been born.” And this is the same attitude that is prevalent in 90% of American young couples, if you read abortion statistics. So are we really any much better here in the US?
And who says that only the perfect deserve life?
And even those of us who believe that our kids do deserve life… we are SO busy making them “better”. (Don’t get me wrong, I do the same.) I wonder sometimes if it is because we are really working to help them enjoy life, or is some of this big effort is not fuelled by our desire to show the world:
“See “Sammy” run. See what he can do. See that he is human and valuable.”
I admit to sometimes cringing when I see a person with severe intellectual ability. I shouldn’t, but I do. I admit to not being where I would want to be. Can we give value not only to the cute 3 year-old with Down syndrome, but also to a severely-impaired 30 year old? If we can’t, than we are also guilty, on some level, of “They should never have been born.”