Monday, January 21, 2008

The danger of the Patronizing Tone

I sent a copy of Dave Hinsburger’s blog today to several friends, and got a varied response. He himself got varied view of replies. I would like to clarify my views.
First, please read his blog for today:
(again, this does not mean that I give tacit approval of everything that he says or is. But he is a very articulate champion of rights for the mentally challenged.)

He is speaking very forcefully, to get a point across.
Many in the disability community, tired of being lumped together with the R*****, have made the mistake that Dave so aptly points out: this tone is not suitable for anyone. And even though the old lady did not mean any harm (read Dave carefully, he says “That old lady thought she was being nice.”), the tone was patronizing. (She could have asked in a normal voice: “Is there anything you need help with?”)
And while many of us look at that patronizing tone as a benign problem, I am saying that it isn’t. This tone, and the underlying attidude beneath it, has led many youth with intellectual handicap down a dangerous road.

The road where I am worth less, and need to be pampered.

The road where I can act as I please, even if I am being anti-social, as no one will tell me to act normal.

The road where I do not need to try, as nothing is expected of me anyway.

The road where I am led to not try to learn to watch out for myself, as others will do it for me. (But when the others aren’t around we can run into BIG trouble.)

The road where teachers are not held accountable when they fail to teach, as long as they are “loving”.
And that is why I think that in his post, the point, although forcibly made, was one that needed to be heard

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