Monday, February 20, 2012

Minority Report

I've been thinking more lately about what it means to belong to a minority group.

As a person with a disability, i consider myself to be a part of a social minority. It's harder to see, especially because the ideal model for educating people with disabilities is for them to be mainstreamed--put into classes with typically developing kids. Thus, you create two groups, the mainstream kids and the ones who have to be in ESE throughout their education. They're often the ones who get involved in organizations that find jobs for people with disabilities, and host events such as dances and parties for their clients.

On the other hand, you have mainstream students who have been "successful" out in the world and who could look with scorn on those organizations, because they don't think people with disabilities should have to have their own dances and parties, or need someone else to find their jobs.

But then they realize that during the time they spend with other people with disabilities, they feel safe, and they dance freely, and it's okay--because they also have their mainstream lives. How is this at all superior to the other way of life? It's not.

But I think the answer to all of this ends in the choice. If an adult can choose where they work, who they work with, what function they want to go to, then they can move in a world with both typically developing people and those with disabilities. They can learn to feel safe both places. To connect with people in both places, in different ways.

I'm not sure we're they're yet....


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