“During times of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act.” George Orwell

Friday, November 26, 2004

What are we afraid of?

Yesterday, I celebrated Thanksgiving with my in-laws among others. An interesting discussion developed with my father-in-law, Dr. Wendell Searer. Wendell pointed out how people without disability often fear persons with disability. Some reasons he suggested were
  • fear of the disability being contagious
  • fear of the unpredictable nature of the social interactions
  • fear that the person with disability might strike out in some violent fashion, particularly toward one's children
  • fear of being left alone with the disabled person and "not knowing what to do"
  • fear of the entire notion of having a disabled child

Others might also be imagined. Each of these fears are irrational in their own way, yet we allow them to persist and allow them to guide our interactions with persons with disability. The best way to dispell such fears is through direct interactions with persons with disability. Hopefully, familiarity will breed acceptance.



Heather Diaz said...

I completely agree with you that spending time with a person that is developmentally challenged will enable people to understand that there should be no fear. Unfortunately I think that many people are still unwilling to give this experience of being enlightened a chance as they may have been "tainted," by society's unaccepting view of those with a lesser mind or anything characteristic that is out of the "norm." Recently I was shocked at the misunderstandings of my grandparents and their close friend as they talked about "them," and "those people," and why I would want to waste my college experience on them. Finally the conversation ended with, "Well I guess somebody has to teach them." I, being a passive person, remained silent and felt nothing but a great sadness for the people before me that thought of themselves as higher beings.

Anonymous said...

Wow...is this the same Dr. Searer that was my pediatrician 40yrs ago in Ventura California?

Jeff McNair said...

Yes, the same Doc Searer. A wonderful man who at the moment lives with Alzheimers disease.

Anonymous said...

This is such a true blog. There are so many people in this world that fear people who have a disorder and disability. The big question is why? They are just judging from the way they look and act. How is this okay when God says in John 7:24 “Do not judge by appearance, but judge with right judgment”. Also in James 4:12 it says “there is only one lawgiver and judge, he who is able to save and to destroy. But who are you to judge your neighbor?” There are several more verses in the Bible that talk about judging. I totally agree that sitting down with someone and getting to know them helps to see that there is nothing to fear. This world is full of judgment and I know no one is perfect. I will admit that I have judged people and I know that it’s wrong. Just think about how people may see you and judge you right off the bat because to them you might seem like you have a disorder. Nobody wants to feel left out and unwanted just from the way they look. Let this blog show that everyone is special in their own way and they deserve a chance to be a friend.