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

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

6 minutes


A friend of mine sent me this link.  It is very simple, nothing special going on in the video.  But it is also incredibly powerful in its simplicity.

The video shows a boy in a wheelchair in a crowd of children.  He is just sitting there, looking around, perhaps attempting to get attention with his looks at the other children.  However, for the entire video, no one looks at him, interacts with him, talks to him.  He might as well be a piece of furniture.

In the society of that school, that classroom, he is ignored.  I guess it is OK to ignore someone like him.  Perhaps he is perceived as having nothing to offer in terms of friendship.  Perhaps he is deemed to be too difficult to communicate with as he does use some sign language at the end of the video.  It appears obvious that he can understand speech from the way he interacts with the person who speaks with him briefly at the end.

We only see the boy for 6 minutes, and my hope, my prayer is that this was an unusual occurrance.  But I suspect it isn't, as society is reflected in that 6 minutes.  I don't accuse the children or even the teachers because I know how I am.  I know how I get busy and ignore those around me.  I have a friend with whom I should spend more time and he always provides my excuse for me when we are together.  "I know you are busy" he says, forgiving me for not being present.  Easy for me to forgive myself when I am not present to others who would appreciate my presence.

But when you see it portrayed as it is in this brief video, and see yourself in those ignoring the boy, it is difficult to forgive yourself.  Not a word, kind or otherwise.  Not a look, not an invitation to do what they were doing.  Nothing.  As if he wasn't there.  He might as well not be there from the perspective of those in that enviornment.

I, we have to do better.


Sarah said...

That video broke my heart break! At one point in the video, a lady was extremely close to the little boy - I thought she was going to talk to him. How can one be so close to someone and ignore him? What really broke my heart was his happy spirit as if the behavior of his peers and adults is tolerable and acceptable - it shouldn't be!! Absolutely heartbreaking - yes I(we) need to do better.

Erika said...

The saddest part was when the man asked are you on your own, and he gives the look as if to say yea it happens all the time.

You are right about being ignored its more the fact that not a single child as part of school or class gets within a six foot radius of his chair he might as well be in a mini jail. You dont get the impression its a one off.

Crista said...

I teach, and one of the things I tell my aids and all the new teachers is that "breathing the same air is not the same as inclusion." We must do better! The sad thing is, it is really easy to get 3rd, 4th, and 5th grade kids to engage and buddy with students. Instead they are being taught, through omission, that this is the way we are supposed to act, instead of being shown the value of working with others.