Tuesday, May 05, 2015
The Mighty and Thoughts on Prejudice
I wrote a couple years ago titled I'm Prejudiced. And So Are You and it's being featured over on The Mighty. It's an edited version but you can read it here. For those of you who don't know, The Mighty is a site dedicated to sharing stories and ultimately improving the lives of those with disease, disorder and disability. For you special needs parents you might really enjoy scrolling through these articles and reading something that pertains to you. There are a lot of pieces to read!
If you have a few minutes to read (or re-read) my prejudice post, either the original or the shortened version featured on The Mighy, I'd love to hear your thoughts. It was good to re-read my thoughts on prejudice and remember the times I had feelings of fear and anxiety in regards to disability, but of course it was also difficult. To be honest I was a little worried to share my story on such a big forum. I know this blog and The Mighty are both completely open to the world wide web, but I've always felt a certain amount of safety here. The Mighty has a mush bigger readership and I didn't want my words to be taken out of context or to be misconstrued. But that fear is exactly why I wrote the post in the first place.
While the title suggests otherwise, I do not consider myself as someone who is actively prejudiced against any group, especially those with special needs. But do I have prejudices from time to time? Yeah. Being vs. occasionally having are two different things in my opinion. So if I--a special needs mother and special needs advocate--could occasionally have those thoughts and feelings, maybe you do too. And instead of being afraid of labeling ourselves as prejudice, I hope that sharing my thoughts and feelings will allow you to feel safe enough to admit to your prejudices as well--however small and fleeting those feelings have been--so that you can change. Because even small and fleeting prejudices can have negative consequences. And when we stoically deny that we have any prejudice at all (because again, we're really afraid of that label) then we also deny the chance to examine, address and perhaps change those prejudices in the first place. I really do believe that all of us are prejudice in some way or another. Fearing and rejecting that label does us no good. Embracing and examining that label....well it might do a little good.
I'd love to hear your thoughts! Have you ever realized you were thinking or reacting in a prejudiced way? What did you do about it? Freak out and immediately shut those thoughts down? Or did you perhaps allow yourself the room and space not to judge yourself, but just to ask why and where those thoughts came from? Would anyone be brave enough to share?