I keep watching these videos and they make me cry

Posted on Jul 16, 2016 | 1 comment

Either I am really hormonal or there is something genuinely wrong with how people view disability. Or both. Maybe it's both.

I keep watching videos in my Facebook feed about people with disabilities being accepted -- not being accepted despite their disabilities but because of their normal "I am actually a human being just like you" qualities.

(Because, you know what? They are actually human beings... Yes, I know! It's crazy isn't it? They love and cry and want friends and eat ice cream when they are supposed to eat apples, just like you.)

The first one was the promo trailer for Channel 4's Paralympic broadcasting from Rio later this summer. Now you could argue that the title "We're the Superhumans" completely negates my point, and to be frank, I find the idea patronising that people with disabilities are "heroes". Whether placing them above or below a pedestal, people are still breathing a sigh of relief at how different disabled people are from them. Suck it up, people.

(Just as parents of special needs children are also not "heroes" just parents. That's all I am. A parent.)

That said, the promo blew me away. It was a complete feast for the eyes. I was totally enthralled. And then, towards the end, when it stopped showing athletes and just showed, you know, normal people doing normal things -- well, that's when I got a sudden allergy to pollen or something.

Then, the very next day, I saw this video of a man who dares to include disabled people in his acrobatic classes. I use the word "dare" because the implication is that no one else does this. Which is sadly, probably true. But, then... well, just wait til you get to the end of this one because again, some bug or something landed in my eye.

I featured a little girl with cerebral palsy dancing ballet with a very serious dance company on BabyCenter earlier this year. Why did it make a good feature? Because it doesn't happen. Of course it should happen because almost all the little girls I know want to be ballerinas and almost all the little girls I know will never be professional ballerinas, but that doesn't stop them from joining dance studios in droves. Why should it stop a child with disabilities?

So, yes -- these are all inspirational stories. But, truly, we will only have made progress when they are boring. When they stop feeling exceptional because they only appear on my Facebook feed. When no one clicks "like" because disabled people are considered so every day, no one cares.

That is my dream.


Email contact.stacie@gmail.com | Twitter @stacie_writes | Mama Lewis on Facebook | Work with Stacie @ The Write Consultancy

Photo of Bailee dancing ballet brought to you by her mother Emily at Knock Knock Mommy. YouTube videos by Channel 4 and AJ+.

One Comment

  1. I loved the Paralympic video too, and wondered what others thought about it. Glad to know my instincts were ok.

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