Disability Discrimination: Innocent but Blatant

Early childhood polio left me with a noticeable obstacle, but I didn’t even hear the word “discrimination” until I was in my twenties and enthusiastically followed the civil rights movement.

This is ironic given my own life experience.

When I started kindergarten, my mother just recently kept my second brace and my half-sized arm cuff crutches. I was still wearing high-top baby shoes and equipment that helped support my foot drops. The paralysis was permanent and falls were frequent. I hadn’t dragged the two-inch foot that dominates adulthood yet. We have developed a step-step-SKIP alternative to running.

The school bully found me fascinating. He emphasized my vulnerabilities and hugged me against the playground wall with his big belly. Then he named me “Hopalong Cassidy” after the TV cowboys of the 1950s. Children from other schools have covered this for several years. I didn’t like it, but the retort only encouraged them.

The kids imitated my dragging behind me, or apparently, saying “you walk this way”. I thought “yes”. I just wanted to be like other kids. Another breach was that I grabbed my sweater, book, and lunch box, ran away with them, and shouted, “You can’t catch me!”

At the age of 11, I was in San Francisco, visiting my much older sister. We are in downtown and have been to Woolworths in search of cola. She bent over to me and said, “I had a dirty face on the woman. She was staring at you” (for my walk). I was grateful for this, but I didn’t expect people to stare at me. I attributed the taunts I endured as a child to “nasty children.” My friend responded to my disability. It was called a “handicap” until the disability rights advocates claimed their preference for “persons with disabilities.” (I don’t care which word is used. It may be pathetic for my paralysis, weakness, and dragging, but it’s not.)

As a young woman, I saw many boys not always looking for girlfriends or companions who didn’t necessarily have strong matching legs. The feeling of separation hurt me. I thought I was competent, intelligent, and equal. And this strange leg should be a feature that was overlooked (difficult for young men).

When I was in the arts major enrolling in a San Jose State University class in 1966, I had to walk to all the faculties with each class enrollment. The big campus was tired for me. The female admin quietly told me, “Did no one tell you that you could choose your class and we would handle it for you?” Is my first memory of providing public accommodation for the disabled. At grammar school, my homeroom teacher came to help and was forced to “run” the bass with a kickball. In high school, one of Jim’s teachers rebuked me for not playing basketball “like the other girls in polio school.”

But discrimination? I probably discriminated against people with disabilities more than anyone else. I didn’t want to get along with other people with disabilities. My Lameness. The emperor has no clothes to avoid reality.

At my second college stint, an accounting teacher looked at me and said, “When I apply for the Big Four accounting firms, I don’t want people who are’different’like non-white people.” talked. This was in 1976. However, Sonoma State University had a disability student service office that I thought was novel. There, I learned about parking lots for the disabled. This is later called the disabled parking lot. My second experience of encountering awareness of the needs of people with disabilities.

In my mid-30s, I helped with the seminar. There was a rope course in the workshop, but it could not be observed due to physical fragility. It disappointed me. Assistants had to report daily if there was a problem with each other. Repeatedly, kind and intelligent people told me that I felt sorry for myself, depressed and angry. I was shocked to find that people are not only thinking about my body, but also about my personality.

In the 1990s, stubborn and brave disability rights activists, mostly disabled, sought clarification of the law and enacted the Americans with Disabilities Act. This guaranteed access to buildings, education, medical care and employment.

Paradoxically, after the disability / disabled parking lot became widespread, when parking a car in middle age, well-meaning people said, “You can’t park here! This is for disabled people! They would tell me that in our subsequent exchanges I didn’t look old enough to be disabled. (Another bias: “Older people are disabled, young people are not. People with disabilities don’t care about their age.)

I didn’t want to use a scooter at a large tax conference in my 40s. I thought they were for old, fat, lazy people. I was discriminating against people who might have had the harsh physical condition that caused them to become obese. This was stupid and my own old fear of being labeled as disabled. Now I’m a scooter user. I accepted the need for help. I can go further and have more fun, and I don’t care what others think about using my assistive devices anymore.

Our “Clips” still have ways to reach true equality (although certainly not as much as colored people). People cannot help their thoughts, but people with disabilities are like others. We want to live a happy life that expresses our individual dreams and personalities, partly shaped by disability. Young people give me hope. They often open the door first for me at Starbucks. Expect them to continue to open the door to all other aspects of harmful discrimination over the next few years.

About the author Francine Folk Allen

Francine Falk-Allen, born in Los Angeles and spent almost all of her life in Northern California, fell into polio at the age of three in 1951, was hospitalized for six months, and spent most of her life as a disabled person aiming for a “norm.” I did. .. Francine has traveled around the world, even though she is dragging her partially paralyzed legs and terrible legs. She also appeared in the Nobel Prize / PBS documentary “Battle with Microbes” as the only representative of the diseases currently being eradicated by vaccines.

Her first book isn’t a child of posters: Life with Disabilities — Memoirs won gold and silver awards and was on the list of some of the best books in 2018 and 2019.Her latest book is called, spring Chicken: Wild Handicap Story and Advice on Aging and Disability

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Written by Fem Society

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