Media Uncomfortable with Disability

Cyberbullying and students with disabilities
January 5, 2017
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Media Uncomfortable with Disability

John Robinson giving presentation

John Robinson

By John Robinson –  January 5, 2017 posted on Huffington Post.
I posted this last week after the horrible events in Chicago. I’m angry enough about the treatment, the bullying of people with disabilities in society. But four days later, still angry – almost outraged – at the coverage. Do you know in four days I have not seen one panelist, a person with a disability represented to talk about this? There have been numerous African-American panelists put in horrible positions to defend, but not one person with a disability?
And today-less than 24 hours after Meryl Streep points out the abhorrent mocking of a person with a disability by Donald Trump which happened last year-you would think there might be a person with a disability discussing this? Not one. Actors, media people, African-American – no PwD.  Shame on you NBC, MSNBC, CNN, ABC and CBS. And, shame on Huffington Post. I’m embarrassed in my former profession.
Our televisions and Internet space will be littered with people talking about disability, but not one will be a person with a disability!  Disgusting
Some people believe racism is the worst thing in America today, I disagree. It’s not racism, it is hate. Racism is only part of the larger problem. But, racism sells advertising, turns on television and fuels social media. What happened in Chicago Tuesday is hatred, pure and simple. Man hating man for being different.
I turned on the TV Thursday morning to hear of an individual with a disability being tortured by four individuals, broadcast live on Facebook, beaten, showered with cigarette ashes, tortured with a knife, cut and bound. The four individuals were shouting anti-Trump references and disparaging the individual because he is white. The four are African-American. There is no doubt there is some racism in this story. But, at its core the abuse happened because it is allowed. Hatred in this country is allowed. We are never asked to look to our enemies, those that are different and see the human inside. Everything in our society is pushing us back towards where we were 100 years ago, when African-Americans were segregated and individuals with disabilities were institutionalized. Or, worse. When 200 years ago, African-Americans were slaves and individuals with disabilities were killed.
There is no punishment that fits. Those four individuals will grow up the rest of their lives hating and resenting people with disabilities. There is just no other way humanly possible to undo that hatred, if it is inside already. There should have been education early that ALL differences should be celebrated. Including disability!
Whether it be a lifetime in jail or community service, those four individuals will forever resent that individual with a disability for their disability. They will always justify in some way their activity as acceptable because of the difference. I know this, because at our core people justify their hatred of others. We cannot live in another person’s shoes. White does not understand what it’s like to be black and vice versa.
If I were God for a day, I’d find a way for those four to learn this lesson. Jail is not good enough. They should be made to live together, pair off and marry each other. Sterilized so they cannot have children of their own and made to raise other children with special needs. Or, not sterilized and the children they are blessed with, and yes I used blessed on purpose for all children are a blessing, are born as individuals with disabilities. Only then will these four people truly understand discrimination.
I cannot play God. Nor, should those four in their beatings.
This is a horrible story in and of itself but it doesn’t truly reflect what’s going on until you look at the media aspect. Watching CNN and NBC Thursday was more than eye-opening to today’s society look at hate. They talked ad nausea about Donald Trump and our new America, but glossed over this hate crime. They approached this as racism. And, they missed an opportunity. I shouldn’t be surprised, the media has missed many opportunities to see the big picture of late.
NBC never talked about the individual with a disability as a person. The only mention was that the person was shaken up and reunited with their parents. Really? CNN had a panel at 6:50 AM this morning and invited an African-American woman presumably there to stick up for African-Americans. What a horrible position CNN put her in. To her credit, she called out these four individuals. But not surprisingly, CNN had no individual with a disability representative on the panel. No parent of a child with a disability or national advocate. Certainly, there is somebody in Chicago that deals with individuals with disabilities who could speak to this daily.
But, this is the America we live in. We would rather look at racism as the major problem because it’s a good story. When the story is pure hatred. Hatred of other people who are different. Cain verses Able. The oldest story there is. I am ashamed today.
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