Today we were shown a collection of photographs and asked to individually make notes of our thoughts and feelings. Each photo was different, and contained powerful images of individuals, and groups in a variety of situations. Once the task was complete, we discussed our thoughts and feelings for each picture. The small group expressed the same thoughts and feelings for nearly all of the images. However, the class discussions led to several debates. An image of a children’s TV presenter brought about a huge debate. The presenter had no forearm and the remainder of her arm was displayed. I am shocked and completely stunned at one class member’s comment she stated, “The young woman should not be displaying her ‘stump’ as it made her feel sick, and she should not be on a children’s TV programme, as the children would be frightened”
I found her comment offensive, admittedly, I feel very angry and upset that someone would publicly display their disgust towards anyone with a disability. I am unable to comprehend the level of insensitivity that poured from her mouth. Her body language and facial expressions showed her to be completely defensive to any challenge against her point of view. Her behaviour irritated me even more, as it showed immaturity. I would expect a child to screw their face up, fold their arms and sigh if they were being challenged; not an adult. Would she ask a person with a facial disfigurement to cover their face if she didn’t like the look of it? I think not. This highlights the prejudice people with a disability face.
There were many people challenging her views, some louder than others. I have been discriminated against due to an invisible disability and have witnessed the detrimental impact it has on others. This is the reason I am so angry. It is not very nice to be excluded in a place where you spend the majority of your day. It is not very nice to be made to feel different and be treated as such. It is possibly the most hurtful isolating situation I have ever experienced and all because of a long term condition I have no control over. I did not ask to be treated differently. It is the attitude of others who change and not the person being labelled.
It was as if the classroom debate showed the person with the ignorant views to be similar to an ex colleague who treated me differently and this is why I am so upset but I think it is more to do with my own personal values. I cannot fathom what her motives were as she made several comments today that were offensive.
The presenter being on a children’s programme has been one of great debate in the media. However, a child is not born being discriminatory. Children are naturally inquisitive and if they ask awkward questions about individual differences. As adults we should be answering them in an honest and positive manner. I can only applaud the BBC for giving this young woman the position based on her presenting abilities. It educates children about...