Equality for All

March 8, 2012
The day she was born was one of the most spectacular events of my life. Her almond shaped eyes, little smooth nose, flattened thumb, and space between her toes made her seem even more exceptional to me. Though her twin sister was born without any complications, Lucia was born with Down syndrome. Imagine being born with two heart murmurs, one a slit the size of a dime and one the size of a full dime, a backwards Aortic arch, and two ligaments, which should not even exist, wrapped around your esophagus. Imagine that aside from medical conditions, you participate in physical therapy for three years, occupational therapy for three years, and speech therapy for most of your lifetime. Besides the fact that you have endured these circumstances, every day is a constant battle. People avoid you, they treat you differently. They discreetly mock you and use the name of your disability as an impertinent insult to deride others. Now imagine this child with disabilities is your sister. And you stand by and watch people discriminate her on a daily basis. What kind of person victimizes a child with disabilities? A child who could not possibly control their lifestyle? You would be surprised.

The Declaration of Independence states that “all men are created equal.” In our modern society, every person applies this principle to their lives, and they demand equality. So why is it that people with disabilities are treated differently? Are they an exception to the Declaration of Independence? I think not. The vulgar and offensive terms and jokes I hear on a daily basis are disrespectful and completely unnecessary. People don’t realize that these people with medical conditions they mock are part of our society. If we give them a chance, they are highly beneficial to our community. They don’t realize that being prejudiced against people with these conditions is nearly the same as discriminating against different races. Discriminating against people who are different, calling them names, avoiding them, mocking them. Do you see the similarities between racism and inequality to the disabled? In my personal experience, there are many people in our lives that avoid the disabled. For example, my own sister has been neglected by children at the park because parents don’t want their children playing with a “different child.” Also, babysitting facilities, at a gym for example, have turned down my sister because of her Down syndrome. People with these conditions face obstacles more often than most of the people in our society. Rather than accepting a child with disabilities into your family, many families reject the blessing. There are thousands of children with disabilities in orphanages across the nation. On the other hand, some babies with disabilities don’t even get a chance at life. Approximately 80% of women who received a diagnostic about a child with Down syndrome aborted their pregnancy.

If asked, most people would say that there should be no exceptions to their equality. They would defend themselves to assure that they are being treated equally among others. But in reality, not everyone is treated equally. There are those with disabilities such as Down syndrome, Autism, Dwarfism, or even more common conditions such as psoriasis. The list of disabilities goes on and on. Besides the fact that people with these conditions struggle on a daily basis, they are critically judged by others. These people are judged, made fun of even, over aspects of their life that they cannot control. Many of the people who throw around the rude terms and comments deriding people with disabilities would agree that they’re just “messing around” or “not being serious,” but I know what it is like to be on the other end of the line. People claim that their lives are just as difficult. They think that they can say whatever they want because their lives are also complicated and filled with obstacles. But I know that this kind of treatment is considered bullying, an unacceptable yet frequent problem in our societies. Aside from these people that are harassed every day, each year, there are about 2.7 million children being bullied in the United States. I’ve witnessed the sweetest and gentlest people with medical conditions feel left out. They have feelings, they can understand you, and they realize when you are “stepping on them to make yourself higher.” Avoiding and judging people with these imparities is in no way improving our society. In my opinion, the only way to improve our society is to accept these people, and become more loving in our communities.

In our modern lives, people demand respect. They fight for it. Violence is commonly aroused in spite of respect. In many cases, respect is unevenly distributed. Respect is given to those who are considered “popular”, “social”, or “normal.” In a perfect society, everyone would receive respect. Rather than discreetly mocking people who don’t understand the “joke,” we would mutually care for each other, and give kindness to those who deserve it the most. Perhaps we could use words of compassion and sympathy rather than throwing around terms to make fun of people who cannot even control the way they were born.

In conclusion, if anyone deserves to be treated with fairness and equality, it would be people with disabilities. There are nearly 43 million people with disabilities born each year. They are a part of our society, yet many people, including their peers, mistreat them. If there is anything we can do to improve our society, it would be to show more acceptance to everyone.





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