Discrimination and prejudice are real. I hear story after story, with discrimination at the core, and I look for signs that it is simply the media, blowing things out of proportion for ratings.
I don’t want to believe any of it of my fellow human beings. I really don’t.
I am a woman with a visual impairment. There are plenty of stories about inequality for both women and people with disabilities to go around. I am right in the middle of it and I would like to think I could recognize it when I see it, to be able to sense someone’s true intentions.
The two big stories this week both involve cries of discrimination and there are criticisms flying from all directions.
First, there’s the story of talk show hosts on The View and the remarks made about nurses.
Second, the case of a ninth grade boy who took a clock to school for a science project and ended up having the cops called on him, for fears of a bomb threat.
I am the first to say I am a fan of nurses and the work they do. The doctors get to go on their rounds and see their patients. They make the diagnosis and prescribe treatment.
It’s the nurses who are the ones to empty bed pans and change catheters. I’ve been on the patient side of this exchange, countless times, and I appreciate them. Believe me.
I’ve had two spinal operations, a kidney transplant, and several other surgeries and procedures. I don’t include this for any other reason, but to show that I support the work nurses do. I wouldn’t have gotten through any of that without the wonderful care nurses provided me with.
This particular nurse read a monologue for the talent part of the Miss America pageant. The View ladies weren’t the first, that I heard, to comment on it. I heard the clip of her and I could not see it, but I thought it a bit ridiculous myself.
Of course alzheimer’s is a terrible illness. This woman is doing good in the world. She probably deserves little of the attention she’s gotten. I don’t know why anyone would enter those competitions in the first place, but she could expect to have people make their comments, as she was on television. I am just as offended by the existence of those competitions as nurses are of the comments made about one of their own. Why would any intelligent, hardworking woman choose to take part in an outdated ritual, when what she does for sick people every single day is more than sufficient?
As for The View, well the name of the show says it all. They are live and giving their opinions. This is not scripted TV. These co-hosts spoke up , in the moment, and you get what you get. So they did not realize nurses use stethoscopes. It was said out of humour and Joy was doing the job that show hired her to do. She is a comedian.
The question then becomes, when is comedy going too far? Who is allowed to say something controversial? I love you all, nurses, don’t forget that the next time I find myself as a patient, but you need to lighten up. I could be offended, all the time, about so many things involving blindness and disability, but I would drive myself crazy. What is someone’s intention? that is the question we should be asking.
In this case, it was scathing, but it was made about a participant in an event that many women find offensive or ridiculous. Joy is likely one of them.
Of course the apology made a few days later isn’t enough for many. Nothing else to be done, but I happen to respect Joy more than I do anyone involved in a show which goes against the feminist I guess that makes me.
Then there’s Ahmed Mohamed, the teenager who dared to bring in his science project. Did the Texas school overreact? Would they have done the same for a white, caucasian student?
It was a clock, but they feared it was more dangerous. A cloak ticks and so does a bomb? Well, okay then.
In the end, he was not in trouble with the law, just a misunderstanding. He was suspended, but has decided to transfer to another school. Can’t say I blame him. I wouldn’t want to go back either. The charges were dropped and so many supporters have stepped up.
President Obama has tweeted:
“Cool clock, Ahmed. Want to bring it to the White House? We should inspire more kids like you to like science. It’s what makes America great.”
Astronaut Chris Hadfield has invited Ahmed to be his guest at the Toronto Science Show. He’s received support from Hillary Clinton, Mark Zuckerberg, and has been invited to come to MIT.
This student is obviously smart and inventive and we need more bright and innovative youth like him in the world. He did not deserve all the attention he received. Why do we, here in North America, why do we have such a fear of other cultures and religions?
Oh yeah, 9/11 right? Too many are sullying the memory of that event and those affected, by using it as an excuse to let their prejudice out without consequence.
It’s a bunch of bull. This problem is deeply imbedded in the western world. I just hope, as we really think about it, that we can do better.
Of course, there will always be prejudice in the world and the media will always be on the lookout for the next big, sensational story. That’s the way it is. Just remember to look for someone’s intent and signs of character. And don’t take yourself quite as serious. There is enough negativity in the world, so much so that we should try to find the good, but criticism, I feel, deserves a place because we will also always want to give our opinions on the things we see going on all around us.
Today I am participating in a Friday addition of my series, which usually appears on Wednesday:
with others on a linkup.
This can be found here: