“It’s been very stressful,” said 32-year-old Mitchell, who says his job as a greeter is being eliminated in Alabama. He has done the job for four years. “It gives me a place to go every day, where I’m not sitting at home. I’m not one of these people in the wheelchair that want to draw Social Security. I’m able to work; I want to work; I want to be out in society.”
As I was reading my FB Newsfeed, I came across a very disturbing article from NPR, which highlights how important support can be for the disability community, one which openly discriminates against people with disabilities. You, like myself, may have heard that Wal-Mart has decided to replace their store greeters, many of whom have disabilities with “customer hosts”, who are required to do things that may make be impossible for them. The article is in the following link, https://www.npr.org/2019/02/25/696718872/walmart-is-eliminating-greeters-workers-with-disabilities-feel-targeted, but I think that this story is a part of a bigger problem, one that wont go ways or change without communication inside our communities. This isn’t about me, I’m one of the lucky ones who does his job very well, this is about those who aren’t.
I’m vividly reminded of an episode of Switched at Birth where the chef in charge does the minimum to accommodate Daphne, one of the main characters in the show, who just happens to be deaf, which is what the actor is in real life. The growth the character has during the course of the series shows the highs and lows of living with a disability can be. The Blind Bandit known as Toph from Avatar: The Last Airbender is another example of someone who was thought to be looked down on but yet still reached heights no one ever saw coming, not ever her (bad pun there, but the point still stands.) I’m also reminded of how one small social misunderstanding was blown out of proportion and caused a late friend to lose his job, fall into depression and finally take his own life.
My point in writing this post is to highlight how people tend to look at people with disabilities, how much people can underestimate us, how weird we seem to them, how we do things and how they do things are different but our way is looked as wrong compared to our neurotypical counterparts. Another thing to take away from this post is to show how crucial support (and communication, as I mentioned in an earlier post) can be in the grand scheme of things. There’s a lot of pressure we put on ourselves to master skills, to fit into your world, nuerotypicals, just know that we are trying as best as we can, all we ask is for support and understanding as we (you and we) build bridges, friendships and communities together.
Just know that we can succeed with your help, just know that even the smallest victories, no matter how small they seem to be, no matter whom, can mean so much to those us, as the above article shows:
We all want to be a part of the American Dream, but how can we do so actively if we’re not actively involved, so just be kind, be compassionate, be understanding to those who have a disability so we can all, collectively…