One of the many taboos that we still wrestle with in our society is our discomfort with disability. People too often find confronting disability awkward or uncomfortable — or they project their own assumptions and issues onto people with disabilities. That’s why this video from Vice is so important. “How to Treat a Person with Disabilities, According to People with Disabilities” features those living with Larsen syndrome, vocal chord paralysis, and cerebral palsy, talking about the way they’re often treated by members of the public — from aggressive questioning to assumptions to “inspiration porn”. It’s often very problematic and, sometimes, downright offensive.
“Sometimes strangers will ask questions in a way that they act like they’re entitled to my life story,” journalist Wendy Lu explains — and sometimes the questions are far more invasive and inappropriate. If you’ve ever had any questions about whether you should help someone with a visible disability, what you can and can’t ask, or just want to understand the stigma and awkwardness people with disabilities can face on a daily basis, you can check out the whole video here:
It’s startling and disheartening to hear how disrespectful and invasive some people can be when interacting with a disabled person and making assumptions. When in doubt, ask questions and be respectful — it’s just that simple.