Criminalize Dehumanizing People with Disabilities

If you deny someone their equal rights you deny them their freedom, and for that you should face criminal charges.

This happens all to often in the world of disability. I’ve seen it, endured it, fought it, and will fight it until the end of my days.

If you are going to treat someone with a disability as if their humanity is less whole than yours, you should be charged with a crime. If you are going to treat people with disabilities as if each and everyone of them is a cottage industry for you to profit from, same thing, criminal charges should be brought to bear and if you are convicted you can do the community service by going to jail. In other words, leave the community.

I hear many things from many people on many fronts, particularly in the world of people like me who live with brain injuries. Sometimes I can reveal my sources, sometimes not. Sometimes discreetness is the wisest choice, sometimes in your face is. I am willing to play both cards if I genuinely believe doing so will further equal rights and or hold accountable those who willfully deny others their equal rights.

Here is an example that typifies a lot of what goes on. I know someone who lived with a brain injury. She is extremely bright and nobody’s fool. Were she in a coma she could likely outwit 99 percent of the people I know. Anyway, she was attending a day program and made it known she wanted to get a part time job. So the program tells this woman that they will clear out a little office space they have and set it up with candy and soda that she can sell a few hours a week and she can keep some of the money. This woman said to me, “Do they think I’m stupid or what? Do they think I don’t know that the only reason they’re offering this is so they can bill for the hours I’m in selling their damned candy?” In other words, all this Albany-based provider cared about was not losing the money they would lose if this woman had a part time job in the, wait for it, community!

There was a time in life when I believed that in everyone’s heart of hearts there rested an active or untapped reservoir of compassion for others. Wrong. There are plenty of people that simply don’t care, not at all. And they are the ones that need to be exposed,  criminally charged when possible, and given a leave of absence from the community, and if not the community, a permanent leave of absence from working in an arena designed to help people reach their maximum level of independence.

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