We Must Not Allow This Behavior Towards Disabled People to Be 'Normalized'


Beyond basic human decency, there is a very personal reason I hate Trump for mocking a disabled reporter (and I do mean hate).

About two years ago, I was at a fabric store with my longtime friend. While she used the restroom, I waited nearby. I’m autistic and rock and flap my hands for various reasons. So I was rocking and flapping (craft stores are sensory nightmares) and heard a giggle nearby. Nothing new. I ignored it. More giggling, and then I heard a stage whisper.

“Retard!”

I glanced covertly and saw two women watching me, covering their smiles and giggles with their hands. They appeared to be mother and daughter. The elder was maybe in her late 60s and the younger in her 40s. They continued to watch me and whisper to each other for some time. They got no reaction from me and walked away.

I said nothing because when I get passionate or flustered, my mouth has a way of not saying what I want it to. I believe these kinds of people want to see they hurt you. They get off on it, I think. Their name-calling didn’t particularly hurt me, because I’ve heard it before as a child and an adult. It’s exhausting to always be fighting ignorant people who aren’t ever going to change their minds. Those women wouldn’t have cared what I said. To them I was and would always be a “retard.”

I believe Trump’s actions help make people who harbor these thoughts feel emboldened. Emboldened, they become louder, meaner, and sometimes violent. These actions must not be normalized.

If you see something, say something. “I know you are, but what am I?” has been effective and funny in my experience. “I bet your mother is ashamed of you” is also fun.

Protect the ones around you. Don’t let victimization happen near you. If I’m too tired to fight, I hope someone near me will fight for me. Call bullies and cowards out in their bulls**t. Show them you won’t back down. Make the world a little better through your actions.

Editor’s note: This story reflects an individual’s experience and is not an endorsement from The Mighty. We believe in sharing a variety of perspectives from our community.

Spread the Word to End the Word! You can head here to pledge to stop using the R-word. It’s a step toward creating more accepting attitudes and communities for all people.

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