Results 1 to 8 of 8

Thread: just venting about neighbors' comments . . .

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    Posts
    420

    Default just venting about neighbors' comments . . .

    Hi all,

    We were hanging out with neighbors last night for NYE, and one mom who is an architect started on some riff about how it would be far cheaper to stop including ramps and other accomodations in buildings and just give a wheelchair to everyone who works there. (No thought to people like my son, who can't handle a lot of stairs but doesn't need a wheelchair . . . and apparently no thought to people who disabilities who don't work in the building but might need to go there once in a while.) Another mom sneered "oh, but that would make them *different,* and you can't do *that* . . . ." She launched into a *************** session about the students at the university where she's a high-level administrator, who cost the university so much money with their demands for "special treatment." For example, the Deaf student who wanted a sign-language interpreter or live transcription system for the classroom, and refused to rely only on transcripts printed up after class. (Like it was unreasonable for him to want to be able to interact with a professor in exchange for his tuition!)

    I walked out of the room and pretended to be interested in a football discussion going on in the kitchen, because the blood was pounding in my ears and I was afraid I'd blow my top. I was hurt and angry but also just amazed by their ignorance. In their privileged positions of never having even considered the possibility of having a family member with disabilities (and, I have to add, their privileged positions of having babies whenever they want them, at perfectly spaced intervals . . . and teasing me and dh about "stopping at one," as though we made an unfettered choice . . . ), they can sneer at the desire of people with SN to participate in life just like anyone else. If my architect neighbor had a disabled child who felt self-conscious about the way he walks, I sincerely doubt that she'd be willing to tell him to use a wheelchair he doesn't need because a ramp is a waste of money. My university neighbor probably wouldn't sneer at a disabled college student's desire to "fit in" (and get an education) if it were her kid -- but it doesn't even occur to her with her "perfect" children. It's a whole other layer of ignorance that they were venting about this with me in the room, but I don't even care so much about that. Because Evan's disabilities are mild, it's almost like we're "undercover" and get to see people's true colors.

    I didn't confront any of them. Should I? We live in a very close-knit
    neighborhood in the sense that we see each other and hang out casually a lot, but it's not like these are close friends of mine who hurt my feelings. My view is that they revealed themselves to be nasty and ignorant and small-minded, so now I know to keep my son away from them as much as possible.

    Anyway, I mostly just wanted to vent to people who understand. My dh did not hear the conversation at all, so he came home from the party saying "that was really nice and low-key," and was astonished when I spewed venom.

    Oh, and, happy new year everyone!

    Lisa

  2. #2
    pepperlc is offline INCIIDer - A Community Creator
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Posts
    6,365

    Default

    Wow that is pretty bad. But I am amazed at what others say and how insensitive people can be. I think you really need to evaluate their friendship. If they try to keep up the friendship after you ignore them, you need to tell them how hurtful their comments were.

    I had one woman say things near me right after I lost my twins at 22 weeks. No thought ot how it might hurt me. It took me many years to forgive it but I haven't forgetten.

    hugs
    k

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Posts
    541

    Default

    I am so sorry. You did the better thing by walking away. Although it would have taken every fiber in my being not to slap them into next week. I guess in a way you are lucky as you got to see who they really are, not who they pretend to be in this little exchange. If it were me, I would be coolly polite and attend only a few functions where any of them are going to be. You cant isolate yourself completely, but you can now better pick who to hang around the cupcake table at the July 4 block party.

    So sorry to start the new year on such a note. Just curious, what did your dh think when you told him about the "conversation"?

  4. #4
    BriNJ is offline INCIIDer - A Community Creator
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Posts
    1,266

    Default

    Ugh, just ugh. Im a college professor and I've heard variations of this- and have had pretty good dialogues with my students about it. I've learned alot from them- and its a messy issue with good points on all sides. The good news though is that most people do think that everyone has a right to be part of society.

    The reality is that a very small % of the population DOES cost a very large amount of money. And people know that. Without personal experience, people are very likey to see it as a money and resource issue. And from thier point of view, yes, it can cost alot of money to provide accomodations. And when money is limited- as it always is- its hard to accept that money has to go for accomodations for a few at the cost of not providing for the many. Thats reality. And its a hard reality for many to swallow. A close friend of mine has a child with significant special needs and she demands that he gets what is best for him. BUT... she then is upset when her non-special needs son cannot have whats best for him. Someone always gets hurt in this situations- unfort. we dont live in a world where everyone can get what they need.

    Even with parents and family members of children with disabilities will vary on what thier priorities are. Give the same amount of money, everyone has thier own preference in how its spent and who gets accomodations and who doesnt. Its all really based on personal experience and that makes it messy.

    As a prof. I have had numerous students with special needs of what type or another. Actually, my philosophy is that all of my students have special needs, lol, because well- we all know what college students are like, right? We'll all been 18 and many of us dont want to be 18 again! As of right now, the whole accomodations issue is a battle at the higher education level-the first real test is NOW- as students with disabilities make it to college... and there is alot of dissent as to the idea of accomodations without destroying value... but I digress. And what the administrator was saying... it can cost much more then a years tuition to accomodate one student with disabilities. Im not saying I agree with her opinion, but when you have to make the decision to cut an entire program or service in order to spend the money elsewhere, its upsetting to anyone who gets hurt. Someone always does

    As for your neighbor, I'd let it go and just be prepared if it comes up again. You can have friends that you disagree with on major issues- you just learn to deal with it. But that doesnt mean that YOU dont speak out if they bring it up again. You do state your pc. And you may be suprised that they didnt think about the idea of hidden needs... I never understood how important elevators were to "healthy" people til I had a heart condition and had to work in a bldg with NO elevators! Wow, it took me forever to get up the 4flights of stairs (old old bldg). Id like to think Im sensitive but honestly, there were lots of things I never thought about til I had personal experience with them. If it still bugs you and you cant let go of it- bring it up the next time you chat- oh remember when you said xxxx... then put in your opinion. But like politics, pregnancy etc- there are many different opinions. I wouldnt ignore them, but I would feel that I have the right to state my opinion if it comes up. You said yourself that you are social with them but not close to them- so stay that way.

    Id be angry too, but I know that we have had unique experience in this- and though we know *we* are right, we do need to see the other side, what other people experience/believe/think/feel. And we do have to acknowledge that even though its only right and fair to provide accomodation, it does come at a cost to others... distasteful as that is to think about

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    Posts
    420

    Default

    Thanks, all! Yeah, for all the time we spend hanging out on front stoops and chatting, getting pizza and whatever, in this neighborhood, this is going to stay a "small talk" friendship. Although knowing myself, I will not even be able to keep up the facade of small talk. There may yet be a full airing of views .... Or more likely some snide comment from me when my son needs help climbing stairs in front of her.

    My dh actually had a lightbulb go off when I told him about the conversation, because he had overheard a tiny snippet of university-admin's dh telling the architect that she was insane, because buildings are supposed to accomodate people and people shouldn't have to accomodate buildings. This apparently happened after I left the room, and my dh didn't get the context until I filled in the first part for him. Gee, I wonder what the admin's dh thought about *her* position?!

    Bri, thanks for the insight into the weighing of the cost of SN at the university level. You're right, given limited resources there are real issues. And I suppose that I might still have gagged, but not turned purple, had the discussion been a real one. But the sneer that started off the administrator's riff -- the "oh, but that would make them *different,* and we can't have *that*" sneer -- set the tone of contempt.

    Lisa

  6. #6
    Reese14 is offline INCIIDer - A Community Creator
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Posts
    3,415

    Default You handled it correctly

    and you've said it eloquently...."in their priviledged positions..."

    Nobody, nobody, nobody understands what it is like to have a SN kid unless they live with one. I have a friend with a DS just like mine, and we talk about this all the time...all the perfect life people who don't have a clue about the challenges other's face in raising a SN child.

    I don't think there was anything you could have possibly said to make them understand. I just ignore ignorant comments. People aren't going to change their thought process. And you can bet your bottom dollar that if these loud mouths had a SN kid, they would be advocating and stomping on everyone to get their way. (Which, we all should, just saying, the loud mouths would move moutains for THEIR OWN benefit.)

    Glad you bit your tongue til it bled and took the high road.

    Vent to us all you want. We get it. We SO get it.

  7. #7
    Troy is offline INCIIDer - A Community Creator
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    Posts
    2,474

    Default

    My FIL managed the renovation of his church and while it was ongoing he complained constantly about having to make it ADA compliant -- and then, when it was finished, he sheepishly told us what a great thing it was to have a real elevator because no one used it more than he did. I mean, the building thing is especially crazy for the reasons the other person said -- lots of people need to navigate a building, whether it's with strollers or wheelchairs. And a compliant building is also almost always a safer building during emergencies (wider hallways, easier to open doors, etc.).

    The other issue is more complex, but starting with the proposition that those who are "different" are less worthy is obnoxious.

  8. #8
    chris s is offline INCIIDer - A Community Creator
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Posts
    799

    Default You handled it well....I tend to be rather

    outspoken, and I know that there are a number of neighbors that I don't hang out with because of it. I also know that even though DS is very high functioning we don't get invited to neighborhood kids' things in part b/c of his dx. Whatever, it is their loss, but sometimes it hurts.
    ((hugs))
    Chris

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •