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It sounds like the hapless doctor was merely trying to offer encouragement. You're ever so slightly twisting his words by inserting an "all" in there, and then trying to make his sentiment somehow culpable, even if in small part, for society's mistreatment of disabled people. That's neither fair nor practical. If even casual, well-meaning platitudes are forced to bear the full scrutiny of your substantial life experiences and associated emotional reflexes, then I fear that anyone who isn't you is better off just avoiding the topic altogether.

So, dare I ask, how should our apocryphal doctor rephrase his encouragement so as to not run afoul of these rules against sweeping or outdated expressions?




> It sounds like the hapless doctor was merely trying to offer encouragement. You're ever so slightly twisting his words by inserting an "all" in there

From the article:

"they’re such happy people."

So no, I'm absolutely not twisting anything - this statement cannot be interpreted as anything other than stereotyping. He obviously meant well, but the fact he would say this shows his own ignorance of people with Down's Syndrome.

This isn't just about my life experiences, it's about the rights of people with disabilities.

The way I see it, you are twisting my offence at your words, in an attempt to justify your discrimination (perhaps to yourself).


This is going downhill. You've constructed an impervious emotional barrier wherein people who disagree with you are not only ignorant, but acting in bad faith. Parsing that doctor's four-word verbal buoy in ever greater detail only seems to be feeding your conviction that he, and everyone else who disagrees with you, is covertly prejudiced. This doesn't affect me, and nobody asked my opinion anyway, so believe what you want.

The real risk to you is that you end up alienating people who are otherwise completely on your side (and your daughter's side), and whose help or support you (and she) may benefit from. For no good reason.

I notice you didn't answer my question.


> I notice you didn't answer my question

Not directly no: IMO, the doctor should have educated, rather than patronised (however well-meant) - for example, he could have explained how incredibly better outcomes are for those with DS nowadays. (another posted here commented on this too).

> The real risk to you is that you end up alienating people who are otherwise completely on your side (and your daughter's side), and whose help or support you (and she) may benefit from. For no good reason.

So, I am normally careful not to do this, and favour educating people over attacking them, precisely because they mean no malice with the stereotypes they help to enforce. Before I became a father, I knew little of DS, or indeed the lives of those with disabilities, and undoubtedly harboured some of the same stereotypes, simply out of ignorance.

I may have let my emotions run away a bit in this thread (sorry, it's been a difficult week...), but I still believe we need to stop thinking it's OK to to enforce false stereotypes of large groups of people. We've made huge progress on gender equality, racial equality, religious equality, sexual equality and gender identity - I think it's time we did some of the same for the rights of people with disabilities.

This is a difficult problem to solve, but I believe a good start would be to better integrate children with disabilities into mainstream schooling. Of course, there are some children that are not going to thrive in mainstream education, and better prosper in a specialised setting - but there is a large group who can thrive in mainstream education with only a minimum of accomodations being made. This would help to make those with disabilities less invisible, and typical kids would learn from a very young age that we are all just people, and not so different.


If it were demonstrably true that Down's folks are a happier-than-average lot, would statements like the doctor's still rub you the wrong way? Is it the sweeping nature of such a statement that makes it offensive, as much as falsity?




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