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Bringing in different aspects into the ideal disabled world + Word Analysis

Chewy Charis's picture

Sorry for posting so late!!   :(  

I really like the piece by Wong because it feels so real to me. As someone who has experience with taking care of a family member who is disabled, I had felt that the discussions we were having were overly optimistic because there was no emphasis on social-economical status as well as racial/ cutural difference. Dispite the frequent use of the word "retarded," I felt like this was one of the pieces that spoke most to me because in my culture, disability is indeed often seen as shameful and sad (as seen in the translated terms below). By acknowledging that having a disabled person in the family does make the situations more difficult at times, that having a disabled person in the family does limit what the family members can do, we can begin to see the positive side of disability and the value of the disabled person more realistically.  

Similar Project about disability story telling:

Photo series that are taken for a volunteer trip visiting some kind of institution for mentally/ interllectually disabled children:

This series is so bad but so typical. Looking at them, I feel like laughing and crying at the same time. Do you see the banners in the pictures? Yes, when people volunteer, they actually have banners! Also, Let me translate the banners: Paying attention to intellectually disabled children, gathering hearts of gratitude. Whose gratitude? The disabled children. Or citizens. Gratitude to whom? Volunteers. Or obviously, the goverment that funds the establishment of an institution for the disabled. (I can't really tell if it's a hospital, orphanage, or school.)

Translated Terms: I google translated the terms "disabled person" and "intellectually disabled people" in Chinese. Then I break down the phrases into characters/words. The same term means "mentally retarded" and "intellectually disabled" . "disabled" means "incomplete" + "disease". But usually, these meanings don't come up when you use the words (the same way as you would not start analyzing the latin roots of the words you are using). In fact, these are considered very neutral terms; otherwise people who are trying to show how altruistic they are won't be using them.


Kristin's picture

How interesting that "disabled" uses the characters for "incomplete" + "disease!" And I love the photos of the heroic charitable expedition, banners and all. As you suggest, it's important to recognize that in many cultures, sub-cultures, and families, disability is indeed perceived as shameful and sad, and that disability often does, in fact, limit or reshape what individuals and families can do. We can embrace the notion of disability gain and at the same time recognize the reality of shame, sadness, and limitation.