>This video that came from a show called “What Would You Do?” has been floating around in my head for a while. Basically the show thinks of situations that make people feel all kinds of uncomfortable, then gets actors to play them out and watches what passing Joe Blows do about what’s happening. The subject of this one is what would you do if you saw someone belittling or harassing someone in a wheelchair? For the most part, it’s awesome because it points out stupid, annoying and downright unhelpful things people do all the time to people with all different types of disabilities. Believe it or not, people really do pet people’s heads, try to push people’s power wheelchairs, talk to them like they’re 2, and invade their personal space. Plus it’s good to watch ordinary joes being all eeewww, stop that!
But I’m conflicted about one point in the video. Often times, people would talk amongst themselves, and then, without talking to the person in the wheelchair, chew a strip off the “harasser”. Hmmm. Shouldn’t you check with the one in the chair first before deciding to act on their behalf? Isn’t speaking for them making you just as offensive as the one you’re offended by? I mean, the harasser wasn’t mugging or beating up the person in the chair. They were just being clingy/obnoxious.
I’m not saying don’t act. I love it when someone sees something wrong, and comes to help. All I’m saying is involve the person you’re trying to help. Ask if this person is bothering them. Let them say yes or no before you take on the harasser.
I’ll give you 3 examples so maybe you can understand what the hell I’m on about. Example 1, which I’ve talked about before in another post. I got in a cab, the cabby asked me to put Trix on the floor. I said no prob. Someone was offended that he told me where to put Trix, and before talking to me, called the cab company and said who knows what about the driver. He got written up, and actually came back to my door and told me what happened. This scared the everlovin’ hell out of me because I didn’t know why this cabby was at my door. He was begging for me to straighten out the story, but who knows what intentions he could have had. And this person had ways of contacting me. She was a store employee who had my phone number. So, because they didn’t check with me, she got this poor cab-driver in trouble, and left me cleaning up a situation.
Example 2. I had Trix out on the lawn, and came across a guy in my building. We started talking for a while. Unknown to me, another guy from my building walked up beside us and stared down the other guy until he left. He then told me he didn’t like how long this guy was talking to me and thought he was up to no good. We were just talking! There was nothing scary going on at all.
Example 3: One time, Steve and I got on a bus, and a fellow passenger yelled at the bus driver every time he used the word look or see when talking to us. “Lou, Lou! Don’t use the word look, Lou! Looouuuu!” It got to the point that we told Lou not to worry. It was all good.
I hope that these examples help to explain why just acting without checking with the person, unless of course they’re in obvious danger, can be a bad idea. I like helpful people, and it gives me hope that maybe more people realize this stuff is ridiculous, so maybe this stuff will start happening less. But please, check with us first. Otherwise, it means you don’t think we’re a person either.
And just because I heard about this other video, here’s another reason why it’s hard for people with disabilities to get jobs. Here’s a scary real world response to discrimination against a job applicant who is deaf.