Note: This piece was originally published by the blog, Extemporary Sanity, which if you have not yet figured this out, was me writing anonymously several years ago.
How can you disrespect disabled individuals, misquote historical figures and show cute pictures of puppies and kitties all at the same time? By creating an inspirational meme of course! After all, what are disabled people and kitties for if not to inspire able-bodied individuals to get up off their asses and achieve?
Do you have a bad attitude? Well, rather than sitting down and seriously contemplating how you could find more meaning in your existence, just check out a picture of a cute kid with Down Syndrome. Wouldn’t it suck to be her? And look – she’s so happy! So what’s wrong with you? It doesn’t matter that it doesn’t really suck to be a person with Down Syndrome at all, or that her role in life is not to make sure that you get up off the couch and make it to the gym today. All that matters is the INSPIRATION that it brings you.
Today I saw possibly the best example of this phenomenon to date. It was a a meme with a quote by Helen Keller. Helen Keller, as most know, was a woman worthy of respect, an intelligent woman, a writer, an educator in her own right. The quote was thoughtful and relevant at her own time and in our own. The tag line accompanying this quote? “If Helen Keller could “see” this – nobody else has a good excuse not to.” Allow me to paraphrase – Dude, this chick was BLIND and DEAF and even SHE knew this. WTF man?! The brilliance of it – actually using a historical figure who was disabled to devalue disabled people – is unmatched. Of course the creator erred in that she accurately quoted Ms. Keller, but that’s easily correctable. I think that if they can just find a good picture of her holding a puppy it will be absolutely perfect.
So, how can you too inspire others while patronizing disabled people? Start by finding a person with an obvious disability. None of that “hidden disability” crap unless it’s somebody famous. The more disabled the better. Then make sure not to mention their name so that you can assure that people only see the disability and not the individual. Then point out that if someone like this can actually get through life everyday, and possibly even achieve something, then somebody “normal” should certainly be able to. Simple. And don’t forget – work the puppy in somehow.