Thursday, June 21, 2012

Be the bigger person and both sides will grow

It is an interesting conundrum that I am ready to tell the world about my disability and what I have overcome to get where I am in life today, but at the same time I do not want my employer to know what my disability is.  It makes sense.  I have faced great discrimination in the years since I acquired my disability and it has been a painful road.  I have survived, but just barely.  Why would a person want to go through that experience again.  At the same time, I am an advocate and I want others with my disability, who are experiencing what I did, that they can get through it, that there is life after that pain.  I just got married to a man that loves me warts and all and he loves that I want to work to make other people's lives better.  So, how do I make these worlds come together?  I think the disability advocacy worlds of the two coasts would give me different answers.

I have noted some differences in how the two coasts approach work for people with disabilities.  It seems like the coasts may have themselves at the two extremes and the answer may be somewhere in the middle.  I am a moderation person.  I rarely think that all or nothing of something is a good thing.  I may not always live by that motto, but in theory, that is generally where I think the world finds its balance and harmony.  I believe that people with disabilities need to be treated like any other employee and to succeed and fail just like everyone else.  I also believe that  people with disabilities are unique individuals with unique needs that need special circumstances and special treatment in order to succeed, and should not always have to work the way that other people do.  These realities can exist in the same world.  We can take parts of one and parts of the other and create a whole where most people with disabilities work in the middle.  I believe that there is a segment of the population with disabilities that can work in the rest of the world, just like everyone else, and I believe that there is a segment of the population with disabilities that are going to need lots of supports to work.  I think that most of us with disabilities are in the middle.  We need some extra understanding, not an excuse, but respect for the disability and the challenges it puts us through. 

I'm not from a coast, so I'm not tied to either view of this debate. That might be why I can see the middle.  I hope I can get people to look at both sides and maybe think about the middle a little bit.  Just like how extremism is not working in the government, don't let extremism break apart our campaign, we all are fighting for our rights.  Be the bigger person  and both sides will grow.

1 comment:

  1. This is interesting, Rochelle - would you mind talking more about what the differences are between the two coasts?


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