Negative comments that disabled people don’t want to hear any more
The trolling UPSC topper Ira Singhal faced on social media shows that despite the growing focus and conversations about inclusion, attitudinal barriers persist and people with disabilities are subject to insensitive and often downright rude behaviour. Even well meaning comments often reveal the extent of stereotypes as many of our readers share.
For para cyclist Himanshu Kumar,, it’s the fact that people with disabilities are not considered as deserving of the same opportunities as others that is most irritating. “I don’t like it when society refuses to allow people with disabilities to play sports and do something that is difficult or challenging”, says Himanshu, who is also India’s first blade runner. “There’s an assumption that all that we should aspire to is a government job. The other thing that really bugs me is comments like the life partner of a disabled person should be disabled too”.
Then there’s the more routinely offered bechaara comment that always gets temperatures soaring. Dr Riitesh Sinha, an innovator, has a list of things non disabled people should not say.
Use the word bechaara, something even highly literate people who know my achievements are guilty of. Then, talking to the person accompanying me as if I cannot converse and then speaking in a loud voice as if I cannot hear. – Dr Riitesh Sinha, Innovator
The list doesn’t end there. “There’s also comments that call my condition a result of my past life actions, conveniently forgetting medical negligence at the time of my birth.”
Dr. Anubha Mahajan, Founder, Chronic Pain India says that this kind of discrimination can be hard to deal with and have a negative impact.
“As a chronic pain patient, I have spent a lot of time trying to make people understand my condition. Very few people empathise while most make comments like, What are you suffering from? Never heard of it, “You are faking it. You look totally healthy to me, “It is all in your head, “You are just finding excuses for not working”, she says and adds, “Out of sheer ignorance people tend to judge and label chronic pain sufferers as lazy or attention seekers.
Vinayana Khurana, a blogger, has received her own set of negative comments from people around her. She has learned to look beyond negativity and focus on the beauty around her.
“Things like how will she do a job, she should sit at home or she is so beautiful but has this disability. God bhi na!! Bichari!!!“, these are standard comments”, says Vinayana. “Then there’s “Oh you are on a wheelchair, can’t you walk?”.
Hopefully reading these comments will make people think twice before making them. More importantly, they need to re-examine their own biases and attitudes.