First and foremost, the label dehumanizes the most precious of our human resources. This label confuses the populace and has them believe this labeled group needs to be told how, when, where, and who is important.
I submit to you there is no one more important than a child with a disability/ies. When I hear the words “special needs child,” it makes me cringe. If we could stop political incorrectness, some fools attempting to divide and distract us, we (persons with disabilities) can become great.
We have earned our humanity and will accept nothing less than fair and equal treatment. For some reason unknown to me, fair and equal is a fleeting thought and far from reality for persons with disabilities. Of course it will be far from reality because we have no human qualities as “special needs people.”
We have and never will accept being defined by some condition some fool thought up. For the purpose of comparison: We have billionaires with “special needs” because the public has to purchase personal playgrounds (football stadiums) for these “special needs” people. The NFL is a “special needs” corporation/monopoly (people too) that requires “special treatment” for cities to host the Superbowl.
The special needs of a child and others with a disability/ies is for them to be loved, fed, housed and clothed. Can someone tell me the “special” part of this? I have been on this earth for 57 years. At one point I was “crippled” — a crippled child, “physically challenged” — by what or who, “handicapped” — never panhandled in my life or played golf, “disabled” — have met and exceeded all expectations and lack of humanity of others, “person with a disability/ies” — yet achieved humanity and the possibilities are endless.
It is a disgrace that someone wants to “keep us in our place” and deny us our rights under the Constitution of the United States of America, the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1967 and reauthorized in 1990. Stop with the labels and refer to me by my name. You may be surprised by what you find.
When you label me, you prejudge me based on myth and stupidity. You can believe me when I inform you “I and only I” have the right to decide my expectations, my self-worth, and my contributions to “my community.”
Kenneth Brown is a business owner and disability advocate/consultant with a PHD in disability with expertise in surviving, living, and thriving with a disability. Kenneth is a past chair of the Minneapolis Commission on Civil Rights and 10-year member of the Minneapolis Advisory Committee on Persons with Disabilities. He welcomes reader responses to [email protected].