It's Beginning to Look A Lot Like Fun*Run Time

It's ALREADY that time of year again: The ADAPT Fun*Run for Disability Rights is April 22nd 2012. Maryland's fundraising goal is $8,000 this year. Yes, that's right, $8,000

Donate $1! Donate $10! Donate $100! Donate $1,000! JUST DONATE so we can FREE OUR PEOPLE! I thank you very much for your support!

Friday, March 26, 2010

Hurtful Words Part 1

Something came up in class yesterday that brought up one of the most hurt situations I have ever experienced. This happened roughly 5 months ago, and at the time I had opted not to make it public on the internet. You have to be careful what you put out on a a non-passworded blog, even though I choose not to divulge my last name and thus am not googable by my name (I check every so often). I have not thought about it since the incident because I think it is poinless to ruminate on a person who will never change.

In class I said something ultra brief but then decided to send an email to this professor, whom I trust, going into great detail. This time I am choosing to post it here, as I would appreciate multiple opinions, and also thought this is perfect of BADD.


The second time I took psyc 403 [child psychology], my adjunct professor (a full time school psychologist who adopted a son years ago who has significant psychological disabilities) started in on how Drs are keeping premature babies alive earlier and earlier. In doing so they are taking advantage of parent's vulnerability, he says, for their own personal professional gain (so that they can publish the case study) and NOT looking out for the best interest of the child. He also believes that if there becomes prenatal testing for psychiatric disabilities it should become the norm to perform preimplantation genetic diagnosis. Society would be saving those babies from a life of constant suffering, not just physically, but because of how pervasive ableism (he didn't use that word) is in this society. Forget about working to change society, just kill off those people. Reintroduce eugenics [my interpretation, not his wording].

I was sitting in my chair in class that day. It was very unprofessional for him to use those words and in hindsight I wish I'd gone to the psyc dept chair. I was too depressed to figure that out at the time. Do you think it is too late? Offensive language can come in many forms and and this is much more hurtful to me then calling me a cripple, invalid, spaz, retard, a wheelchair (what, am I not a person?). 0-60 in 10secs flat.

My interpretation of what he said is that I shouldn't have been sitting in that room; that I have nothing valuable to contribute to society; that my parents should have killed me off; that people like me and his son should have been aborted. I mean, really, I have a double curse if you want to view me that way.

My life is certainly hard, but so are a lot of other people's. I asked him if he had also adopted a typical son would he love that one more? He said that he had not said that babies should be aborted or that he does not love his son [he didn't] and that I went too far in assessing what he had said. How could I not have? I'm not going to change his opinion, some people are beyond help, but people in these types of professions [professors] should know when to keep their mouth shut. I almost feel like I should address this issue now, but I almost feel like 5 months later the moment has passed... Should I?


Adelaide Dupont said...

Hurtful beyond hurtful!

So essentially he was saying that we are saving lives which may be a burden/waste?

Yes, professors should keep their mouth shut.

He might well have used the explanation of "academic freedom" in his defence. And his remarks could either shape or reflect policy.

seahorse said...

Hang on a minute, so this Professor has an adopted son with the sort of difficulties he's advocating 'erasing' and he came still came out with what he came out with? AND in front of you too?
What does this say about his trouble coping with his personal life?
You should absolutely complain. It was offensive to you. It's offensive to me, and I'm sure a panel would find it offensive too.

Never That Easy said...

I agree - definitely a comment worthy of complaint. How hurtful! I had a similar experience in a class once (abnormal psych, and all of the sudden I turn the page in my text book, and there's CFS, in a "questionable" category, and a girl in the class starts talking about how it's a "modern day form of hysteria" and I literally felt myself go pale...) and I couldn't think of HOW to respond, so I just sat there and tried not to throw up. That was me, my experience, my life, being summed up as fake and something people could choose to believe in or not, and I wanted the professor to stand up for me (she knew my diagnosis), and when she didn't the sense of betrayal was... overwhelming. So I can just imagine hearing it COME from the professor... I'm so sorry that you had to sit through that, and hope that your complaint can reach someone who can talk to this professor, before he hurts someone else.

Anonymous said...

I'd go to the administration.

I had a...really horribly embarassing moment related to my disability during my first year of law school. I went to the dean, who talked to the professor. I got an apology. I don't know if she thought about why I reacted the way I did, and perhaps when I am nearer to graduating (and thus less likely to have to deal with that particular professor again), I may actually talk to the professor and explain why I reacted the way I did.

I don't know if it will change anything, but perhaps it will get her to think about the way disabilities affect people. The whole event was so upsetting to me that I couldn't talk about it without crying for about a year. It remains one of the most painful memories I have.

I hope for you, the pain heals faster than mine has.


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