A New Way of Thinking
New Ways of Thinking and Revolutionary Common Sense
The world is a dangerous place, not because of those who do evil, but because of those who look on and do nothing.
Throughout history, a variety of strategies have been used to solve the “problem” of disability. In ancient times, Grecian and Roman laws mandated the abandonment or death of babies with disabilities, to fulfill society’s quest of achieving “human perfection.” During the early part of the Christian era, the presence of disability was often thought to be the result of the person being sinful. Religious leaders tried to cure individuals with disabilities through prayer or healing practices, as well as by “beating the devil” out of the “afflicted.”
Fast forward to the first half of the twentieth century, when the solution to cure “deviancy” was found in the “special training” available only in institutions for the “feebleminded.” Hundreds of thousands of children and adults were abandoned in institutions, where segregation, isolation, abuse of all kinds, and death were commonplace.
Under the conventional wisdom of the time, “feeblemindedness” and other conditions were thought to be hereditary, so the ultimate cure was preventing people with disabilities from making more of “their own kind.” Thousands of men and women with disabilities were involuntarily sterilized. This inhumane practice was upheld by the United States Supreme Court, with Chief Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes proclaiming, “Three generations of imbeciles is enough.” Eugenics (creating a society of the “well-born”) ruled the day . . .
Nothing short of a paradigm shift in how we think about disability is necessary for change to occur. Disability, like ethnicity, religion, age, gender, and other characteristics, is a natural part of life . . . Click here to continue.