Sunday, November 3, 2013

My Fatal Flaw


Hi all. I think it's time for an update. You know if I haven't been blogging, it's because I am so busy.
I am teaching full time, flying by the seat of my pants.
I am parenting with my husband two boys who seem to have forgotten how to behave this month.
I am tutoring 2 hours a week a young man with autism in working independently on tasks and reading comprehension, simple grammar, and math.
I am attending a college class online, reading texts and articles and writing papers and forum posts for class.
And the rest of the time is spent trying to debrief and regain my sanity. I facebook stalk. I watch shows on hulu or netflix. I plan.

This post is about working through something I read in my college class. It was an article about stereotypes, labeling, and harm framed through the lens of story telling. Stories are something I know. Story telling is one of my strengths. I was intrigued and interested.

The premise is that when we tell a story about someone who is unable to tell it themselves, we stick to the truth and find the good inside. When we listen to stories repeated by others about others we listen to the underlying truths and find the good inside. If we propagate rumors and embellish stories until all know them as legends, we spread hurtful lies.

The example is a story where an old woman was said to sleep on a mattress stuffed with money. The simple lie was spread around until one night a band of thieves stole into her house and killed her to rip her mattress open and find nothing but feathers.

Similarly, when we tell stories about the 'dumb', 'gay', 'black', 'white', 'fat', 'redneck' people we know, the simple embellishments and rumors we start become huge stereotypes that separate and define people in other's minds. The author especially wants to focus on the made up diagnosis of mental retardation. "Made up?" you ask. But when arbitrary scales of of IQ numbers were set to justify putting individuals in settings for care whom did not receive care, but abuse, the possibility that they could succeed at any level in society was thrown out the window. Now we view them as outcasts. We put them in special classes in school. We don't hire them. We think they need separate treatment. This is also abuse.

Look at Carly Fleischmann, all those with Downs who get married or run businesses, or workers in your community that seem different somehow but they have a job so they must be able enough. You know what I mean. You do it, too. What's their story?

My assignment was to be creative and write a poem or draw something this article inspired. I was not in a poetry mood. I still am not in a poetry mood. But I was in a painting mood. So I designed this:
This is a partial quote from the article. I like it. You will see that I used it above when describing the article.

I want to do this. I DO do this as much as possible. My fatal flaw is being an optimist. Now you know how to defeat me. :)

Note: Wrote a poem anyway


We seek the truth

Beyond the lies

See the sparkle 

In someone's eyes

As a new skill is learned

A new task completed

Story finished

Enemy defeated