I find it quite disturbing when people refer to kids with Down Syndrome as mistakes. It troubles me and makes me angry. Luckily, I’m fortunate enough not be surrounded by people with that mentality on daily basis. However, I do know people with such backward thinking. While living in Mexico, I never heard from someone I knew pejorative comments towards people with Down Syndrome. Don’t get me wrong, I’m fully aware that discrimination towards people with Down Syndrome exists everywhere; what I’m saying is that never, in my face I heard or saw someone discriminating people with Down Syndrome. Oh, but here in the “first world” where I’m supposedly living among highly educated people, I have encountered discriminatory comments for kids with Down Syndrome more often than I like to think.
I have witnessed, specially from one person, comments that clearly take away the dignity of people with Down Syndrome. Of course, this person is clever, so these comments are not directly full of rejection and hate. It is the tone of this person’s words, how the story is told, the lack of dignity in which the little kids are referred to.
On Monday, I heard what’s been the worst comment regarding kids with Down Syndrome. It was so horrific that I thought “Silvia, maybe you didn’t hear correctly, maybe …” But no!, there was no confusion about it. At the moment, I didn’t think of saying something because my mind was so shocked for what I’ve just heard.
But I won’t accept this anymore. I will speak up next time this happens. And I will do this, because it is the right thing to do, because people need to be aware that what they’re saying is wrong and unacceptable. Will that make them change their minds? Probably not. But I need to speak up my mind, because people need to realize that they can not go through life disrespecting people and stepping on their dignity without any consequences.
Yes! As you can tell, I’m still angry and upset about what I witnessed.