Sunday, March 29, 2015

My opinion on how to educate children about the disability rights movement

Like any solid enduring structural concept the history of the disability rights movement as a civil rights movement must be built from the ground up. As we discussed in class by the time children reach middle school and high schooL it is  generally too late to significantly alter the lens with which they view events around them. This is because they already have a preconceived notion of historical and sociological ingrained in their mind from a relatively early age. Therefore, the only way to similarly ingrain the struggles of the disability rights movement into their minds is to start teaching them about the disability rights movement and some of its leaders in the same way that similar civil rights movement such as the racial one with leaders such as Martin Luther King and Malcolm X, and the women's civil rights movement with leaders such as Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Susan B Anthony, and Margaret Sanger. In the same vein we need to emphasize the contributions of people like Ed Roberts and Judy Huemann made in the disability rights movement.
            In order for it to have maximum effect these narratives must be emphasized from the time that the children are in elementary school. As was pointed out in class, if you would disabilities were simply brought into the classroom to tell their stories without any underlying context the message would be misconceived as disability as an individual rather than a social problem. This would delegitimize the disability rights movement as a true civil rights movement and complete social acceptance of the concept of discrimination against people with disabilities will never be realized. All we need to do is look at how ignorant people remain on gender and racial equality even to this day despite two constitutional amendments which are almost a century old or more, and the fact that legislation which acknowledges and bans such discrimination is over 50 years old.
            Given that timeline we need to start educating children about the disability rights movement now, in order to have a significant impact on society's views in about 30 or 40 years regarding people with disabilities.

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