Monday, March 2, 2009

You People

I came across this video the other day thanks to Jennifer.

And then I did some research to see what it was all about.

I was planning a post around this info, but it sat untyped as a draft all weekend.

Then I read this article that Tricia shared on her blog.

I read the comments too.

(Tip: You can get really good info from reading comments.)

All of that together sat all lumped up in my brain today as I tried to figure out what it all meant to me and how I could most clearly convey that to others that may be reading here.

So here's the deal.

"You people..."

Yup. That's it. It pretty much sums up how I feel.

And I know that doesn't make a whole lot of sense so I'll attempt to explain my train of thought.

1. A lot of doctors just don't get it.
2. People with Ds are people first.
3. All people don't look alike.
4. "You people..."

Any minority can tell you that the phrase "you people" just doesn't sit well. No matter what. Even when someone says, "You people sure do know how to dance/save money/hug," your heart sinks. This person has just put you in a category. You've been labeled. You're no longer an individual.

Well, that's what I feel when people (especially those in the medical profession) use phrases like, "S/He must have a mild case of Down's" or "You can barely even tell s/he has Ds" or, my new personal fave that I read on a blog over the weekend, "S/he doesn't look very Downsy." shoot me now

Ok, look, chances are that I'm preaching to the converted. If you're reading here, you're on this journey with us in one way or another. But for those that aren't? Let's continue.

I can't speak for anyone else, but this bothers me.

I don't feel honored, or special.

I don't think that means Playette is any better than her chromosomally enhanced counterparts.

In fact, guess what? Most people who make comments like that

- wait for it -

HAVE NEVER SEEN A BABY WITH DOWN SYNDROME BEFORE.

*exhale*

I don't use all caps lightly, so trust me that I'm serious on this.

Babies with Ds, children with Ds, adults with Ds...look like themselves.

When people tell me I don't look Black, I get offended. I straighten them out. Making it seem like I'm somehow "better" for having light brown skin or curly hair reveals to me a certain lack of enlightenment and I'll let you know.

So why wouldn't I do the same regarding my daughter?

Anyway, back to the all caps part.

If you click on the "i have a voice" links above, you'll see pics of people with Ds. And you may notice that they don't all look alike. Or maybe even what you thought they should look like.

Assuming they do is ignorant.

And I don't mean to say that in a mean way. I mean that in a "maybe you just didn't know and need to be informed" way.

I read a lot about Ds. I've immersed myself in the Ds community. And I can't tell you how many times I've heard that a baby doesn't look like they have Ds.

And I've always wondered, "If none of our kids look like they have Ds, then what does a kid with Ds look like?"

[/rant]

5 comments:

Tricia said...

*sighing contentedly*

Michelle said...

I heart your rant. I heart you.

Thanks.

ks_kristi said...

Loved this post (big fan of rants)! I like to keep a picture of playtee in my office and when I'm asked about her I refer to her as my niece. Then they remember the cutie I showed off a few months back when she spent a few days with me at work. For some damn reason there is always this one lady who always has to say something that just urkes the crap out of me...(insert something of which I have to correct). How you do this with the world blows me away.

Signe said...

awesome....I love the logic of 'if your baby doesn't look downsy then who does?" who cares? do people with Ds have to prove that they have Ds in order to be understood? Can't they be themselves and still have Ds? Anyway...love the post.

sheree said...

great post!

**and...hanging my head in shame because I know my husband said that Malea didn't "look" like she had Ds**

Eeek! You know we love you guys though...forgive us!