Originally Posted by bofish
I go back to my original thought. The abled-bodied are terrified of disability. Of what they see as loss of control. I need to be more empathetic and realize that takes a lot to get over and is a true weakness.
I disagree. Terrified is overstating things. The disabled are in their own category, much like being white, black or mixed is it's own category. A lack of exposure to people who look or act or live differently from someone creates anxiety at not knowing how to interact or relate. Terror? No.
The best thing anyone can do who isn't part of whatever group they feel anxious or nervous around is to simply spend time getting to know a person who makes them feel that way. Children do it better than adults, who seem to lose this capacity as their minds narrow with age.
As for someone who doesn't fit in, nothing beats persistence and patience. Some people never come around, most do though.
I will say though, that the disabled don't function as their own community. There's no disabled culture, per se - or natural clustering that occurs which gives a sense of community or home that other groups enjoy. This makes it doubly hard to gain acceptance in society, as individually so many disabled people act or in fact are stigmatized, and bow to the pressure to hide or mask themselves - or to simply avoid contact period. Which increases the difficulties for those who do want to be accepted on merits, and not simply for their having a disability.
I look forward to the day when a person walks the street, being gay, disabled, beautiful, ugly or whatever - and the response from everyone is to not give a shit. When people ultimately learn to not give a damn about where a person comes from or what they look like - we'll have arrived in a better place.