A Message of Hope from Abilities Expo Ambassador Paul Lane
When we look at the tragic events that have rocked our nation, it shows that we cannot neglect members of our community that have been left behind due to race, disability, gender or sexual orientation.
Discrimination has no place in our society
Far too often we think that silence and ignoring what is going on around us will make things magically disappear. For us to suggest that the outrage that people have is made up in their minds would make us ignorant and insensitive. Even in the disability community, there seems to be a hierarchy of diagnoses that sometimes triggers a superiority complex. This shows that, in every segment of the population, there can exist an unbalanced view of one's own self-importance.
When one community is hurting and in pain, why do we sometimes take offense and double down on adversarial views instead of listening and trying to understand where they are coming from? Perhaps we cannot control what initially comes into our minds, but we are in control of taking a step back to really think before reacting.
One thing that could help us all in dealing with a very polarizing situation is to realize that discrimination in any form has no place in our society. None. At Abilities Expo, we have had a front row seat to the bigotry and intolerance experienced by the underserved disability community and have advocated for greater equality and access. This experience has made us sensitive and empathetic towards movements such as Black Lives Matter.
The divisive rhetoric pervading the national scene shows that, even though we've made some progress, many of us have some deep-seated prejudice that we may not be aware of. One way to tell if we need to reexamine our mindsets is to gauge our own reactions when we see others voice their displeasure and concern over the discrimination that they encounter.
Do we think or say that folks should be content with what they have? If we think that way, the next question we must ask ourselves is…would we be content if we were dealing with a similar situation?
If you are really, really honest with yourself, I think you would have similar feelings to those of us who are part of the underserved communities in our country. No doubt we all have strong feelings about what's going on. However, if we do twice as much listening as talking, that would help all of us look for ways to achieve the equality we are looking for.
About the Author:
Abilities Expo Ambassador Paul Amadeus Lane has been a C-6 quadriplegic since January 21, 1993. He entered the world of broadcast journalist in 2007 and, by 2015, he became the Bureau Chief of ABC News Radio, KMET 1490-AM. In 2016, he decided to leverage his love for all things nerdy on his YouTube show, TECH ZONE, where he discusses technology and how it has changed everyday life, gaming, entertainment, sports, health and education. As an Accessibility Consultant, Paul has worked with video game developers and game console manufactures in helping them make gaming inclusive for all. He lives in California with his wife, Rae.
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