There have been many comments left on the various blogs as well as Facebook comparing societal ignorance and various forms of hatred. I would like to take some time out to talk about the differences and why it’s important that we use the correct labeling. When we talk about problems in society it takes away from the real issues when we use incorrect labeling. There are a lot of discussions to be had concerning equality, accessibility, social stigmas, and many other things. I witness more hatred from within the disabled community that far exceeds what comes from society based on hate.
What is the difference between hatred and ignorance? Ignorance is based on lack of education, awkwardness, and simply being unaware that something is offensive or degrading. You can fix ignorance with education. As we do with young children, we teach them right from wrong, what is acceptable behavior in public, and what is and what is not acceptable language. Hatred is taught and spread versus a lack of knowing better. Hatred is spread with a malicious intent to harm others on a psychological level.
Racism and bigotry are two forms of common hatred. The use of the “n” word, violence from the police, and hate groups are seen in the news daily. All because of what? The shade of someone’s skin. We are all “colored people”. Those shades vary greatly and are beyond our control. Bigotry against the LGTB community is also rampant in society. Stories like those of Matthew Shepard are far too common. How many people commit suicide because of the attacks, harassment, and shame of being born “different” and then persecuted their entire lives for it.
There is hatred amongst the disabled community as well. From people fighting over who is more entitled to what services to judgement of whether or not a child should qualify as special needs because the are not as physically impaired. There is fighting over who should be able park where and when. There are parents who would put down another daring to offer a sympathetic ear when their disability is not as severe. The judgment is horrendous and vicious. That is hatred when you’re willing to discriminate against those in the same situation. Who talks about this discrimination? No one, but a comment made from awkward ignorance is considered as oppression. The awkward inappropriate questions are annoying, but they don’t understand what it’s like to hear them day in and out. It’s considered hateful for an able bodied person to say slow down speedy. When a mother to a child with special needs calls another mother “special needs as in mentally retarded” for calling her family special needs the comment gets a ton of likes and praise. Likes from the same people saying people are hateful. That is hatred, because you understand the struggle and yet use an extremely offensive word in that context towards someone you believe to be ignorant.
There are many changes needed in society, but when we don’t respect each other why would you expect them to change?