At some point in time, our self-righteous efforts in the pursuit of fairness in specific cases of our concern will have blinded us to the rallying cry for equal entitlements to this same justice across all platforms. Here are a few instances where so called ‘justice seekers’ flopped, exposing their ignorance to the meaning of the true struggle for fairness.
The Gays and the Retards
This one I happened to witness firsthand some years back. A friend of mine who had always been a staunch backer of the LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender) community was having an emotional fit on growing tired of the frequent use of the word ‘faggot’ by another friend of mine. She had always voiced her contempt for the use of that word, describing it as ‘demeaning’ to gay men in particular but in a group dominated by teenage boys with loud mouths and at that time ungentlemanly attitudes, ignorance often prevailed and such words were widely used by us in our teenage banters.
She launched a verbal tirade at the offender. Many words were thrown at the confused fella who I must admit, did well enough to take in all her insults in acknowledgement of his wrongdoing. She however seemed to take things a step too far when she referred to him as ‘a big fat retard’.
It seemed like a regular insult, and to the both of them it was seemingly no worse than the others which she had been hurling at him for about half a minute prior to that point. However, not so far from where we all stood, Mrs. Redon, our Physics teacher was queuing at the cafeteria about to get her lunch.
Coincidentally I stood facing her direction all through what was happening and judging by the manner of swiftness with which she swung her neck to observe the commotion, anybody could easily figure that her attention shifted desperately towards us.
Mrs. Redon has a son in the grade below ours; Angus. He suffered from Asperger’s syndrome, a developmental disorder characterized by impairment in sensory experiences, language development and nonverbal communication among others.
Of course no one in school mocked him to his or his mother’s face, but the poor boy was widely regarded as ‘the school retard’, something she must have gotten to know already owing to how word spread in our High School.
In the odd physics class, Mrs. Redon would pause for a few seconds and tell us a little about Angus. She would express gladness in his slow improvement and make reference to the pressure she was under by the school authorities to enroll him into ‘a school for people like him’. She was not in denial of her son’s true condition, but those special schools demanded far more expenses than what she paid in our school, especially as his current fees were discounted owing to having a parent as a staff member in the school.
My eyes met with Mrs. Redon’s. She stared at my friend in disappointment for a while before looking away. I felt a rush of shame within me at that moment because I knew what had happened.
My friend had absolutely no idea that in her ferocious defense of a prejudiced group of people from emotional and psychological harm, she had inflicted the same precise damage on another group without even knowing it.
My friend obviously meant no harm, neither of them did. Yet she had used a word which would hurt the disabled as badly as the word ‘faggot’ would hurt a gay person. She turned out to be the ‘big fat retard’ that afternoon.