Tuesday, October 22, 2013

When We Are Silent, Our Silence Condones The Language

I have been seeing a lot of "Reality-TV" shows that talks about bullying of people or children with special needs especially when they are encountered in public places like a supermarket or other kinds of shop. It is not really a prank show but the people behind just want to observe how people would react if they see a person with disability being bullied by regular people. Of course both are actors who are just following a dialogue to catch attention from other people.

To give you a heads, people with special needs are being trained from younger age on life skills, vocational skills and activities of daily living. There are schools who also prepare them to be able to integrate in the society they live in by training them in simple tasks in order to get a job to support themselves. Not all people with special needs can do this but given early intervention, training and therapy, they may have that chance to find a job. There are companies nowadays that are willing to accept people with special needs especially if they are well-trained. Most of them get simple jobs like cleaning toilets, mopping floors, wiping windows, throwing trash and bagging grocery items. There are some who manages to make it to food industry like cleaning up tables in restaurants or packing food. But due to hygienic reasons, most people with special needs needs more training in order to get in to the food industry as it is quite delicate for them to handle food.

Among these people with special needs, those that have Down Syndrome condition are the ones who are most likely given the chance to get a job because they are only physically disabled. They can actually easily learn and easily trainable although sometimes, it still depends on their cases. As far as I know, people have become more aware now about these people with special needs like in the US, Australia, Singapore and in the Philippines and how they are integrated in the society. But not everyone around them has that tolerance towards these people and have the proper understanding to deal with them.

So these TV shows tries to capture the attention of the public and see their reaction when they see a person being bullied who is just trying to do their job. And if you were the one in that situation, what would you do? This question is actually the title of a show in the US to remind the public on what would they do if they encounter such incident.

In this video, you will see a how people in a grocery store reacted on a lady bullying an employee of the store who has Down Syndrome and is the one packing the grocery she bought.

There is a part in the video where Madeline Will from the National Down syndrome Society in the US said "When we're silent, our silence condones the language". When we are confronted in situations that we do not like and we do not have a choice, most of the time we could not let out a single word because it is true and it is very difficult to accept it. Our silence to a certain question actually means yes. But if we speak out and defend ourselves, or defend someone, it is telling them that they are wrong. Letting your voice be heard or speaking out what you think is something that is really important. Your silence can either ruin someone's life. Be not afraid to speak up and let yourself be heard. We are not just defending a person with disability, we are defending the right of every person to live normally in an accepting environment.


J Gerald C Legaspi is the Filipino author of akosiherardo.blogspot.com and is currently working and travelling in and around South East Asia but spends most of his time in Jakarta, Manila and Singapore.


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