This post is stunning, beautiful, you want to be this post.
- 5 Aug 07, 1:52 PM
Today, as my dissertation takes wobbly shape, I was thinking about my school and university career. It is littered with gushing, hyperbolic teachers as well as honest ones. The impact exaggeration has on our self-image is a complicated issue, I think, particularly for youngsters. How, really, can you understand yourself when most or part of what you had fed back to you was either inflated or false, conditioned by a need not to hurt our crippled feelings?
Not all of it is conscious, of course, I think a lot of flattering but dubious opinions on my own schoolwork was born out of the low expectations my teachers started with. If, from rock bottom, they reached higher than they imagined then their awe at that jump would be totally genuine. But only to them, ‘brilliant’ or ‘genius’ (I kid you not, year 8 and year 12 English teachers) count for nothing if they have designed a new, dirt-level, standard to define them by. The Single Disabled Pupil Standard.
I realise I am going to stray into reckless self-deprecation if I taken this point any further. That’s hollow, no use to anyone, least of all the people that have to listen to it (you know who you are and I love you). But for the things in life where our impairment should not be a factor, we should be measured by one standard and one standard only.
If not, we might as well be a different species; being a different species and believing you’re a human being would distort your self-image to say the least. Buzz Lightyear thought he was a human, the world thought he was a toy, and he was heartbroken no matter what Tom Hanks did or said. So, non-disabled land, if you don’t want an army of hobbling, whirring Buzz Lightyears on your hands, stop being amazed by disabled people and start being honest. Because I can’t see Tom Hanks anywhere nearby, can you?*
*Tom Hanks when he was Woody The Cowboy in Toy Story, not the calliper-clad dude with the intellectual impairment.