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One of my Facebook friends, Chris Sprague,
Hello Zoom Posse,
I agree with you about the wrongness of Will Smith's assault. I like Patty's idea that he could have showed his support for his wife in other ways, such as calling a press conference!
I just have to add that I would like the rude, even hateful, and hurtful remarks that people throw out about physically different people STOPPED.
I have worked at a camp for physically different teenagers, I also worked as a special education teacher. You would not believe the things people say to them or about people with physical differences. This happens in stores, on media, subways, buses, etc. They are wonderful people who did not choose their condition. When you get to know them, they are just like everyone else.
I hope this discussion on alopecia creates a ripple of understanding and kindness.
My friend made a worthy point, and quite an elegant metaphor in her wish for a ripple of understanding and kindness in what can sometimes seem like an expanse of ignorance and meanness, probably especially to those kind and understanding people such as Chris Sprague whose vocation has been to work with those among us who need extra patience, care and acceptance.
Chris must know, perhaps more so than those of us who've never worked in her field, of what she speaks when she calls out people who say rude, hateful, hurtful things to or about those whose physical or mental presentation don't fit some prescribed artificial stereotype.
In fact her quote reminds me of an encounter I had years ago.
There used to be in my neighborhood an all-you-can-eat pizza buffet called Cici's,
One day I was in Cici's having lunch when into the restaurant trundled a group of about a dozen developmentally disabled adults being shepherded by a couple of young workers. It was quite a production, with one of the caregivers helping the clients procure their pizza and drinks while the other stood in the middle of the restaurant like a traffic cop directing the people to their seats while helping them balance their plates and cups.
The worker who was helping the clients negotiate their way to their seats was a girl who appeared to be in her twenties dressed in overalls over a striped tee shirt. She was small in stature, had a nice face and wore her her dark blonde hair in a long braid. She reminded me of my daughter Claire.
At that time Claire had just returned home to Columbus after having spent her first year out of college as a Mercy Corps volunteer living in Queens and dong this very type of work with developmentally disabled adults in New York City, including taking them on group outings via subway to restaurants and ball games.
Claire and I in a park in her Queens neighborhood during her Mercy Corps year.
I walked up behind her and said, "Excuse me."
The girl turned around and gave me a look. It was a look that said, Do you have a problem, Lady?
It hit me that the girl thought that I was going to complain to her about her charges, and she looked so prepared to take me on and call me out that I thought, she must be used to people making remarks and today she is definitely not in the mood. Or maybe she just was up to her elbows and at that moment didn’t need anybody else jockeying for her attention.
In any case that look made me feel sheepish and embarrassed and I wished I’d stayed in my seat. I half considered saying, “Um, never mind,”
But instead I began apologetically babbling about how she reminded me of my daughter who used to do the same work as she and her colleague were doing, and I thanked her for her work and, for good measure, asked if there was anything I could do to assist her.
As I spoke the girl’s face relaxed into a friendly smile. She thanked me and assured me - to my relief - that she and her partner had this covered. Then she asked me if my daughter would be interested in a job in their organization, as they currently needed more help.
I thanked the girl but told her that my daughter would soon be leaving for Nicaragua where she would be doing a year of service working in a jungle community.
One of the houses in the village of Chacradeseca where Claire worked.