This is a quick post, and not a moment too soon, seeing as it’s Saturday. This should reach you in time for a leisurely morning read over a lovely hot (caffeinated) beverage, with your day in front of you, simply sparkling with the promise that a new day holds (if you are not depressed).
So, without further ado, here’s the Op-Ed from one of my favorite authors, George Estreich. He wrote about the waiter in Houston who recently refused to serve the customers who wanted the boy with Down syndrome to be “special” somewhere else.
This article transcends the feel-good, trite sort of rehash of a Disney-coloured moment – Estreich relates this in poignant ways to the civil rights movement, emphasizing how far we have come – and how far we have to go.
I think about this sort of thing a lot. It’s not that I believe we will be refused service or asked to leave a restaurant because of Moxie’s Down syndrome – or because of my deafness. I think about it more in terms of the “special” that is prevalent now, how the word “special” is taking the place of “retard”; how people now have their “special moments” and you know what? Call me uptight but I’m not laughing.
Words like this go to show, as Estreich says, that “any word can be repurposed for contempt.” And incidences like the one in Houston go to show that things are changing – and within the change that is still needed, there are larger questions. As he says:
Beneath the human interest story, in other words, is a question about who counts as human. For parents of children with Down syndrome like me, every daily act is an answer. What I live for, though, is the day when the question doesn’t come up.
The article is HERE – I’d love to hear your thoughts on it.
George Estreich is the author of one of my favorite memoirs on Down syndrome/parenting: The Shape of the Eye