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Reactions to Handicaps

 
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Mats
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Joined: 14 Oct 2004
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Location: Toronto, Canada

PostPosted: Fri 11 Nov, 2005 4:08 pm    Post subject: Reactions to Handicaps Reply with quote

Today I was standing in a long line-up for bank machine. There were 6 or 7 of us waiting for a woman to finish her business. She was having a bit of trouble reaching the buttons as she was a dwarf. When it came to reaching for her updated passbook, she simply couldn't reach. She turned around and appealed for help. Standing at the back of the line, I could see that all the people in front of me were not going to make a move. I went to the head of the line and pulled the woman's passbook out. As pulled it out, I looked back at the rest of the line-up; they were completely passive. I was a teeny bit disturbed that nobody offered to help her. It made me wonder "why not?". It was a bit like "I don't want to get involved"; involved with what, I thought- just helping someone with with a simple task; or, not wanting to deal with a dwarf. It was a little disturbing .


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CAM
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Joined: 14 Oct 2004
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Location: Canada

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Can't Do It In Real Life? Do It On Llizard's Forum

PostPosted: Fri 11 Nov, 2005 9:07 pm    Post subject: Re: Reactions to Handicaps Reply with quote

MEF wrote:
I was a teeny bit disturbed that nobody offered to help her. It made me wonder "why not?".


That is disturbing. People often try to help people with disabilities when no help is wanted, but I've never heard of people declining to help when it is actually asked for! Thanks for stepping forward to help this person. And too bad there was no bank machine suited to small people -- I expect there are lots of people in wheelchairs who might need a lower height. More so as the population starts to age and there are more older people with disabilities.

Is it an uncaring attitude that stops people from helping others? I think people are often afraid of people with disabilities - Are we afraid of being robbed? afraid of offending? afraid of not knowing what to do? afraid of ..... well, what exactly?

Children are taught not to talk to strangers -- mistrust and fear of strangers and difference is taught to us from a very early age. Given the bad side-effects of this policy, is there perhaps a better way to help children remain safe?


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Mats
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Joined: 14 Oct 2004
Posts: 503
Location: Toronto, Canada

PostPosted: Mon 14 Nov, 2005 11:37 am    Post subject: Hmmm.... Reply with quote

I don't want to make too much of this episode, BUT, it has made me think. Everyone in this event was focused on the woman with the difficulties; so, it's not a case of people simply being unware of the problem. None of us wanted to patronise by stepping in too early. When the woman asked for help, though, everyone was paralyzed. It was as if they all thought "If I help now, I'll become responsible for her forever, and I just don't have the time for that". Pure speculation on my part.


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llizard (aka ejm)
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PostPosted: Mon 14 Nov, 2005 1:02 pm    Post subject: Re: Hmmm.... Reply with quote

MEF wrote:
It was as if they all thought "If I help now, I'll become responsible for her forever, and I just don't have the time for that". Pure speculation on my part.


I'm wondering if some of them thought, "If I help now, I'll lose my spot in line"

I'm glad that you, at least, did step forward.


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CAM
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PostPosted: Mon 14 Nov, 2005 1:55 pm    Post subject: Re: Hmmm.... Reply with quote

llizard wrote:
I'm wondering if some of them thought, "If I help now, I'll lose my spot in line"....


And in some situations, people don't want to help because they are realistically afraid of getting mugged, defrauded, getting sued later or getting dangerous germs. Very realistic in some places and some situations (possibly similar to the possible fears of the passers-by in the famous story of the "Good Samaritan.")

But in the case of the short visitor to the auto-teller, possibilities of all these negative consequences do seem a little remote!

MEF, I think this case is worth a bit of pondering. Thanks for putting it on the forum.

P.S. I don't recall ever experiencing any bad consequences for stopping to offer help.


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