Down’s Syndrome

As I was doing our readings this week, I thought about this picture I’ve seen floating around the internet. I always liked it as a very positive way and humorous way to draw people’s attention to their overreactions towards Down’s Syndrome and I still really like it. This week’s readings have stirred me to analyze it a little more than my initial, “that’s great,” reaction.

What I’m getting at is this seems like a good discussion prompt for the shirt’s possible reflection of society’s pressure on the person with the disability’s responsibility to educate others and reassure them.

Not having had previous experience in Disability courses or activism, I’m finding that when I have conflicting ideas about what the appropriate attitude would be, I relate it to other human rights movements that I am better versed in. So, if I compare it to a shirt that says: “Keep Calm, it’s Only a Wedding,” (one I found after a few Google searches for an appropriate analogy), I feel a lot more of my initial reaction. On the other hand, the one that says, “Keep Calm, I’m Only Black,” (another Google find), bothers me because I feel like everyone should be educated enough at this point, so outrage at instances of racism should be occurring instead of reassurances.

It then occurs to me that my attitudes are largely reflective of my relationship to the issues. Without going into too much detail, I consider myself a member of the LGBTQ/Queer Community, so it feels like I have more of a right to laugh about people’s perceptions and form definite opinions (for myself, not for other members of the Community of course). Because I’m not a member of a minority group or the Disabled Community, I have a harder time pinpointing how I feel, why I feel that way, and how strong my opinions should be as an outsider.

The point (that I’m not sure I quite got to) is that the shirt made me think about it, and the readings then made me think more about the shirt and its implications. I still haven’t come up with an answer, but if nothing else, I thought it might make for a good discussion.


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