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Monday, August 26, 2013

Letter of Hate - Example of Devaluation of People with Disabilities

An absolutely shocking and hateful letter from an anonymous neighbor in Ontario Canada was posted as a handbill, targeting an innocent child who just happened to have autism, a developmental disability, went viral on the Internet last week. It was full of invective and strongly urged the family to put away the child "forever " claiming that his loud vocalizations, idiosyncratic behaviors and even his very presence "disturbed" the author of the missive and by extension the very community that family resides in. Upon investigation, the local police deemed that the letter although malicious in intent and deed "did not legally rise to the level of a hate crime" because a class group was not targeted. Such sentiment is indicative of society's systemic and often subtle devaluation of people with disabilities within which the child(nameless) is a member of by virtue of his cognitive dysfunction. This is a clear instance where although accessibility and equality regulations are on the books and often are mandated in various codes, one cannot legislate attitudes and bias against an often disenfranchised minority group. The incident should be taken seriously by Canadian society because if other similar occurrences surface unacknowledged, a eugenic frame of mind could easily resurface even within a democratic society. I truly hope that it is an isolated incident but make no mistake: vigilance by both the community and by human rights authorities must not lag.

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