Persons with Intellectual Disabilities or Intellectually Disabled Persons: Which is the Classifying Entity?
As I write this, sitting in a solitaire corner of the library, I'm gently enclosing in my hand a simple rubber bracelet. My inspiration. Not the famous, bright yellow LiveStrong ones that Neil Armstrong once yielded, but a modest black band with contrasting white letters simply stating "I See You." This statement may seem unpretentious and bland, maybe even comical to some, but it has a sincere meaning that, once elaborated, is a melodious significance and tribute to not only the raw entanglement of modern human culture, but also the subtle complex notions of social interactions.
Central Africa's customary greeting is "I See You." It's a brilliant recognition of the individual being. The standard American greeting "How are you?" is often said with no regard to any true emotion or answer. Saying "I See You" means you recognize another as a person, as an equal, as a fellow human being, and as a friend, which is something that few people bother to do. This is also the mission statement of a unique and distinct organization known as Best Buddies, that works with students with intellectual disabilities. I'm proud to claim myself a Peer Buddy, their title for "normal" students that are matched with Buddies, the students with intellectually disabilities.
Most people shudder when I mention this fact, seemingly knowing that these people hardly qualify as intellectually anything, even disabled. Their perceptively blank stares, erratic movements and introverted ways are not considered human. For all we know, they could be self-injurious and bang their heads against walls in a rampant act to obtain a cookie. People cringe at their touch and dare not touch them, understanding the impossibility for these people to contain any level of personality or emotion. I mean, it's not like the people affected by intellectual disabilities are actually human.
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