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One of the basic precepts of the Judaic, Christian and Islamic traditions from earliest times is charity. Charity is normally considered to be a good thing and in some ways it is, but the attitudes that charity has bred in the past have led to some enduring legacies that disabled people find offensive. The idea that giving charity was a way of achieving God’s grace led to pitying or patronizing attitudes towards disabled people.

Do you feel that that is still the case today?


( 3 comments — Leave a comment )
Sep. 5th, 2008 11:41 am (UTC)
In a word, yes. I left the church of my up bringing in part because of such attitudes. I see evidence of these attitudes in such things as people who used to try and drop money in my coffee cup, stuff bills into my hands, and when asked of a stranger if he routinely offered men unknown to him sitting on bus stops rides, was informed by him that the bible taught him to pity the lame and the blind.
This society is drenched in attitudes such as these. I do not believe they have diminished over the last 30 years. This society finds it far more comfortable to offer charity than address the attitudes that marginalize people with disabilities in the job market. Evidence of this is glaringly apparent in the disinsentive structure of SSI.
Sep. 5th, 2008 01:30 pm (UTC)
I also feel that this attitude about charity still exists, especially in the religious right. Although no one has ever tried to give me money, I feel that sometimes people help me out with things because they feel obligated by charity. People don't like giving me rides, and sometimes I feel that they only do it because they don't want to look like a bad person. I usually don't take rides from those people once I realize that though.

The charity thing can go the other way as well. As in, people start to resent people with disabilities because we're supposed "charity cases." They think that we ask for it and that we're beggars who can't provide for ourselves, when usually it's the structures in society that make us need help sometimes.
Sep. 5th, 2008 07:04 pm (UTC)
Yes! I can't go to church events without winding up fending off people who want to give me things (food I can well afford to buy on my own, kids toys, and other such inappropriate stuff) or pray over me to "Heal me."

The concept that I am happy and content with my life and body is sometimes even offensive to the people in churches.

YMMV of course, this all took place in the midwest.
( 3 comments — Leave a comment )


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