Disability: a physical or mental condition that limits a person movements, senses or activities. Pity: the feeling of sorrow and compassion caused by the suffering and misfortune of others. Many would wonder how these two words correlate with each other, but it’s been researched that the emotion known as pity can have a fatal effect on people who have a disability. Since the early 1900s, an attempt to obtain equality for persons with disabilities has been a great reoccurring event. Innovations, laws and accommodations has been established along the way in order to help aid in accomplishing that exact goal. A major contribution was the American with Disabilities Act (ADA). This act was put in place in order to prohibit every form of discrimination that people with disabilities endured in regards to jobs, schools, transportation and all other public and private establishments. Although the ADA did put a stop to discrimination, it has no control over the stigma that people without disabilities portray to those with one. Despite the fact that PWDs expectations are to be seen as equal in every aspect of life, PWOD continue to portray pity for individuals who contain functional limitations. Some may recognize pity as an act of sympathy but philosophers like Kant and Nietzsche, defines pity as worthless from a moral viewpoint, and feels if an individual cannot control their emotion of pity for certain people, they still shouldn’t make a person feel like an object of pity. The dictionary definition of pity, stated at the beginning of the essay, indicates that a person with disabilities views his/her condition as a misfortune, which to the majority is not true. Within this paper, the various ways of how expressing pity can be fatal to persons with disabilities, the four main negative components of pity and how a person with disabilities tend to overcome the power structure that has been set between them and people without disabilities are outline.
Although pity is regularly portrayed as positive and beneficial, people with disabilities disagree. People with disabilities view pity as just another way of establishing more barriers for them. Their outlook on pity from a PWOD is why would you express pity based on merely an assumption that a PWD does not contain the same capabilities as them? There are four major ways that pity can be fatal to a person who has a disability. Pity can be fatal because it allows people without a disability to ethically exclude PWDs without having to feel any guilt. Pity can be fatal due to its ability to categorize and polarize PWDs. In addition it makes it attainable for society to refuse a fair share of the nation’s resources for PWD. Non-disabled people tend to also doubt the reliability of PWDs. A major way that pity can be fatal is its ability to destroy how a person identifies themselves pass their disability. There are several examples and articles online on how PWDs feels embarrassed in public. The fact that someone notices your disabilities before your other characteristics sometimes allow them to feel that way about themselves, that normal isn’t an option for them.
Rashadi Rajani, a young stroke survivor, wrote an article online titled “Why You Shouldn’t Pity a Disability”. The article went into details about how what should’ve been a normal day at the coffee shop was turned abnormal when her disabilities was asked to be prayed for by a stranger in front of everyone. Although the person who requested to pray may have had good intent, it left Rashadi in an embarrassing predicament. She ended the article with saying how events like that, made her question would she ever to be considered normal, and how it fatally became a great challenge for her to mentally overcome her adversities. Before people who are considered “normal” want to express pity on someone else, they should first consider the negative components that comes along with it.