I thought Riley's article on people with disabilities was quite interesting. As I (and I imagine most people in our class) do not have a disability, I found it really interesting to see it from a different perspective. In our culture, disabled people are often pushed to the side and are not considered as equal beings. They are taken care of, but that's where the care for them ends. Because of this, I feel like people with disabilities are almost somewhat of a forgotten culture. The truth about those people, whether their disability is physical, social, mental, or whatever else, is that they are people. They are intellectuals and deserve to be heard out rather than just passed around the different systems within society. Another thing that I found to be quite interesting about this article was to not only look at people with disabilities as a culture of their own, but to then take it one step futher and look at it as a social construction. One of the best parts of the article, in my opinion, was when Riley asked the question about whether it is the person being disabled within our society that makes us treat them a certain way-thus them behaving a certain way back, or if it is society that gives them the constricting label of being disabled and then only allows for them to act freely within a certain set of guidelines. I think it would be fascinating to see what it would be like to live in a society where there were no pre-determined social constructs and to see how people with disabilities act and how those without disabilities react and interact with those people. I do agree with the fact that the media does impose a certain impression of disabled people onto members of our society. There is definitely a "token" individual actor/actress that is chosen for those roles and they are always dressed the part. They are often very cliche- being in a wheelchair or being blind or deaf. But, again, being on the outside of this community, I have never thought about it this way before. I have never considered that those individuals are often tossed to the side and either forgotten about or treated like a burden. But as we grow up possibly not around disabled people, the only knowledge that we will have about them comes from the TV or movies/media. This portrayals are often so off that our society does not learn how to deal with them. This is was makes those interactions feel so uncomfortable. I think that if this subject was not treated as such a weird taboo (which really does not make sense, since they've been around forEVER), then those with disabilities would not be singled out quite as much and would not be treated so differently. In reality, they should be treated like each and every one of us.
Discussion question: What do you think the media really could do with disabled people to change this trend of being so cliche and discriminatory while at the same time including them in programming and raising awareness?