Editor’s Note: As Managing Editor, the decision to publish the post mentioned here is entirely my own. I made a horrible mistake in publishing a post that included offensive language and views that hurt the disabled community and others. I exercised poor judgment in balancing common sense vs. my aim to give our hard-working volunteer contributors an open forum for their views and those of their guest contributors. I regret the mistake.
I removed the post because it was harmful. I honestly see no need to retain it because of the harm it would continually cause. The intention is not to erase what happened. The last thing we want to do is hurt people, so taking away the thing that hurts feels like the right thing to do. (You can find saved copies if you really want to.)
Of course, we always welcome members of the disabled community to express their opinions. We will also actively seek out disabled folks who want to share their views as well. This column is, in fact, geared towards that very thing.– John DeNardo
Special Needs in Strange Worlds is my baby, but sometimes every parent makes a mistake. I’m here to say I made a mistake and I will own it.
Earlier today, I posted an entry to this column that was offensive to people who are disabled. It used language and points of view that I myself find offensive and others rightfully did as well. The post has since been taken down, but not before the damage was done.
I have spent my life watching my big brother fight against stigmas associated with disabilities, and it’s broken my heart. My own disabilities are slow in coming, but I am absolutely disabled now. I can’t physically do more than I can do and the emotions associated with that are starting to hit me hard. My condition is degenerative, and it’s scary to know I will never feel this good again. I started this column because my life is changing, and the more it changes, the more I realize that the disabled community doesn’t get nearly enough attention, and not enough positive, informative, uplifting discussion. I wanted to use this column as a way to shine a light on the disabled community and say that we belong in your diversity discussions. We belong in your conventions. We belong in your books. We belong wherever you belong. Damn it, we deserve a voice.
But what is spoken is just as important as having a voice.
As the person who runs this column, I should have gone with my gut and not posted it at all. For the part I played, I am sorry. You deserve your anger, and you are justified in it. I feel it too. I made a mistake, and I will own it, but please don’t think that I am ignorant of the problems. I may be bad at writing about them, but I do understand, and that indignation burns in me, too.
So what do we do to resolve this? This column is all about special needs in strange worlds. We invite those who are disabled to share their stories and let their voices be heard.