There’s another thing that Down Syndrome people have over cripples like me. At least everybody’s not putting together cripple awareness simulations where people who don’t have Down Syndrome pretend like they do for a day. For that I am also envious.
It’s common to see cripple awareness simulations where the mayor or somebody rides around in a wheelchair for a day just so they can feel the cripple experience from the inside. And a local news crew follows the mayor around as he/she struggles to push the wheelchair down a broken up sidewalk or to open the heavy doors at the entrance of City Hall. Or sometimes it a blind awareness simulation and the mayor is blindfolded. And at the end of the day the mayor always says what an enlightening experience it was. And the mayor scores points with the voters because everybody likes empathy in their elected officials.
The problem with these simulations is that they really don’t teach anybody much about what it’s like to be crippled. It takes a helluva lot more than one day to learn that. It’s as silly as trying to become a gourmet chef in one day. It takes years of practice to get good at cooking, just like it takes years of practice to get good at being crippled. If you want to know what it’s like to be an amputee, chopping your leg off is just the beginning. Then you’ve got to go around like that for a couple years before you can start to figure it all out.
But there aren’t simulations for every type of crippledness. Like for instance, I’ve never seen a paranoid schizophrenia awareness simulation. I don’t know how you would pull that one off. Maybe the mayor would wear headphones and listen to recordings of disembodied voices for a day. (It’s looks like I could sure use some paranoid schizophrenia awareness training).
And likewise, I’ve never seen a Down Syndrome awareness simulation. I don’t know how you would pull that one off either. Maybe the mayor would wear a mask for a day that makes them look like a Down Syndrome person? But that would have the opposite effect on voters. That’s the kind of thing that can get a mayor impeached, like running around in black face.
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