Well, I had a "what the &%#*! is wrong with people?" kind of day yesterday. It started with a comment to an old post on peanut bans that expressed outrage that kids with food allergies didn't just die already or maybe kill themselves to keep from inconveniencing others. As many times as I've seen and deleted that kind of comment on a blog post or heard it out in the wild, it still just astonishes me and breaks my heart that people have such anger over such relatively minor accommodations. However you feel about peanut bans -- and there's certainly disagreement about the wisdom of that approach even in the food-allergy community -- to state passionately that your right to eat peanuts anywhere you darn well please supersedes another person's right to live and learn and move about, to send that message out into the world, to feel pride and righteous indignation in that point of view ... it just baffles me.
And then, in the afternoon, I spotted a post on the blog Love That Max about T-shirts sold by a national retailer that say, "I ride a short yellow bus." I join with blogger Ellen Seidman in saying WTF, and wondering who on earth thought up and manufactured and ordered and displayed and would ever buy and wear such a thing, and where they put their humanity. Ellen's post includes a lot more T-shirts from around the Web with messages that, trust me, you do not want to scroll down to read. None of this stuff is a slip-of-the-tongue R-word, none of it is a self-deprecating comment by someone for whom the meaning has become disassociated with the word. These are things that people have thought through enough to create and offer to others as something hi-larious, and they are unapologetically insulting. No excuses.
These days, we're supposed to be all sensitive to bullying, all zero-tolerance for intolerance. We're supposed to be getting out the message to kids that it's not okay to pick on someone who's different, it's not okay to hurt people who make you uncomfortable, it's not okay to mock people because their abilities differ from yours. We spend big bucks on school programs to drive this home, and yet, there's still this rage-filled rumbling that putting out "normal" people is a mortal offense, still products being put up for sale that celebrate insensitivity and seek to make it cool. Talk about your mixed messages.
I've written before about the need for families of kids with all sorts of disabilities to come together as one force for smashing this kind of intolerance; if you agree with that, add your name to my manifesto, and consider making a complaint the next time you see an injustice even if it's outside your particular area of concern. There are a lot of us, families and friends and loved ones of kids with special needs, and if we could all express our opinions and withhold our business in unity, we could make some righteous noise. Not much that can be done about bozos in blog comments, but if you'd like to have a word with the folks selling those shirts, Ellen has contact info in her blog post. Seen something else you'd like us to get riled about? There's a category in the forum for posting just that. Let's hope we can make today better than yesterday.