We need to respect those with disabilities
This past week we celebrated the 26th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act, one of our nation’s most important civil rights laws.
On that very day in Japan a man murdered 19 people at a care center for people with disabilities. It’s worth taking note.
While the ADA extended legal protection from discrimination for people with disabilities, prejudices remain.
We are still sloppy with our language, careless with our characterizations and hurtful with our attempts at humor and the results include stigmatizing people with disabilities or, worse, implying their lives are less valuable than the lives of people without obvious disabilities.
While all the facts of Japan are not yet clear, we do know that the suspect told police he wanted “to get rid of the disabled from this world.”
We also know that around the world people with disabilities are disproportionately victims of crimes.
Respect and justice and equal rights are the law. Still, we have to be careful.