So it’s not enough to create these fake certified service animal cards or to concoct false disabled parking placards? Now there are fake Department of Justice cards that declare that the bearer does not have to wear masks because he/she has a disability.
With all the stigmas that people with disabilities have to bear, it is particularly disheartening to see scams like this, that further exploit our situation. While there may be some situations where a person’s disability may legitimately excuse them from wearing a mask, it would not be manifested in a card like this.
So for the record, let me say definitively that THESE CARDS ARE FAKE AND BEAR NO RELATION TO THE DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE OR TO THE AMERICANS WITH DISABILITIES ACT.
The following New York Times article gives many common-sense ideas about interacting with people who have disabilities. In reading it, I realized that very little is new. It just reminds us of the value of treating EVERYONE with dignity and respect.
Okay, I’ll admit it – on some level I wanted to look like
Barbie. Even though I intellectually knew that she wasn’t real and didn’t resemble
any person I knew, that skinny piece of painted plastic still had the power to
make me feel woefully inferior, if I let it. There was something about her
silent perfection that could not help but scream “pretty,” “hip” and “athletic”
to me, especially when she was dressed up to go hiking or rollerblading with
the ever-hunky Ken.
Of course, most children go through something like this as
we are growing up. And because I did not develop MS until well into adulthood, I
at least did not have the additional burden of incorporating a cane, a walker
or a wheelchair into my developing self-image. That would only have made things
more difficult and infinitely more confusing.
And it’s not just Barbie. Traditionally, images have abounded on television and in books and movies about “desirable” people, who almost never include people with disabilities (unless we are shown as unrealistically cheery and inspirational or as sinister and even evil, driven mad by our disabilities).
But it’s refreshing to see that things are slowly but
steadily changing. There are more television shows, movies and even commercials
that feature people with disabilities as just regular people – because that’s
all we really are.
And it was good to read that later in 2019, Mattel is going
to introduce new Barbie dolls that will look a lot more like real people. As
shown in the above photo and accompanying CNN article, the dolls will be varied
in their bodies, hair, skin and clothes, just like we all are. And significantly,
one of the dolls is a wheelchair user and another one has a removable prosthetic
So while the new Barbie is not going to feed the world, stop global warming or eliminate all discrimination, she can at least provide a little reassurance to children with disabilities who want to feel a little more connected to a very confusing world.
UPDATE: I’m now in
my 60’s and have had multiple sclerosis for about three decades. I haven’t played with dolls for a long time,
and I think I’m pretty much over “Barbie Envy.”
But when I feel particularly frustrated with my limping and tripping, it gives me some measure of comfort to see more and more people like me represented on television, in movies and elsewhere in the public domain. It reminds me that “real” people are not (usually) made of plastic!