When I was young I had a fear of people who had physical signs of illness and disabilities.
This was not a general fear of people with flu or any illness out of the ordinary, it was more specific.
The people that I was most scared of was people with Downs syndrome, I don’t believe there was any sort of hate involved it was more the condition of how they looked most of the time the image of someone in a wheel chair with the head slanted at a unnatural angle and an arm raised and a pail hand at the end of that arm, when the person spoke it did not sound like anything that should coming from a human throat. More like a eagles cry than a voice. Of course there was the stuff that dribbled uncontrollably from their mouths.
Then there was a whole misunderstanding that they might not be altogether in their own heads. (obviously there was something wrong in my head.)
Then there were the folk who had survived polio now they really scared me because no matter how disturbing the images of the people in the wheelchair, it was not as scary as realising that the guy with Polio and his mismatched legs could actually run after you catch you and do unspeakably horrible things to you.
Now I do know the difference now and what I said comes from the six year old me.
The point of what I said above is to point out the stigma that certain kinds of illnesses and conditions in society and people in general who should know better.
We do not live in the 17th century where if you got sick you we’re quarantined in your unsanitary home with no running water and no proper waste disposal, and a guard placed before your home so that you and the rest of your family could not escape. A huge red cross painted on your exterior doors and the words “Lord have mercy on this house “.
The point been humans tend to stigmatise illnesses that they so not understand or know nothing about.
I call these society unacceptable diseases and this is not the sufferers fault illness is for the large part airborne or water born and can be deadly.
A common disease during the 19th century was called consumption, this disease that has been with the human family for at least 1000 years and possibly much longer.
Cholera is a waterborne disease and has also been with us a long time
Now acceptable illnesses’s such as alcoholism & gambling which has a far greater effect and far more people die from them.
Yet the alcoholic and gambler (which are self inflicted is not shunned or ostracised)
It is amazing that people who have a great capacity to love and be caring can be so full of hatred.
So to those who know what we are going through as a family and are supporting us a big, big, big thank you.
To the fine people of Port Elizabeth who (whose names I won’t mention, because I actually do not spread gossip) are ostracising the members of our family thank you for proving that you are heartless, cruel, and most of all ignorant.
You will be receiving your Masters degree Stigma Certificate via email or by text message soon, kindly remember that ignorance is contagious and we don’t want to catch it so please keep away from us.
Remember the only illness you can catch from an email or text message is hatred or if you really want to throw your phone, table or pc into the rubbish dump as it is already infected.
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