Private and Public Policy Reviews for the Disabled

Staring Still Alive and Well

By Stephen Rex Goode, BSW

Well, it’s not well, really. It’s sick.

I suppose it’s human nature for people to do a little staring at people who look different than the usual. Whether you’re sitting in a wheelchair or have some visible evidence of your disability, there will always be people who stare. At one time I thought people had figured out how rude and unkind it is, but it still happens.

If you’re reading this and are a starer, I have a suggestion for you. Talk to the person you feel like staring at. It seems to me that staring has a lot to do with objectification, another version of what happens when you look at an attractive person. You indulge in this rude behavior because you don’t think of the object of your stare as a person. Look him or her in the eye. Be polite and open.

Parents, teach your children not to stare. My disability is somewhat hidden, but I’ve noticed when out and about with clients that children are far more prone to stare. Again, I think it’s human nature to stare, but it’s part of human nature meant to be overcome with maturity and training. It’s an important life skill for children to be at ease talking to people with disabilities, so encourage talking rather than staring.

I suppose that it is my point that staring reveals immaturity. To be a mature and healthy person, staring should be a thing you leave behind.

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One Response to “Staring Still Alive and Well”

  1. kahuna said:

    Something happened to me yesterday related to this.

    I have bursitis in my shoulder and it makes it very difficult to drive sometimes. I found this little massager at Walgreens that has four little legs. I can put it under my shirt on my shoulder and the massage action makes it so I can drive with less pain. It makes me look like I’ve got a deformed shoulder.

    I was stopped at a light, about four cars back. This truck driver pulls up a little in front of me in the lane to my right. He just looked back and stared at me. When the light turned green, I took off. I quickly moved the massager to the other shoulder so when he pulled up next to me again and stared, the other shoulder looked deformed. People!

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