Editors Note: It will be interesting to see if this campaign works or not. What do you think? Leave your comments below as we would love to hear your thoughts.
In early April, thought bubble-shaped signs started popping up around Pennsylvania with offensive statements directed toward people with disabilities.
One unabashedly proclaimed, “Handicapped people make me nervous.” Another said, “They call it ‘ADHD.’ I call it bad parenting.”
But what seems like yet another example of disability-related bias actually has a surprising twist: The bold, provocative signs were posted by volunteers from disability rights organizations. Their goal? Confront the public directly with offensive statements said to people with disabilities in this jarring, controversial way to start a conversation about stigma.
Pennsylvania Developmental Disabilities Council (PADDC) launched the “Let’s Think Again” campaign after much debate over putting offensive statements at the forefront of the disability rights movement. But, ultimately, the group decided the shock factor was a necessary evil in combating stigma surrounding those living with emotional, intellectual and physical disabilities
“As a body dedicated to the interests of people with disabilities, this strategy was thoroughly vetted and carefully considered,” Graham Mulholland, executive director of PADDC, said in a release. “However, the council agreed that we have a responsibility to take the most effective approach to confronting stigma and encouraging real change. Unfortunately, many people with disabilities hear much worse statements than these every day.”
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“[W]e’ve stopped shying away from what people are really thinking and we’re doing something about it.”
Stigma has historically been a hard topic for the council to confront, mainly because most people are unwilling…