It is true that people who have never been to Rome cannot give a true picture of the city’s beauty. In the same manner, it is also true that people who have never seen someone being discriminated cannot fully appreciate the beauty of diversity. I have in mind a distant cousin of mine living in the state of Mississippi. Although he suffers from cerebral palsy, he loves to play basketball. At some point, he came over to our place during the holidays and everyone in the family was happy to have him around. I remember telling my friends about how my cousin amazes everyone with his exceptional dribbling prowess, and this got them curious. They wanted to see him. They all wanted to watch this new kid in the neighborhood. One day, my friends decided to pay a visit and witness my cousin playing his favorite game. But there was a catch. I had not told them that he was disabled. Although we recognize that he has some special needs, we see him as normal and treat him like everybody else.
On the material day, my cousin was in a jovial mood, as usual. He was in his wheelchair shooting three-pointers from the middle of the court. Unperturbed, one of my friends jokingly said “Where is your cousin? We didn’t come all the way for this!” Everyone in the group broke into laughter. Clearly, my cousin was offended. I also felt offended. I was at pains to explain that the guy they had come to see was the one in front of them. Although my friend apologized, I could not understand why people with disabilities should be treated in such an inhumane way. It then occurred to me that most people who have never interacted with people with disabilities may mock their capabilities. As a result, they may mock them because they are unaware of the capacity.
People with disabilities have not been granted their rightful place in the society. It is also on record that people with disabilities are not accorded the same opportunities for personal development as those accorded to their normal counterparts. The conventional belief is that people with disabilities are there to be helped. Only few people believe that the disabled can do some things on their own. This stereotype has been passed down for generations, and has contributed to the marginalization of people with disabilities. Undoubtedly, this is how economic inequality has been institutionalized in the past, but there are some signs that this may come to an end very soon.
Inequality is something which has been a subject of debate for a number of years now, and the subject will still continue to elicit debate in the coming years. The real source of conflict has been the subject of allocation of resources and whether all people have been given equal access to opportunities for personal development. On one hand, the minority groups feel marginalized and left out, while on the other hand, the majority groups with access to socio-economic opportunities deny that allocation of resources has been skewed. The truth of the matter is that it is indeed true that some people have been disadvantaged in the past due to the existing socio-economic structures, but this does not mean that there have been attempts to address the issue. Nonetheless, issues of equality and access to socioeconomic opportunities have not been fully addressed, and there are a number of cases to prove this. As a result, people have used stereotypes to institutionalize discrimination of some groups.
Arrow, K. J., Bowles, S., & Durlauf, S. N. (2000). Meritocracy and Economic Inequality.
Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.
Champernowne, D. G., & Cowell, F. A. (1998). Economic Inequality and Income Distribution.
Cambridge : Cambridge University Press.