So, I have been talking a little about Us vs. Them, which is a way that some nondisabled people think about spending time with disabled people (especially developmentally disabled), where they exaggerate the differences between Us and Them to a hilarious, and useless, result. And by hilarious, I mean...sometimes not hilarious, sometimes quite awful--but, yes, sometimes hilarious, in lesser forms.
A borderline awful/hilarious situation--probably not a huge deal in the long run, but fucked up because it's being done to a kid--is when an ABA therapist decides that telling weird/anticlimactic jokes is a bad thing for an ASD child to be doing. It is true that an odd, flat sense of humor is probably more characteristic of an ASD kid than a non-ASD kid, but does that really make it bad? This is passing-as-ethics as usual (I really need a tag for that). Besides, lots of non-ASD people enjoy that kind of humor--in fact, I know for a fact that some of these therapists liked The Office--but because it's an ASD kid, a huge deal is made out of it. Not much is funnier than watching a twentysomething hipster try to behavior modify a little boy out of telling ironic jokes.
A really hilarious situation involves this girl at my school who heads the organization that volunteers with intellectually disabled people. I guess I shouldn't post about people on my blog when it's obvious who they are. Oh well! Okay, so this girl is in the conservatory, and if you don't know, Oberlin Conservatory is a really big deal (I'm not bragging, because I'm not in the Con myself--actually it's really awkward when you say you go to Oberlin and people are all impressed and you have to be like "no, not the conservatory, it's actually attached to a college that is pretty average"). So, basically, if someone is in the conservatory, especially if they major in something really popular like this girl does, they are officially a Big Shot, and they've gotten something that a lot of people want to have.
This girl has a way of talking about intellectually disabled people that is kind of patronizing, in my opinion, and I had snarked on her before. But. This one time. She was talking about how we were going to go over to a group home and garden with them. She said:
"Gardening is really important because it's, like, a lesson--that teaches you about patience, about how you have to get something ready, and take care of it, and then wait for it."
So, if you were looking for something funnier than a hipster trying to teach a disabled kid not to be ironic, this is it--a privileged, 19-year-old student at a FAMOUS CONSERVATORY talking about teaching a group of middle-aged and elderly people who have lived in institutions their ENTIRE LIVES, how to be PATIENT.
That's Us vs. Them for you.