October 15 Honorees

            October 15 stood out for me for two reasons: the 60th anniversary of the publication of Charlotte’s Web, the children’s classic by E.B. White and Equality Day for blind Americans.  Pretty important milestones.  I marked the day by speaking to a group of advocates at the City-County Task Force on Disability.  Often, disability seems to me to be the invisible minority group in the country, invisible as a tiny spider who befriends a runt piglet.  Impairment in the body leads to a sensation of lost physical integrity, something those of us with disabilities can overcome.  But I think society which is focused so extensively on appearance reacts to the malfunction of a body part as something less attractive, something off-putting and upsetting.  Lookism, the discrimination against people for their appearance, affects most those with obesity and with disability.  But just as a spider and pig can share commonality, those with disabilities and those without can form deep friendships.  As the co-leader of the Disability Task Force said, “What is best for our society—to sequester those with disabilities away as they did 40 years ago or support interaction between the able-bodied and disabled in every aspect of life?”  We all agreed that the interaction was better.  Diversity improves society.

About Sally Hobart Alexander

Blinded at the age of twenty-six, I left California and elementary school teaching for life in Pittsburgh, Pa. There, I met my husband, got a Masters' degree in social work, had two kids, now 35 and 32, and became a writer. Surprisingly, the writing career led me full-circle to teaching, and I teach in Chatham University's M.F.A. program and lead two writing critique groups. Always, since the age of 26, I have traveled, not in the stereotypic darkness attributed to blindness, but a mist. My blog then, "traveling through the mist" will deal with issues in my culturally different life as a blind writer, teacher, speaker, and human being.
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