Ridicule and discrimination



Prior to game 3 of the World Series, I was rooting for an Astros victory. Their city had just suffered a terrible hurricane, and they, unlike the Dodgers, hadn’t ever won this major title. And then Yuli Gurriel made a gesture in the dug-out, pulling his eyes down at the corners. This slant-eyed gesture was made toward Yu Darvish, the Dodger pitcher who is Japanese-Iranian, and Yuli had just hit a homerun ball that Yu had pitched. After Yuli’s reaction, I became a Dodger fan.

To be sure, Yuli will be suspended for 5 games next year. And I understand that the decision-makers didn’t want to punish the whole team.   But I wish he’d lost a game during the Series. It would have made a bigger statement about behavior and affirmation of high values.

I am overly-sensitive to the singling out of a person because of one attribute, even if it’s as major as one’s ethnicity, race, or ability. Our son is married to an Asian-American, delightful woman, who, to be honest, hasn’t experienced much, if any, discrimination like this. But my reaction springs mostly from spending nearly 2/3 of my life disabled. I still haven’t forgiven Donald Trump’s ridicule of the disabled journalist two years ago.

Frankly, I’ve faced very little mockery or teasing re: my disabilities. But I’ve heard stories of the bullying of many of my peers, and I’ve also withered in those few experiences where I’ve felt humiliated.

For instance, I walked along our neighborhood business district and felt something in front of my face along with a gust of air. A man coming behind me yelled, “Stop being an ass.”

Fortunately, he wasn’t speaking to me, but to the teenage boy, waving his hand in front of my face to double-check that I was blind (I suppose). The man spoke to me then and fumed about the “poorly-raised kid and the rotten parenting.”

“No harm done,” I said and continued down the sidewalk. But I wouldn’t have minded, then, if my guide dog at least had bitten the boy’s finger to defend my dignity.

My worst humiliation actually came from a married couple, then in their late 30s. The wife had come for a visit, and the husband stopped by to pick her up.

“Can I get you a beer?” I asked the husband.


I talked for a few more minutes, while I retrieved the beer. All the while the husband was making out madly with the wife. I learned this, not by my own senses, but because the wife, in deference to full disclosure, told me. This couple had a very acrimonious relationship which was always the reason the woman stopped by. They divorced soon after.

Possibly the man felt overcome with lustful feelings at the moment. But I think his passion had something to do with “getting away with it” directly in front of me.

So Yuli, and yes, President Trump, grow up!



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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