Thursday, December 11, 2008

Political correctness madness

A writes in response to my last post:
This is a horrible idea. It frustrates me to no end that people think that stuttering is something that you can "overcome". To add a competitive edge to it will make those who feel a great shame and pain about their stuttering feel even worse. The movement should be towards a greater acceptance of stuttering in the society. Not changing the stutterers to fit the society's expectations of "normal" speech.
A's statement is a good example of the political correctness madness that distorts current day thinking.

First of all, A asks for greater acceptance of stuttering in our society, when in fact he or she is not even able to give his or her real name but chose to remain anonymous! A puts me down for thinking the politically incorrect, when in fact I do a million times more about greater acceptance and transparency of stuttering by putting my life (including my stupid picture :-) and thoughts on the Internet. Everyone can read my blog including future clients or employers.

Second, I refuse the notion that we are helpless victims of a bad society that puts us down (blame-it-on-society syndrome) and creates the handicap that we experience. What non-sense! The vast majority of people only want to help us, but do not know how. In fact, we do not even know ourselves! Yes, there are some who might laugh or not be accepting of our handicap. So what? Is such behaviour so special? No it is a generic feature of humans. People (including and especially stutterers) laugh or are not accepting of all kinds of things: political attitudes (he is a neo-con republican), beliefs (he believes in the bible), weight (she is really fat), height (he is so small), beauty (she is really ugly), social status (she is white trailer trash), and so on. And yes there are discrimination in the job market. Why? Because stuttering does not help business. So we need to convince our employers that we have compensating strengths or that stuttering is not relevant to the specific job. The same is true for small people, dumb people, over-weight people, and so on.

Third, A seems to imply that somehow society creates stuttering. I say: Complete Delusion. Our genes and other influences have caused our stuttering in the first place with or without society. And we all feel a physical handicap with or without society. We cannot say what is on our mind all the time like a child without legs is restricted. It is not imposed by society, and it is physically experienced. Society reacts to the handicap, and its reaction is to 95% determined by our reaction to society! It reminds me of the talk shows with obese people who say things like "I want people to accept me how I am", "I am happy who I am", and "men find big women sexy", and of course it is society that makes us feel bad. Come on. The vast majority of men and women who are overweight hate it and want to be slim. Not because society wants them to (though it adds pressure), because they want to because you have restricted body movements, you are always out of breath, you have a very restricted sex life or none, diabetes and so on. They are deluding themselves: "I can't loose weight and now I just tell myself I actually feel good about how I am". I am not going to say that I feel good about stuttering, because I do not feel good about stuttering because I experience a physical handicap. What I can say is that I acknowledge that I stutter and that the propensity to stutter will stay with me for the rest of my life. And I also do not accept that I cannot improve my speech. I can if I work on it.

Fourth, the movement should not be about greater acceptance, but about greater knowledge about stuttering. I am not sure it is healthy for society to accept us like we are; should be accept overweight people to be overweight? I do not think so. We should help everyone with a handicap to improve as much as possible and educate others about the handicap, but how can I say something is OK when it is not OK. My speech is not OK, I cannot say what I really want to say. (If I only stutter slightly but say exactly what I want to say, then it is OK for me personally.) I am just deluding myself if I say it is OK. Not a single person in their right mind will listen to stuttered speech and say: Well that's OK even though they might publicly say so. I want them to think: "That's not OK, but it is not his fault. He is a person with strengths and weaknesses of which stuttering is one. I admire his courage to live life despite his handicap and if I can help him to improve, I will."


Unknown said...

Tom, I found your last post hilarious ('We Need More Competition'). I know there is some seriousness in what you say but it's a shame some people miss the humour as well. Anyway you can't please everyone, I for one very much appreciate the time and hard work you put in not to mention the occasional laugh you give me. Thanks for taking the time to do the blog and for having the guts to be yourself.

Mark Hall.

Anonymous said...

Hi Tom,

I thought you would be interested in viewing this sympathetic and captivating short film about Hannah, a young girl who suffers from stuttering. The film was produced by one of our students here at Vancouver Film School.

You can view the film here:

Vancouver Film School

Anonymous said...

Perceptive and compelling post. It's not often that I feel another has expressed how I feel. This is one of the those moments. Thanks and good job.

Anonymous said...

Ok, I agree (generally agree). But what about the extreme variability of stuttering?
To lose weight, it is generally accepted you need exercise and diet and MOTIVATION. For some people it, is hard because of genetic factors. It is easier said than done. There are many options you have if you want to lose weight...I can list it. But goggle works.
How does a person lose his stutter, meaning dec. stuttering? What are his options.
I do like the analogy of losing weight to losing (dec.) stuttering...but need to point out the differences.
ex. Is the SpeechEasy like Gastric Bypass surgery?