Summer 2009 Retreat

Summer 2009 Retreat

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Journal 12--Isel Lee

I always thought that disability is more of a concrete characteristic, but now I think disability can sometimes be a socially constructed way of classifying people. I remember when I transferred into a school in Korea, there was a student in my class who had a mental disability. The teacher never mentioned his condition so we did not know what kind of disability he had. All I knew was that his actions were random, his speech was poor, and according to what the other students told me, he had some kind of a mental problem. I remember everyone always made fun of him and called him a “retard,” and disliked sitting next to him. Once, during recess, he supposedly smeared poop all over his chair, causing the whole class to become disgusted with him. He got in trouble for it, but I’m not sure what actually happened because I did not personally witness the incident. Thinking back, I wonder if he would have been treated better if the classroom had a more supportive atmosphere socially and educationally. I don’t remember if he was obligated to do any of the homework or participate in class, but I do remember how his existence was ignored. Now, I wonder to what degree he was disabled. I wonder if he was given the proper educational and social support in class, would he have been able to participate in class as well? In other words, I wonder if labeling him a “retard” limited his capabilities. I did not stay in Korea long enough to know him, but it really boggles my mind whether his capabilities was nonexistent or that the label and the mistreatment he received actually caused his capabilities to seem nonexistent.

No comments:

Post a Comment