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Politically Correct
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I watched "My Left Foot" last night, the story of Christy Brown, the Irish author who happens to have cerebral palsy.

Two things struck me:

First, I was appalled at how deeply I have been indoctrinated into politically correct speech. I cringed when Christy was called a cripple and a moron and I flinched when several of his 23 siblings buried their girlie magazine under him in his wheelbarrow cart to hide the fact they were looking at girlie pictures. [And he didn't want to go to bed that night because he didn't want his Ma to find it.] We would never say "crippled" nor even "handicapped." The politically correct term is "differently abled" or "special" and I probably would lose my job if I even said the word "crippled."

Second, I was stunned by the normalcy of the way Christy was treated. He was included in the soccer game, he was part of the family circle doing maths and other school work, he got into (precipitated) a pub fight after his father's funeral. No special education schools, with selected tutors and one-on-one aides. No lift gate school bus whisking him off to some properly appointed classroom with physical therapists and age-appropriate activities. (He tried that environment and demanded to be taken back home.)

Even the "mainstreaming" process in the schools doesn't begin to approach the way Christy grew up--he was allowed to succeed, he was allowed to fail, to grieve, to get angry, to fall in love and to be. What are we doing to our "special" students that's any better?

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