The Fine Line
After reading Professor LVM’s “Being a Woman and Other Disabilities”, I spent the rest of the day deep in thought about many of the things he discussed in his paper. What struck me first and foremost was the discussion of those with disabilities competing in marathon type races. The complaint from those competing with handicaps had been that they were stopped during the race and were not truly included as competitors. While they were often stopped for safety reasons, those in wheelchairs were upset that they were not being treated as regular competitors.
The question here is whether or not participating in these “leg races” is something that people in wheelchairs should do. LVM made the excellent point that we need to rethink excellence in sport. He writes, “My argument, in other words, isn’t about dumbing down excellence in sport but simply about showing that disability can be perfectly compatible with that excellence,” (p. 138). I feel like this quotation could be applied to many things other than sports.
Any kind of disability- gender, physical ability, mental ability, race- ought to be made compatible with standards of society, whether those standards apply to sporting events, job offers, or politics. Why can’t we all participate in the marathon of life together? Why must our handicaps result in our being stopped to ensure the safety of others, or in the creation of a division separate for those with disabilities? Professor LaVaque-Manty even addresses this at the conclusion of this section of his paper, “…the next step of the argument requires that we turn to questions of the equality of opportunity,” (p. 138).
This reading brings up topics that I rarely think about given that I am 1) able bodied and 2) I have not faced any prejudice thus far in my life as a woman. It’s interesting to think about these how I would approach these situations if I was faced with a struggle such as the handicapped participants of the marathon. It’s something worth thinking about, in my opinion. There’s a fine line between what is morally right and what makes sense.