Tuesday, October 2, 2012
Revealing My Bias
Those who know me, have often heard me
talk about one’s biases and how they can limit others and make themselves feel superior. As someone born with cerebral palsy, I have done everything possible NOT to be identified with those who have intellectual limitations. All too often, the erroneous label “mentally retarded” would be part of the diagnoses when one’s intellect was average or, as in my situation, very above average.
In our society, intelligence (based on IQ) makes a significant difference in opportunities that are seen as valuable. I learned a lesson that made me realize this is not so in all situation.
Yesterday, as I watched the swimmers in the Special Olympics swim competition, I found myself envying how they could move their bodies the entire length of the pool! I wondered, “Why can’t I do that?”
There are few things that ‘d like to be able to do than to freely move about in the pool, but I am afraid of the water. I bet those athletes didn’t “think” about swimming or try to “figure out” how to swim. Maybe they didn’t even begin by calling it “swimming.” They just kept moving their bodies from side to side in the water until they wound up at the opposite end from where they began. I learned so much from watching them. Hope I can put it to use in my own life!
Annie Laurie Harris, the oldest one of her ethnicity who lives independently, was born with cerebral palsy. She has defied the odds and challenged the medical prognosis since early childhood. She continues to live a full and active life in her 6th decade. After achieving her Master's Degree at Penn State University in 1985 she worked as a counselor and advocate for those with a history of chemical dependency. In 1990, she was recruited by the prestigious World Institute of Disability to be the Assistant Director of the first HIV/Disability Project. Her grant writing expertise is second to none as private foundations funded her innovative research projects again and again. Since returning to her home state of PA where she lives near her beloved alma mater, Ms. Harris continues to be involved in her community and avidly supports the Penn State athletic program. Once again,her love of writing helps to supplement her income. Her groundbreaking memoirs, It's Easier to Dance, is provocative and thought provoking.
Website and Blog
It's Easier to Dance, a memoir, by Annie Laurie Harris, a woman of African American Heritage, born with cerebral palsy, depicts the highlights, turning points and crossroads of her life while living with a complex, disability. Cerebral palsy is a neurological birth defect that can impair the function of any part of the brain. In her case, her brilliant intellect exists concurrently with lack of muscle coordination and significant speech impairment as well as difficulty in swallowing and performing everyday tasks. Ms. Harris tells in detail of the struggle to learn to take care of herself, earn professional credentials, work in profit and non-profit organizations, and becoming a contributing member of her community.
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Annie Practicing Golf Vide code:
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