Tuesday, August 14, 2012
Read the poem by Steven Dobyns called The Bleeder. It's a story of a teenage camp counselor and his experience with a camper who had hemophilia. He uses the expression shared meanness when he talks about the other campers' treatment of him. From the safety of their group they view the camper with hemophilia as a loser, someone totally separate and different from them. They consider him already dead. As individuals they might not have acted so cruelly but together their bullying was successful at getting the camper sent home. Not surprisingly, they missed him once he was gone because he had given their bullying a common cause. Who's to blame for the campers' ignorance and fear? Their lack of information and discussion? The camp director? The counselors? Things go wrong for everyone when we don't have a chance to ask questions and talk about disability.