Matthew Mehlhaff

Why Didn’t You Tell Me I Was Different? by Matthew F. Mehlhaff

I have come to the conclusion that people hate just so they have something to do. Apparently there are not enough jobs or educational institutes in the world to keep them busy. And even those that do have jobs seem to find enough time to hate just to be able occupy their time.

A good example of this is what I overheard this morning. The person responsible for cleaning the ADA restroom was complaining to someone about a disrespectful person in a wheelchair that keeps throwing empty or partial rolls of toilet paper on the floor in the corner of the ADA stall. They would rather hate on a disabled person then find out why he keeps doing what he does. Is this right? When the world decides to hate on disabled people who are trying to do the best that they can with their particular limitations just because they are not “normal” like them?

ADA restrooms in prison are the same as those in restaurants and other public accessible areas. They are equipped with assist bars around the toilets. When people leave their garbage behind cluttering up those assist bars, a person in a wheelchair needs to access said bars, sweeping everything off onto the floor is acceptable behavior. Yes or no? Who’s right, who’s wrong?

But back to the original conversation – Why would a person hate someone in a wheelchair? Is it jealousy because they have someone to assist them? Is it because they see them as “weaker” and now are considered prey? “Only the strong shall survive!” Is it because they don’t comprehend the persons reason for being in a wheelchair, so out of ignorance they hate? Or is it that they see them as “too lazy to walk”?

Whatever their reasons, how can someone be taught acceptance and tolerance for those who are different from themselves? And not just for those in wheelchairs. How do we learn to accept those that look different because they have blue eyes and I have brown? Or because the are Muslim and I am Jewish? Or they are transgender and I am a conservative Christian. Oh, how the list goes on….

This is what I do like about people and their differences – EVERYONE is a seperate individual! There are no two people on this planet exactly the same. Not even “identical” twins. And that is what is so great about us. We are different! Accept it. Cherish it. And get over yourself. You are no better than the next person – which also makes you no less than the next person. We are all equal in that we are born, we live, we learn, we struggle, we die! So why make it harder on yourself and others by hating so much?

Matthew F. Mehlhaff
DOC #864454

Categories: Matthew Mehlhaff

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