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Stigmatization and demonization IV - stares, upfront questions

Cite this article:
Wolf Schweitzer: Technical Below Elbow Amputee Issues - Stigmatization and demonization IV - stares, upfront questions; published April 26, 2010, 06:30; URL: https://www.swisswuff.ch/tech/?p=302.

BibTeX: @MISC{schweitzer_wolf_1574146680, author = {Wolf Schweitzer}, title = {{Technical Below Elbow Amputee Issues - Stigmatization and demonization IV - stares, upfront questions}}, month = {April},year = {2010}, url = {https://www.swisswuff.ch/tech/?p=302}}


1 Comment

Auch das von unbeherrschter Neugier geleitete Ansprechen behinderter Personen, verbunden mit taktlosen Fragen, gehört zu den Stigmaerfahrungen der Betroffenen, wenngleich es nicht ganz so verletzend sein dürfte wie Anstarren, da ja immerhin eine Kommunikationschance eröffnet wird. Die oben erwähnte Diskriminierung der Privatsphäre des Behinderten und seine Degradierung zum Objekt kennzeichnen auch diese Reaktionsform Nichtbehinderter. [Cloerkes]

Obviously, one gets at times viewed as some type of person that is interested in immediate blunt questions or approaches. Visible disability does that.

People that ask such questions typically do that because they look at me or my arm more like an object than part of a person. That in itself also is regarded as discrimination. I am not opposed to a talk, a discussion, to any type of subject - but such blunt upfront choices of first subject are something that may elicit strange answers.

The really practical question is what to answer or how to react. Mostly, it is situation dependent. I am not really often in the mood to fill in complete strangers about stuff that is none of their business.

Also, if I get treated more like a curious object by you (including staring or upfront questions without any introduction), what makes you think you deserve to be treated any differently? See, I knew I could get your attention somehow :)

Staring at me

You will find it practically impossible to stare at me without me noticing. There are looks, and there are stares, and I know the difference. I do notice and I notice fast, quick and swiftly. One gets better at it.

I usually do not react to it. But what I always do is remember the face of the person that stares. And if I have a good memory for anything, it is faces. So, you stare - I remember.

Depending on the day, on my personal moment, I may react to it, however. I may just pull a face, stick my tongue out, stare back, confront you right there. If you overdo it with staring, it could trigger unpredictable reactions in me.

But you know that staring was not polite to begin with. So why complain?

Gosh, how do you [X] ?

  • Never mind, that is what we have technicians, hospital and state officials for. And I hate it if they don't do their job. Did you hear about that drunk guy that killed a girl? Did you know they had not revoked his drivers license? I sure hate it if state officials don't do their job.
  • [Stare back, slowly] How, ehm, do you mean that? Exactly?
  • I don't know, never thought about it.
  • [wait, sigh, look at that person] Are there more question? Is this an interrogation? Are you done?
  • Actually I could need a coffee right now!?
  • I forgot.
  • YOU WHAT???
  • I just came here to do [...]. Not to go into detail over some bullshit really. Do you mind? Terribly?

What happened?!! Do you have accident?!!!

  • Don't worry, I have prosthesis.
  • [Look at arm. Stare back at person] OH! [stare back at arm] SHIT!
  • Everything is fine. Do not worry. Oh look, [point out something in vicinity].
  • WHAT? I have WHAT?
  • That's not even a sentence :)
  • YOU WHAT???
  • I just came here to do [...]. Not to go into detail over some bullshit really. Do you mind? Terribly?

What happened to your arm?

  • It is probably not so important, you know.
  • Why, who, hm, questions, hmm?
  • Torago, hm!
  • YOU WHAT???
  • I just came here to do [...]. Not to go into detail over some bullshit really. Do you mind? Terribly?

Oh!! What did you do with your arm?

  • Me? Did I do anything? Did something fall down? You need help?
  • Long story!
  • [stare back] IT WILL PASS, TRUST ME.
  • Nothing.
  • YOU WHAT??

You are an inspiration!

  • [Stare back] For what? [Keep staring]
  • [Stare back, slowly] How, ehm, do you mean that? Exactly?
  • [stare back] IT WILL PASS, TRUST ME.
  • Yes. That'll be 50 bucks please.
Can I help you with [X]?
  • [Depending on circumstances] Yes!
  • [Depending on circumstances] Thanks, No!
  • [Depending on circumstances] Why are you in a hurry?
  • [Stare back, slowly] How, ehm, do you mean that? Exactly?
  • WHAT? YOU WHAT?
How on earth do you control it?
  • [Dead pan] Thought control.
  • [Dead pan, trying to open] Oops actually it seems like I can't control it. SORRY!
  • It's complicated. Maybe I can explain some other time.
  • POOH!
  • HM! Yeah! Hm! Something like that! HMMM! .. What toothpaste do you use?
How does it feel?
  • [stare back] WHAT? [hold it for a moment] How does WHAT feel?
  • What? Like always. I don't know. What do you mean?
  • Feel? What do you mean? You mean like itch or what? No, no, it doesn't itch.
  • Long story!
  • Torago! HM!!! Eh, you know.
  • Why? Does it rain?
  • YOU WHAT???
  • Open. It feels open. But I am not sure what you are talking about. Listen, I gotta [whatever]. Take care!

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