Saturday, July 21, 2012

Good intentions get you blacklisted in my hood

Our friends are awesome.

Our friends have hopped onboard this flimsily constructed barge (I thought it was miscolored, frilly panties in a tangle, but whatevs?) we call our life and are genuinely understanding, delighting, attempting really hard to never hurt, even by accident, celebrating, being supportive in the ways we specifically wished for, rejoicing, and loving us, for us, to us and with us.

We are lucky.

Our friends have good intentions. But they also have educations and understanding.

And in our world the former can no longer exist without the latter two.

The other day I saw a picture circulated on Facebook. It was a nice photo of a girl and a boy. The girl had a cocktail dress on and the boy was wearing a suit and tie. The two of them were smiling, maybe making a face, and proudly showing what I understood to be the Hook 'em Horns sign (or something to do with death metal, who really knows?). The caption indicated that they were going to their prom. The boy had Down syndrome.

I smiled. To me the picture looked like any other slightly quirky prom shot with teens posing in their Sunday best, but still being the teens they are.

Then I made the mistake of reading the comments. One should never read the comments. On anything. Because that's when the humanity catches up to your good mood and pees all over it.

Oh, apart from a few trolls who always seem to peek out from under their selected rocks (oppressive father's basement and behind a badly pockmarked face?), there wasn't anything in the comments that was especially cruel or mean or nasty. Outright.


There were good intentions. Nice words, commendations, God bless yous, and congratulations to the girl's parents.

Because obviously (please note the dripping sarcasm here) the girl would never have gone to the prom with a boy who has Down syndrome if she weren't doing it as an act of charity. Because she pitied the boy. Because her parents had brought her up to be kind to those less fortunate. Because she wanted to give someone who would never ever be asked on a date the "best day of his life".

This was painfully clear to those who commented on the picture. There was no mention of who the couple was, what their reasons for going together were, or what they thought of the situation. Nonetheless, the automatic assumption wasn't that they were going together because they liked each other or were friends, which would have been the case had the Down syndrome never been evident from the picture. The instant assumption most of the commenters made was that this was a favor.

A pity-date.

That would surely secure her a safe ascension to heaven when her time came.

The boy wasn't a boy. He was just Down syndrome.  

Now, I would like to believe that they were going together because they liked each other and wanted to go together. Because maybe the boy is funny, or witty, or has a good heart, or is an awesome prankster, or is one of the cool kids, or sings like an angel, or has good hair, or smells nice, or can fart/ burp the alphabet, or can keep a secret like no one's business.

Or maybe the girl's a total airhead and no one had asked her and the boy was doing her a favor.

I would like to allow for a multitude of possible backstories, good and bad and downright implausible, like would be awarded to any two neurotypical individuals. I would like to think there's more to the plot than just Down syndrome. That there are two individuals in the photo, doing their individual things, living their individual, unique lives, made possible by their individual, unique and rounded personalities.

Please. Next time you see a person with Down syndrome, just see the person.

See the individual.

Especially if you're looking at my kid, because, in her case, I'm part of the package and I'm not letting good intentions slide. Not now, not ever.

Would Down syndrome eat Acapulco sand? 
I doubt it. 
My daughter would.


Blog-hopping with Jen from Down wit Dat. Visit. Enjoy. Leave lovely comments. Now go.  


  1. I know what you mean about good intentions. People do mean well... they just express it badly. Thank you for doing what you do.

    I could just nibble The Babe.

    Thanks for participating in the T-21 Blog Hop, July 2012.

  2. What is it with babies and sand? Even now, at 2, my youngest can't be trusted in the sand pit. Surely it can't be nice to have a mouth full of sand? It's sure as heck rotten to clean up at the other end!

  3. What great pics of a lovely little girl

  4. I never read the comments, and I hope I never see the condition before the person. Often the comments of people who mean well are the most hurtful.

    I hopped to your blog through the blog hop and am really glad I did :)

  5. I disliked that photo too. And I NEVER read comments. (Having read one or two too many for my mental welbeing about our own daughter.)
    Babe is a stunner however. Large hugs from the UK x

  6. Luckily I have no good intentions - road to hell and all that, y'know. But your photo did send me right back to my own daughter's first time on the beach, eating sand. As she's now 14 and asking if I'd freak out if she had her nose pierced, it was a welcome zip back in time!
    For the record, the answer was 'no, but I would think it was gross - what happens when you get a cold?'

  7. I saw that and was hoping to read tha they were best friends, or cousins or her date stood her up and he stepped forward and saved her for the evening, or maybe they'd been classmates since preschool and... I don't know, just something. but thank goodness the picture implied her amazing, super-human beauty graced his little life and gave him something he could dream about for the rest of his life. I certainly hope the rest of the real story was accidentally lost somewhere, I can't imagine such a vapid representation would go so far on fluff. alas, stranger things have happened. :/


The Viking came home from a business trip packing a pink castle, a whole heap of princess and prince dollies and a carriage pulled by a unicorn. Life's good until someone swallows a crown or a glass slipper. I won't ever answer your comment, but I'll sure appreciate it while I'm sifting through shit looking for that crown. Yah.