Saturday, May 12, 2012

Paper Research: Equal Rights

This is the fourth of these process logs from Mom's folder. They're sort of logs that document her research for her spring 1994 paper From Dependence to Independence. Instead of a log, though, these are more like mini-papers that are interesting on their own. 

In this one, she talks equal rights issues, and how they relate to both the disabled and people of color.

The photo is of Mom at the Bob Feller Museum in Van Meter, Iowa, in 2010.

After listening to your account of the campaign of the Equal Rights in this country and the way in which this was all set up and planned for is really something to think about. There is a right way and a wrong way to set up a research project if you want it to state what you want it to state and what kind of an impact that you want it to make on everyone. If you want people to sit up and take notice then the whole project has to set in that manner. Indeed even to a punch line.

In putting that film together you could set up the timeline. Therefore if you have put together a good timeline it could serve as a guide to the paper itself or an outline of sorts. Of course none of our projects will have this much punch because they are not life or death matters. However, with a project like mine, I could conceivably carry a punch.

We have a lot of equal rights issues to address. Most of our equal rights stem from the fact that basically people are ignorant. If you have not dealt with a disabled person it is real hard to relate. By the same token, I'm from South Dakota and there are a lot of small towns that have no black people. I figured that discriminating against the black people was wrong, I had no basis for saying anything as I had never met any. Not until I went to college in my mid-20s did I meet any blacks. To be truthful at first, I was a little frightened, but soon I saw them as people. I eventually met some very good ones and some I don't care for, just like white people. There are a lot of them that I don't care for.

This is not a battle, however, between the able-bodied and the disabled. Even though sometimes it may seem like it. All we want is to be treated like any other person, with respect. We need to get the equal chances and opportunities, within reason, of course, as anyone else.

Along my way of thinking, trying to prove my case for my paper, I called the lady that heads community relations at the Veterans Affairs Hospital. She was most helpful and gave me some numbers of Veterans organizations to call. I have not been able to make the calls as they are both long distance and I can't make them from work. So I have to wait until I have a day off. This Wednesday I have off so I hope to make some calls then.

She also cautioned me in using the Vietnam Veteran as a group. She said sometimes they are a bit touchy about that. One of the numbers is head of the Vietnam Vets in Cedar Rapids. She thought that I might profit from a visit with them. She agreed that my theory may be good, but she felt that it was WWII also that helped get a lot of the appliance and hardware that goes into assistance for the disabled. I am anxious to make the calls.

I got to the library once, but forgot that it closed at 5 p.m. that day so didn't get much looked up. I still need to spend some time getting the dates for legislation. I did get some things from the vertical file.

You know getting back to class the other night, it would really be an eye-opener to investigate the schools in the South. It is no wonder why the blacks feel inferior. On the other hand, it isn't just the black people here that are not getting educated. All the poor people across America can't seem to keep food on the table, much less worry about an education, even though education is the ticket out of poverty. It is one big vicious circle.

There is also the issue of self worth. Extreme poverty does little to help you feel self worth. You must feel as though you have value in order to break this circle. The story of Roots and Alex Haley is good to read, as his background was the poorest of the poor. Yet because of a determined mother and his own determination, he broke out of that circle of poverty.

I feel the disabled people for a long time have been shut up. We have been put on the shelf to live out the days. This happens in some of our homes for the aged, too. Just because you are old you cannot contribute. There is much thought to this now that is keeping these elderly more agile and attuned to the young people. In a lot of places some of the homes for the aged are teaming up with the schools and helping the children with a variety of tasks. Some help with reading skills of the young, some with math, some maybe just listen. They are able to spend time where the teachers can't spend that kind of time with the individual. This concept would be a wonderful research project.

As many elderly persons were written off as old and of no value, so too have many disabled. The unfortunate part is the disabled have been written off sooner, when the person is younger. There is no confidence builder here. Many times we have to prove to be worthy of an interview, much less the job. Most people look at you as though what are you doing here. For months at work I made sure that I wore my pin to identify me as an employee, rather than a patient. I can't imagine what it would be like to be black and disabled. They would start with two big strikes against them.

I think that I better stick to the schools and educating the disabled, and maybe what has happened to the schools and helping people with jobs, etc. since the legislation of Section 504 in the early 80s and the most recent legislation The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) passed in 1993. This had a widespread influence on the employment aspect. It can't change people's opinion, only education can do that.

Connie, Feb. 13, 1994

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