Part of a Whole

My name is Nicolas Steenhout.
I speak, train, and consult about inclusion, accessibility and disability.

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Laws and Henry, Peas of a Pod

I just read on Stuff that Michael Laws has made some really ignorant and offensive comments about paralympians. I’m not surprised. I’m not surprised either that the majority of the comments on the article show support for Laws. My first thought was "this is going to be like Paul Henry all over again".

Michael Laws was until recently Mayor of Wanganui, and has a radio show. During a recent show, he made comments to the effect that athletes with disabilities are somewhat "less" than able bodied athletes. He said that they should not be included in the Halberg Awards – New Zealand’s major sporting awards. I thought these awards were meant to recognise New Zealand’s top sporting achievement. I didn’t think it meant to recognize top "able bodied" achievement.

Not only Laws comments are ignorant and offensive, but they seem to me to be decidedly not sporting. But that’s not a surprise coming from him – he has a history of being confrontational, abusive, and generally a prick. More disappointing is the majority of the 74 comments in response of the article that support Laws’ views.

I was planning on writing a good post about this, a proper response. But the more I think about it, the more *tired* I am of facing such bigotry. I just don’t have it in me to explain, educate, and advocate. By pure coincidence, I wore my "advocacy day off" t-shirt today.

The shirt says: "There comes a time when even the best advocates need a day off." I got it from The Nth Degree.

So there you have it – I’m fed up. I’ve run out of spoons. I’m taking the day off from advocacy.

Will you please take up the slack?

One thought on “Laws and Henry, Peas of a Pod

  1. I was thinking about a very similar thing today. I have to write a response to one outrageous article, I need to be an advocate. The response is in my head but somehow I can’t manage to write it down. Today I finally realised why. I feel like when one is faced with prejudice, ignorance and arrogance at the same time, all by one person, that person shouldn’t be acknowledged by my response. I am going to write an excellent, logical article to a blockhead who can’t comprehend that he is doing something wrong. I love having good discussion with people who are open to new knowledge and view. Heck, give me a good argument and I might change my view on certain things (and I do). But when there is no hope, it feels exactly like that shirt says: I am taking a day off. I am saving my energy for somebody who wants to listen or who asks me for help.
    Yes, Nic, I fully understand you.

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