Not all cases deliberating the rights of individuals with disabilities are concerned with situations of life and death. There are those individuals who do not have the benefit of the use of only portions of their body. Many have heard of success stories of such individuals and the general population is always happy to hear about such victories for disabled persons. However, the triumphs held by disabled persons are relegated to a minority of the disabled population. Most disabled persons have to live under the strain of social stigma and bias preventing them to function well in society (McCarthy, 2003).
Disability rights are geared towards the protection of disabled persons not only in the human rights aspect but also in civil rights. Take for example the difficulty of finding a job. Some disabled persons are able to accomplish great feats earning them good credentials. Despite their credentials however, few institutions and companies would be willing to invest in their employment because of the fear that the person’s disability would outweigh her skill (McCarthy, 2003).
Professionals thus view disabilities as a burden and although they relish reports of distant victories accomplished by disabled persons, they themselves find they are unable to participate in such victories in their own backyard. The experiences of disabled persons reflect that indeed they are a minority in society with a voice that is little heard or heeded (McCarthy, 2003). The fight for equal protection has broken gender and racial walls but has done little if anything at all for disability bias. The balance in forming opinions regarding disabled persons should be struck.
It certainly cannot be just that a person’s disability should be the defining factor in his or her career and social relations. The individual, more particularly a disabled individual, has skills, capabilities, and traits which are separate and distinct from his or her disability (McCarthy, 2003). The rights of disabled persons to equal opportunities should be fought for just as fervently as that of minority races and gender differences have been in the past (McCarthy, 2003). McCarthy’s interview of several disability rights leaders has served to highlight the struggle that disabled persons face in society.
The strain with which they have to live is no longer the burden that is posed by their disabilities; rather it is the bias which closes off doors of opportunities for them. Reform is being made in the acceptance of disabled persons in universities and even in several sports, particularly those open to the general public. However, these small victories are not enough. There is little a disabled person can put a good education to use to if he or she will not be allowed to even interview for open positions much less be accepted for them (McCarthy, 2003).
The current bias in society reflects a mindset that views disabled persons as less people than non-disabled individuals. But the worth of a person is not measured by the extent of his physical capacity. It is unjust that our society and even our laws do not safeguard the interests of the disabled. McCarthy has succeeded in driving this point home through the effectiveness of his method and the naked truth of his words. Conclusion The discussion has focused on two central issues with nothing to do with physical disabilities or abilities.
What emerges as a point of controversy is more an issue of human and civil rights. The above discussion has served to reflect that human rights are held by each individual, no matter the physical disposition or the level of medical care required or available. The person’s right to choose for him or herself the present that he or she experiences. This emerges as the major theme in euthanasia cases where individuals and relatives have to justify their choices to the entirety of society and await the verdict of their justifications.
Such a process only serves to heighten the burden bourn by the patient. The issue of human rights is as well in a state of plight as regards physically disabled persons. The person’s rights to aspire for circumstances better than the one held are put in question. Much more, the disabled person’s civil rights do not afford protections against the violation of his or her human rights. The disabled person becomes a second class citizen, if not less, whose potential is only relegated to areas and tasks which are not desired by non-disabled citizens. The injustice must be remedied.
The first answer it seems is that the law must provide for equal opportunity to disabled persons and non-disabled persons alike. However, the case of individuals fighting for euthanasia has shown that a change in the law is not enough. It is a social mindset which must be fought against. People in general need to be made aware of the capacities and characteristics of disabled persons. Society as a whole needs to act and undergo a process of change so that a disabled person or patient may be empowered to fully exercise his or her inherent rights.
Allen, J. , Chavez, S., DeSimone, S. , Howard, D. , Johnson, K. , LaPierre, L. , Montero, D. , and Sanders, J. (2006). Americans’ Attitudes Toward Euthanasia and Physician-Assisted Suicide, 1936-2002. Journal of Sociology & Social Welfare, 33(2), 5-23. Cahill, L. S. (2005). Catholicism, Death, and Modern Medicine. America, April 25, 2005, 14-17. McCarthy, H. (2003). The Disability Rights Movement: Experiences and Perspectives of Selected Leaders in the Disabled Community. Rehabilitation Counseling Bulletin, 46(4), 209-223. Oransky, I. (2003). Feeding tube right-to-die case rocks Florida. Th