Pity's Scrap Heap
When you're a target of pity-mongering cure charities, it can be hard to keep your self-respect and to look at what's going on from a broader perspective. The truth is, society's privileged elites have been describing various minority groups as having "bad genes" ever since genes were discovered in the 19th century. Back then, doctors and scientists authoritatively proclaimed that anyone who wasn't white had "bad genes." Now it's autistics and other people with disability labels. Same prejudice, different minorities.
The pity industry is big business. The infamous Labor Day muscular dystrophy telethon, which has been spewing rivers of disability prejudice for over 40 years, raised $61 million last year. Some people think that the telethon's condescending attitude is excusable because it has raised so much money for a cure. Well, no, treating people as pity objects instead of human beings is never justified; and the cure is, of course, nonexistent, so where has all that money really gone? To pay the salaries of fat-cat charity executives, to further inflate Jerry Lewis' already gargantuan ego, and to fund the development of prenatal screening tests that become more accurate every year in identifying fetuses to be aborted.
No doubt, over the years, well-meaning contributors to the telethon didn't intend that their money would be used for purposes of eugenic abortion; but it is an inevitable result of the attitude that certain kinds of people belong on the scrap heap unless they are cured.
It's time to send the telethon off to the graveyard of old prejudiced TV programs, bury it six feet under, and pull the plug on pity.
Edit, September 3: The Anti-Telethon Blogswarm is now up at Kara's Place. Check it out and join the protest against pity!