By Stephen Pate – (September 29, 2014) CBC News Charlottetown, PEI, Canada broadcast a story about people with intellectual disabilities and their experiences reporting the news.
I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry. The same CBC Charlottetown news room has been stubbornly bigoted towards my work as a disabled press gallery journalist. The CBC has been fighting my right to work for 5 years of Human Rights and court battles.
The video clip below appears to be a “good news story” about people with learning disabilities until you realize it is the same old patronizing CBC showing their “charity” attitudes about people with disabilities.
“Blacquiere says he hopes to use this experience to one day find a job in journalism,” said Amar Shah CBC Reporter.
Unless the CBC is forced to adopt human rights policies towards people living with disabilities, there is no way that the people in this story would be hired in journalism on PEI. The major news organizations on PEI including The Guardian, Journal Pioneer and Standard Broadcasting show the same disability bigotry.
“Bigotry is a state of mind where a person strongly and unfairly dislikes other people, ideas, etc. Some examples include personal beliefs, race, religion, national origin, gender, disability, sexual orientation, socioeconomic status, or other group characteristics or other group characteristics. “(Wikipedia)
Disability bigotry has existed for centuries when people with disabilities were considered possessed by demons (religious model), mad (medical model) and pitiable and kept separate from society(charity model). People with disabilities are not whole, imperfect, not like us.
“And you can’t play a musical instrument or sing. How can you live with yourself?” I said in reply.
We all have varying abilities and lack of other abilities. The desire for perfect humans is the exaggerated “rational” logic and thinking that lead to the Nazi’s preoccupation with the Master Race and the annihilation of everyone who did not fit their concept.
As we move from prejudice to acceptance old ideas and speech have to change but it takes a long time.
The CBC does not have a guidebook on covering people with disabilities otherwise they would not come out with condescending comments like “With so many challenges that people with disabilities face, these reporters are finding their own way.”
What are the “so many challenges” faced by the disabled? The sentence sets up the reporter as condescending and patronizing. Looking at the CBC reporter Amar Shah, you would think he understands bigotry but even people in minority classes like to kick the dog under them.
PEI, for those who don’t live here, is Canada’s most white-Euro ethnic province with 98% of the population white. “Prince Edward Island is mostly a white community and there are few visible minorities.” Wikipedia
One of the nasty pieces of bigotry in the video clip is the Mike Duffy-Stephane Dion editing CBC does of Ms. Minor’s statement. There was an infamous interview Mike Duffy did to curry favour with the Conservative Prime Minister. He interviewed the Liberal leader Stephane Dion and left in every verbal tick and mistake to make Dion look unintelligent.
Anyone can make a verbal mistake on camera. The polite thing to do is edit them out. For people with disabilities, CBC likes to leave markers in to show the audience we, that is people with disabilities are not perfect. Here’s a better edit of her interview.
These reporters will stay in a sheltered work environment forever unless we can force the CBC and other large organizations to stop the disability bigotry and treat them with dignity. People with disabilities can perform almost every job they are trained and try for.
I offered Mr. Shah an opportunity to rebut my comments but he did not reply.
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By Stephen Pate, NJN Network