No.166 / Oct 16, 2023
Do you know when White Cane Safety Day is? Even if you do not know this day, do you know what a white cane stands for? White Cane Safety Day is October 15, and white canes are the essential tool for people who are visually impaired and blind. Except for the blind, no one can use white canes. The white cane is a dedicated tool for the blind. If you did not know this, you have learned a small but important thing. Realizing the White Cane Safety Day might be a cornerstone that makes you start to have a widened perspective about the disabilities. Although there might be some difficulties to understand because interaction with people with disabillities is that we are not used to, we should be aware that we are living in the era of diversity. Furthermore, many anniversaries have been established to deepen public understanding of the disabled and their willingness for rehabilitation.
There are various anniversaries, such as Day of the Deaf (June 3), International Day of People with Disability (December 3), World Autism Awareness Day (April 2), and Day of Braille (November 4). It is easy to remember that “International” or “World” days are internationally designated anniversaries, and that the others are anniversaries only in Korea. These anniversaries were not established with the intention of the requesting a lot of attention and help for the disabled. They do not want us to look at them differently. They can definitely play a role as members of society, and they sometimes even try to break widespread social prejudices about themselves and reveal the value of their existence. The Korean drama Stove League in Korea has a character with a disability. He was a promising young baseball player who dreamed of becoming a professional baseball player, but he suffered paraplegia in an accident and had to give up his dream of becoming a baseball player. Nevertheless, he did not abandon his passion for baseball and dreamed of a new future as a tactical analyst. However, when people saw this character always in a wheelchair, they laughed at him, saying that he had an absurd dream. However, he used his experience as a player and high-quality statistical abilities to take his team to the top and prove his abilities. This drama is about baseball, but it features episode that criticizes the way the world looks at people with disabilities and the prejudices common in the world around them. Like this character, we have many people with disabilities around us, and there is no reason we should pity them. They are members of society and work as hard as we do to prove their value to society. It is not that they cannot do what we can at all, it just takes them a little more time and effort.
In the not-too-distant past, there was a tendency to help the disabled without permission and look at them as beings to whom we should pay attention. However, it makes people with disabilities uncomfortable to be perceived as people who must unconditionally receive help and support. Remember: People with disabilities can be independent; therefore, we do not need to view them as different.
By Seo Myeong-jae, AG Reporter