Monday, August 30, 2010

Calling a Child "Dim"

I understand that I am sensitive to labels on children, or anyone for that matter, more than I ever before have been in my life. I am trying to reign back being overly sensitive, but found myself unable to stay silent today.

This morning, when I read a friend's facebook status, she described a child that her son played with as "dim". When I asked her what she meant by that, she replied "The truth" and when I commented that I felt that this was offensive, she went out of her way to defend what she had said and accused me of jumping on the bandwagon of "social sensitivity" and that she was amused at "the effect that the truth had on those people who were supposed to be loyal to the truth." and to "stop pretending that they are not what they are to make their existence more acceptable".

I was extremely upset and offended and posted several arguments (very logically stated) to point out that she should NOT have said that. She defended herself hardcore, not even attempting to acknowledge that perhaps she was in the wrong by describing him as such. When she finally commented that she was done, but that I was free to continue commenting, I gave up and de-friended her.

Am I crazy to be this upset? I don't care what point you're trying to make, why single out one characteristic about a child that denotes a certain intelligence level? To me, this is not OK. I don't want someone to think about my child in terms of intelligence level. I want them to look at her characteristics as good or bad such as they would look at any other child. So, we're just going to say the truth? Does that mean you go around telling people to their faces when you think that they are ugly? No, because no matter what the truth may be or no matter what your opinion is, this world still calls for a certain amount of tact. I don't feel that referring to a child as "dim" is tactful or kind by any stretch of the imagination.

I think I am even more upset because when I tried to point out to her how offensive this was to me, she refused to back down or apologize for her statement. Who does that? Even if you feel that you are 100% right, if someone is so obviously offended, would it be so hard to just make a statement apologizing for the offense?

Please tell me that I am not alone in this. I am still a bit shaken from this entire encounter, and find myself wondering if I should have just kept my mouth shut when someone was obviously so bullheaded and responds so badly to any opinion different than their own. What would you have done? Is it better to just feel hurt silently or to speak up and then end up being more upset when you see the true ignorance and uncaring nature of "friends"?

9 comments:

  1. I think she is not going through what we have gone through and doesn't realize how deeply her words can sting. I think you were right to point this out to her, and her refusal to at least acknowledge that her words caused you hurt (even if unintentionally) was an indication of her heart..and immaturity. I know lots of friends who have made similar comments in front of me, and while I don't take offense (because I know their comments are not directed at Lily) I also know that IF I were to tell them their words hurt me, they would instantly apologize. That's just common courtesy! I'm so sorry you had to go through this. When I encounter this level of insensitivity I make up my mind to watch my own words more carefully. I'm sure I've said offensive things many times in the past, and having Lily brought me to a new awareness of my insensitivity!

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  2. I think you did the absolute right thing! Even IF this person never "gets" it that she was being very rude, the other people who read it will get it.
    I would have unfriended her, too. Just last week a friend of mine was attacked on facebook about some political issues by another so called "friend".. I stated that I felt it was really inappropriate and defriended that person. I believe that everyone has the right to their own opinion, but when a person is "attacked" whether they are an adult or a child, then I feel someone should say something.
    Calling a child "dim" is just so wrong.
    P.S. I just found your blog about a week ago, somehow and I love reading it :) Your daughter is adorable and it is so fun to read about young families, as my kids are all grown and in college now! I do remember the days, though.

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  3. WOW I could not believe that someone could post something sooo offensive as a Facebook status :( This made me very upset, especially that she tried to defend it :(

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  4. I for one, totaly think you did the right thing by not staying silent!! I would have done exactly the same thing...and good for you for removing her off your friend list...who needs friends like that anyway?!
    I cant stand ignorant people...the truth may be the truth, by the truth does NOT always need to be spoken...and about a child?! How disgusting for anyone to refer to a child as "dim"...It really is outragous! I dont like people who brag about "speaking their mind" Or always "saying it how it is"...theres nothing wrong with being respectful and sensitive to how others around you may feel.
    So I'm with you on this one...you did the right thing!

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  5. You are soooo not alone. We all stand together on that kind of language.
    Unfortunately there will always be people who just don't get it. I'm so proud of you for taking a stand , you definitely did the right thing. Not just for you but for all of us! Thank you!!!!

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  6. I was taken quite off guard when I read that comment this morning. I was glad that you pointed out her error in making a comment like that. It bothered me that someone would call a child "dim" so easily in their conversation. I continued to think of it several time today. The conclusion I came to is that who we are is revealed in what we say. ("As a man thinketh in his heart, so is he.") The person who made that statement has revealed her true character.

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  7. i always feel badly for people like that...they are missing so much of life...and they don't even know it....they have no idea how good it can be. so sad. i am sorry you had to deal with that.

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  8. There is no such thing as a "dim" child. Period. This person was not being "truthful", this person was being "dim". Jesus had quite a bit to say about children, and I don't remember anything about "dim" being in there. Descriptions like "gift" and "with great faith" and "fearfully and wonderfully made" and "reward". In fact, without the faith of a little child, no one will enter heaven. So, you tell me, who's "dim"? The children with great faith, or such adults who despise them?

    You did the right thing. Shame on such a person who would ever label a precious child in such a degrading, horrible way.

    If you are "sensitive" then I wanna be too.

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  9. Deanna, I always love reading your posts, and seeing all of the cute things Addison is doing these days. I am thinking about this person's attitude, and the thought that comes to my mind is that if she felt she had to "speak the truth" was she speaking the WHOLE truth? If she had thought about it, wouldn't she have found some aspects of this child that could be described just as truthfully in a positive light? And while we're thinking along these lines, if this "friend" holds her own child in such esteem because of his/her level of brilliance (vs. dimness?) what would her response to her child be if circumstances ever worked out in such a way that her child were to be incapacitated physically or mentally? The point is that her impression of a child that she believed to be "dim" really is not important at all. The child is important to the ONE who made him or her. I hadn't known you very well before Addison came into our lives, but I want you to know that reading your posts just makes me love you, Aaron, and Addison all the more. I thank God for you!

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