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Tag Archives: community

The term handicap has become a thorn in the side of the English language.  It is one of the words most associated with the argument of political correctness. So what is a handicap?

I read on CNN’s Young People Who Rock about a young fellow, Sean Forbes, who performs music videos with American Sign Language for the Deaf Community. He is an inspiration to the Deaf Community and he brings to them a piece of the world most people never expected they could have. Below the passage there are a number of comments flaming the mention of deafness as a disability [handicap]. In my mind a handicap is something that significantly alters the way a person experiences society. The Deaf Community is indeed a culture. ASL is the third most used language in the United States. But it is impossible to say that when outside of the Deaf Community communicating can be a struggle. I have taken a course in ASL, but having not actually sought out situations to use it, I have only used it once in the four years since I first started. People who have speaking difficulties are often considered to have disabilities or handicaps, but it merely a communication barrier. Perhaps that is why deafness is not considered a handicap because it is a communication barrier similar to the growing English-Spanish barrier. But then speaking difficulties should not be disabilities.

It is impossible to toss around the word handicap or disability without making someone angry. It is almost as if the terms themselves make people lesser than others. They are social categorizations similar to race. Ultimately, I must agree that deafness is not a handicap, but such a term can only be defined in the eye of the beholder. If I went to Russia could not someone say I am handicapped?

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New information from the CDC says ‘blacks’ and ‘gays’ are more likely to be newly infected with HIV. At least this is how it is worded by a CNN article. However, HIV is mostly a lifestyle infection, and so they are only more likely to partake in a risky lifestyle than to actually be infected. A young ‘black,’ ‘gay’ male who does not partake in risky behavior would have the same chances of being infected as any ‘straight,’ ‘white’ male. They are trying to attribute HIV to a group of people rather than to a lifestyle of which those people do not have to be involved. This is futher evidenced by claims such as “AIDS in America continues to be a black disease.” Doing so is a hindrance to society, and to the ‘black’ and ‘gay’ community. If HIV is attributed to lifestyle, maybe they would come to see the unnecessary risks rather than accept the risks. If HIV were to be attributed to lifestyle maybe society as a whole would come to better accept the ‘gay’ community and the ‘black’ community (Citation: CNN).

The words of Michael Savage led me to creating another sonic sez (says) video. This time I wanted to contribute to the awareness of Autism. Certainly difficult to understand, a lot of people have misconceptions about what autism is. There is no excuse for what Savage said and my video will hopefully inspire some people to learn about autism. It doesn’t have in-depth information, but I think it suffices for a video done on a whim. The definition I use in the video is from http://www.assew.org/what_is_autism.htm. I think i have a little more humor in this one simply because Savage set himself up to be cracked on.

While I attended the Summer Medical & Dental Education Program at UVA I wanted to do something to give the program more publicity. It is an excellent program for anyone hoping to enter med or dental school, but very few people know about it. Many of the applicants, including myself, only found out about it by searching the net. The program has more than high enough quality to be recommended by advisors and publicized through schools. I tried to get the local news channel to do a short piece about the program, but that fell through. I should have also tried the newspaper, but I didn’t get around to it. However, I recently realized that a blog entry might possibly reach as many people as any other method I had considered:

There is a committment to the medical field and a service to the health of people, in the present and in the future that constitutes duty beyond expectation. The Directors of the Summer Medical & Dental Education Program (SMDEP) at the University of Virginia have devoted many years, in some cases 2 decades, to the education of future doctors.  The attending undergraduate students have sacrificed six-weeks of the summer to gain knowledge for the benefit of others. They come from all around the country and all over the world to join for a shared cause. Every weekday a minimum of nine hours, and often more, are devoted for learning different subjects, preparing for medical school, experiencing different career opportunities, and focusing on serving people. But the story does not end there. Even though the students originate from aound the world, they were prepared to dedicate their time and energy to Charlottesville and the surrounding community. The feat performed by the students, the directors, the speakers, and other particpants deserve recognition.

I made another sonic the hedgehog health tip video. This one has more information, and I took up my effort to the next level. I continue to try to maintain some humor and some lightheartedness, but the purpose of the video is clear; to educate. I tried to keep the main body, with the explanation, clear and concise. The transcript is as follows:

“Learning to deal with stress is one the best ways to stay healthy. The inability to resolve stress can result in chronic pain or sickness. The body system that controls reactions to stress, the Hypothalamic-Pituitary-Adrenal Axis is linked to the immune system and a number of other areas that can affect day-to-day well being. The Hypothalamus is located just above the brain stem…The Pituitary Gland is under the Hypothalamus…And the Adrenal Glands are on top of the kidneys. The processes of each organ rely on the others in a cycle. If one portion of the cycle has a problem, the entire cycle may have a problem. Insomnia, Anxiety Disorder, Depression, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, or other health problems can be the result. Stress management tactics can help avoid such issues.

I recommend expressing healthy anger. Battling Dr. Robotnik is certainly stressful so I often taunt him to make myself feel better. Experts list other ways to deal with stress as well:

 

1) Seeking out others with Similar Issues – My buddy Knux has had a few run-ins with eggman

2) Find a Hobby – Tails likes to work on his airplane, the tornado

3) Use a Mantra – I am the fastest thing alive…I am the fastest thing alive

4) Take a deep breath and count to ten – This works at the worst of times

5) Read a Book – I think a comic would do

6) Space out or use your imagination – (Hum)

7) Make Plans – One day I will defeat Eggman for good

 

Stress doesn’t have to last, Let it stay in the past.”

 

 

 

July 23 and 24 CNN will be showing its special about “black america.” I am tempted to watch, and may very well do so, but I get the feeling I would be disappointed by the way went about displaying a group of people. The main question I have is if they are going to focus on the negative or the positive. For example, it is true that young black men are often undevoted to their families, but when I volunteered in a hospital pediatric emergency room, I remember seeing numerous black fathers who were completely dedicated to their children. Another concern I have about the show is that it appears to lump all black people together. Amongst the black community there is immense diversity and individualism as amongst any culture. The timing of the show is very good with the recent uprising of racism, but will the show be powerful enough to make people think? Will the show be from a viewpoint that does not destroy established community, but brings multiple communities of people together? Maybe my expectations are too large or maybe I have a misconception of what the show is actually about, but with the publicity they are giving the special…I hope that it is truly deserving of the spotlight.

I recently put a youtube video up based on the short educational segments from the adventures of sonic the hedgehog. I wanted to do some type of informative series, but not boring or completely serious. I decided that I would do a Sonic Sez (says) series on health tips. Often, community service is viewed as something where you go out to a location and commit an onsite effort. However, if people watch the health tips videos, and learn from them, it too can be a form of community service, but at the same time it has the possibility of a far greater outreach. I plan to put forth hours of effort to these videos. The first one, about exercise, is a test, not the most informative and not the most work behind it, but I can see the concept might work. I plan on having some more significant tips in the future. Although I am using a video game character to output my message I certainly don’t think of this as a game. I welcome any comments and/or ideas, and please watch the videos too, the words of sonic the hedgehog have a way of lingering in the mind.  I have to fine tune the idea, but this seems to be an excellent way to reach out to other people and improve my own knowledge at the same time.