The last few days the world is under the spell of mass protests,
both in the USA and elsewhere. The cause of these protests was the death
of African-American George Floyd.
George Floyd died after brutal violence by American police officers.
Personally, I grew up with the idea that every human being is equal,
although I have experienced different: at school I was bullied because I
was “different”. Many classmates just did not accept that I was
“different” and only knew how to deal with it by bullying. The village
where I grew up was a closed community at that time, almost without
“outsiders”. And what or whom one does not know …. one does not trust,
or makes unpopular.
Racism and discrimination are not new, but from all times and the reason is mostly … the unknown. As a white person, I cannot understand what it is like to be confronted with racism every day. However, as an open minded person, the suffering of so many people hurts me.
Just like it hurts me that many people with an impairment, handicap
(how you want to call it) have to fight their way into and through our
society every day. Every day they encounter barriers on their path. From
here, I would like to pay tribute to those people today. No matter
whether you are “well equipped”, “with an open visor” or quite casually
facing everyday life, if you have an impairment or handicap, at some
point and somewhere you will meet one or more hurdles that have to be
In the local society everything is faster and nearer, among other things due to the social media, and people hardly take time for (self-)reflection, hardly ask themselves the question “who am I and how do I stand in this society?
For years now I have been trying to inform people about life with a
hearing impairment, on the one hand to make the “unknown” better known
so that acceptance may grow.
On the other hand I try to show that hearing impaired people should not only make demands, but also have their own responsibility to take and encourage them to be more independent.
In this sense, I have slowly found my role in this society. Whether I am writing my blog posts or leading sensibilisation workshops, everything that has happened before and everything that will happen later has led me to this task.
Even now, as I write this post, I feel the importance of this realization.
How my task will develop and will take shape in the future is still in the stars but that it exists is clear to me. And I wish all of you to discover your personal task in life as well.
Even if we cannot understand something or someone, we can still have
and show compassion and respect. Even if we personally can’t change
anything about the facts, we can start to reduce our fear of the
In the sensibilisation workshops I really notice how this works. If you are open to listen to those who are affected themselves and to hear what they need, fears decrease and understanding increases. And when eyes are opened, even briefly, this also has an effect on other levels.
So be assured: I understand that I will never understand. However, I stand.