Last night I caught snatches of two TV programmes. I Love Being… Mad on BBC3, and Help me to Talk on Channel 4.
Both were quite difficult programmes for me to watch, and I’ll admit I didn’t stick with either. And although both dealt with different issues, there was a common theme, how people can be prejudiced against people who don’t behave in a “normal” way.
The most upsetting line for me was on the stuttering programme. A mother of a severe stutterer discussed her son’s desire to do performing arts at college. He’d been advised that it was a bad idea, which made him all the more determined. His mother, and this is the bit that made me switch off, said she had told him he would make a good labourer. The very idea that someone who doesn’t quite communicate like others do being bared from any profession that involved any degree of thought was outrageous to me.
Thankfully the fears of the people in the BBC Programme are unfounded as the government’s draconian mental health bill appears to have died a death. However it does seem that the bill simply pandered to popular prejudice against those who don’t interact quite as expected, and even with the failure of the bill, the prejudice is still there.