by baldilocks

This is a cropped version of a July 14, 2004 post from my old blog. I general feel like I’m repeating myself all the time so I figured that one more time won’t hurt. Edited. And, apparently, a lot of people didn’t get this memo.

What have Republicans/conservatives done for black Americans? I hear that question constantly when I disclose that I am a conservative Republican. Often I will provide the usual facts that seem to be missing from the historical lexicon these days: freed the slaves, were 90%+ in the majority in the votes for the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965. However, something about the question sets steel to my nerves and I’ve been meaning to articulate the reasons for it here for some time now.

Implied in the question is that a political party must “do something” for blacks. Not merely the usual “something” that a government entity does for all of its constituents, e.g. provide utilities, regulate commerce, etc., but something special.

That word ‘special’ has taken on a new meaning in recent years and I think that it applies to the special items that liberals/leftists believe that the government should provide for the ‘special’ people, the “congenitally retarded” folk.

Yes, we ‘special’ people — with ‘special’ needs — require special handling: special education and special employment. You can’t expect black people to live up to the standards of ‘normal’ people. Like paraplegics or the blind or the deaf or those afflicted with Down’s syndrome, singular accommodations must be made for the great handicap of being born with black skin. To liberals/leftists, black people are a crippled class that can never be made whole just as long as they can never be made not-black. What’s this notion called?

And if anyone tries to treat us as full, competent adults, the liberals/leftists will scream in righteous anger and protest about the unfairness of it all. And if some of us ‘handicapped’ verbally express the desire to be treated like full, competent adults and act in a manner that demonstrates that desire, we are deemed as traitors by those who share the same racial makeup, but buy into the ‘handicap’ philosophy. Yes, we are “traitors,” because if some of us refuse to take advantage of the special needs offered and succeed anyway, the majority of Americans will begin to think that we don’t really require the “handicap slot.”

The majority of Americans will begin to think that we’re not really inferior after all. (Optimistically speaking, I believe that the majority thinks this anyway.)

“You do not own, and you are not the arbiters of, African-American authenticity,” said [Rod] Paige [to NAACP leaders], who rose from segregated Mississippi to become President Bush’s education chief.

This idea of our race-wide ‘handicap’ is so ingrained in the mindsets of some, however, that it has morphed into the very existence of black identity: a black person who believes that black Americans need extra help to succeed is “authentically black.” Conversely, one who doesn’t buy it “isn’t really black” and is, therefore, a traitor to black identity.

In short, blacks who believe in their own inferiority are the real deal and those who don’t, aren’t. How’s that for twisted dogma?

Juliette Akinyi Ochieng has been blogging since 2003 as baldilocks. Her older blog is here.  She published her first novel, Tale of the Tigers: Love is Not a Game in 2012.

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There is a brand new water park in San Antonio, Texas, that is designed to be enjoyed by everyone, regardless of physical limitations or other special needs a person may have. Via Sunny Skyz:

Morgan’s Inspiration Island in San Antonio, Texas, is making sure kids with disabilities don’t miss out on all the fun this summer.

Every section of the the new water park is wheelchair accessible and guests with special needs are admitted at no cost.

Other features of Morgan’s Inspiration Island include waterproof RFID (radio-frequency identification) wristbands so parents can keep track of their kids, a seven-story lighthouse and a water play area called Rainbow Reef, which has water that can be warmed for guests with sensitivity to cold.

In a press release, owner Gordon Hartman said the team behind Inspiration Island consulted with water park professionals, doctors and experts in special education and special needs, as well as received input from local teachers, parents and caregivers.

The park also offers private areas for guests to transfer out of their personal wheelchairs to waterproof ones.

“We recently unveiled with the University of Pittsburgh revolutionary new wheelchairs propelled by compressed air,” Gordon said. “Our guests in expensive battery-powered wheelchairs can’t afford to get them wet, so we have special Morgan’s Inspiration Island PneuChairs.”

They really did try to think of everything a person with special needs might need to be able to enjoy this unique water park, including providing water proof undergarments – free of charge – for people who may need them.

The fully handicapped accessible water park was preceded by Morgan’s Wonderland, which is an amusement park that was designed to be enjoyed by people with and without special needs, after the parents of Morgan Hartman noticed that Morgan, who has physical and cognitive limitations, wanted to be with other kids at a hotel pool, but the able bodied kids appeared to be uneasy about playing with a special needs child. So Morgan’s parents decided to make a place where all kinds of kids could come together and have fun, in the spirit of friendship and inclusion:

The tipping point occurred in 2005 when Gordon observed Morgan wanting to play with other vacationing kids at a hotel swimming pool, but the kids were leery of Morgan and didn’t want to interact with her.  Then and there, Gordon resolved to create opportunities and places where those with and without disabilities can come together not only for fun but also for a better understanding of one another.  That led to the construction of Morgan’s Wonderland in an abandoned quarry in Northeast San Antonio.  It’s apropos that the butterfly is the symbol of this unique theme park; soaring to one success after another is now commonplace.

When it celebrated its grand opening April 10, 2010, Morgan’s Wonderland became the world’s first theme park designed with special-needs individuals in mind and built for everyone’s enjoyment.  The completely wheelchair-accessible park features more than 25 elements including rides, playgrounds and other colorful attractions.  From the very beginning, anyone with a special need has been admitted free of charge, no questions asked.

It is Morgan’s fervent hope that everyone with a special need – young and older, healthy or ailing, introspective or outgoing – will be touched in a very special way by Morgan’s Wonderland:  a shrine of inclusion, an oasis of friendship, an unforgettable wonderland…Morgan’s Wonderland!

[…]

Our vision is to establish a special place where smiles and laughter lead to wonderful memories with family members, friends and caregivers.  We want Morgan’s Wonderland to be a place where the common element of play creates an atmosphere of inclusion for those with and without disabilities, encouraging everyone to gain a greater understanding of one another.

Morgan’s Wonderland is just like any other theme park except for a culture and environment that assures 100 percent enjoyment by every person who enters through the Welcome Center.  Unfortunately, countless children and adults with special needs do not have access to facilities that enable them to fully enjoy outdoor recreation.  Morgan’s Wonderland has begun to change that.

And now there is a fabulous water park for the enjoyment of all as well. Morgan Hartman’s parents also established a school nearby for people with special needs between the ages of 12 to 24 where they can learn skills that will help them fulfill their potentials, and they are involved with adaptive sports and physical rehabilitation services.

The admission prices to both parks for non-disabled people are very reasonable and military discounts are offered. Morgan’s parks also host live entertainment and special events. May Morgan’s parks enjoy long and successful futures, and may they inspire others around the country and around the world to create similar projects. Fun without barriers, what a beautiful concept!

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MJ Stevenson, AKA Zilla, is best known on the web as Zilla at MareZilla.com. She lives in a woodland shack near a creek, in one of those rural parts of New York State that nobody knows or cares about, with her family and a large pack of guardian companion animals.