I think it's fair enough to say that not everyone can be clever (I should point out I’m not arrogantly saying that I’m a genius). However, it is just unforgivable in my eyes if someone goes through life with their eyes shut and doesn’t make a conscious effort to learn about the world around them. Ignorance about disability is, in my opinion, the worst. It doesn’t take longer than 10 minutes to gain some enlightenment by reading a few articles on Rolling Without Limits or by checking out my blog. People cannot just pretend disabled people do not exist but unfortunately about half of society does.
Now, not all ignorant people are bad. A lot of ignorance stems from a lack of awareness (when I say I have Friedreich’s Ataxia, most look bemused and do not have a clue what the condition is). This can be attributed to many things including hardly any disabled faces in the mainstream media and no education in place to teach people about disability. In all honesty, if I wasn’t disabled, I would also be blissfully ignorant. Not out of spite or laziness, but just because I wouldn’t have known any different. At school, Religious Studies is taught (in the UK at least) so that the students are not ignorant of other beliefs. I feel that similar sort of lessons about disability should be made compulsory as well.
There is also a sense of fear which can be passed on from generation to generation. For example when a child is naturally inquisitive and asks about why I’m in a wheelchair, it is common for the parent to apologise for the probing questions. However, I do not mind one bit because that kid is obviously interested and wants to learn. Attitudes within society cannot improve if it is ingrained into everybody to steer clear of the disabled and not ask them questions directly. Otherwise, scared children will turn into grown ups who stare right through me or go to shake my hand, see I’m in a wheelchair and then swiftly withdraw so they don’t touch me (true story).