I was a white kid growing up in the suburbs, and I admit that my image of what African American people would “be like” came mainly from the media– movies, television, music videos, and so forth.
Luckily, thanks to my job, I was able to spend some time working at a largely African American library. It was very clear to me that the culture and mood at that place was not what I had expected. The library had a very relaxed, family-like atmosphere. People were very supportive of one other. There was very little to none of the bombastic aggressiveness we county kids were taught to expect.
Where am I headed with this? I would suggest that many of us have certain ideas about how a group of people “will be”. I want to be clear that African American people are not in any way disabled– rather I want to point out that it is easy to generalize about both African Americans and disabled people (and other groups, as well). Rather than making assumptions, it would be more helpful to meet a few patients in person.
It might surprise you.
Having a disability does not mean a person has no abilities, or is completely “off their rocker”. Sometimes, it may mean that a person has certain very specific limitations, but is very able in other ways.
I wonder if some people, having met mentally ill people, might be more like Foucault, who said that, in a psychiatric ward, that he preferred the patients to the staff.