People with disabilities tend to make other people nervous.
I worked as a Sign Language Interpreter for over 10 years and I saw it firsthand. Most people don’t know whether to feel sorry for the disabled person, ignore the disability like it isn’t there or to treat them like children that are unable to live like fully-functioning adults. I don’t know how many times I have been asked: Deaf people drive? Deaf people get married? They have children? (Yes to all of the above by the way).
But this TED talk is not about Deaf people.
This is about a woman named Maysoon Zayid—a Palestinian woman from New Jersey born with Cerebral Palsy. Maysoon explains how she was raised in a Muslim-Arab household and how she was taught how to walk by placing her heels on her father’s feet and walking with him and then later enrolled in dance school.
“I learned to dance in heels so now I can walk in heels,” Maysoon explains. She also credits yoga to helping improve her mobility by learning to stand on her head.
Maysoon went to school to become an actor and found her niche in comedy. This talk is not only inspiring it is hilarious. She confronts what is different—what makes us uncomfortable—and faces down those issues with humor by challenging the viewers to consider the parameters we create when we look at a person that is different than us whether that be a different ethnicity, culture, religion, gender or ability. And she does it with grace, style and hilarity.
Want to feel inspired? Want a good laugh? Want to feel empowered? Check out Maysoon Zayid.
Love elephant and want to go steady?
Editor: Bryonie Wise/Travis May
Photo Credit: TED Talk