What it's like to be the parent of a child with a learning disability. The blog was created in 2005 and discusses anything to do with Down Syndrome

Sunday, 20 August 2017

Bias: Stan and the super-strength lager on the 263

Are we all prejudiced? Would you engage with someone on a bus who has a learning disability or perhaps someone who has obvious alcohol issues? 

On the 263, Stan met a man who was drinking super-strength lager. It was 9.45 in the morning. Are you jumping to conclusions, reader? Was this man, probably an expert-by-experience with street homeless issues, making a scene?

Well, no. He was keeping himself-to-himself; but Stan made a beeline for him and introduced himself. Before you knew it they were captivating the passengers with one of the most bizarre and entertaining conversations I've ever heard. 

Down's Mum reckons that Stan is different to many people because he doesn't have a biased bone in his body. Because of his learning disability, he doesn't know how to be prejudiced and that can be a fantastic thing. He was just born like that...

Back to the bus. The man didn't offer Stan any of his 7.5% proof booze but he did fish in his pocket and give Stan £1. Then he showed Stan his West Ham tattoo.

The other passengers were like the person on the train reading over your shoulder.  They couldn't take their eyes off the situation. And that's a good thing for challenging bias. Because here were two people connecting and perhaps, just perhaps, breaking down a few barriers. 


See also: Unconscious bias isn't just somebody else problem; it’s also yours. By Ossie Stuart, equality / diversity consultant