The second disability stereotype that will be explored is “disability as hero by hype”. This stereotype is more commonly referred to as “the super crip” pereception. When not pitied, persons with disabilities are sometimes seen as “heroes,” or in other words, outrageously admired for their “courage” and determination. This stems from the belief that life with a disability must necessarily be horrific and unsatisfying, and as such, we must admire persons with disabilities for being able to live “the way they do.” Much like portraying disability as a form of lesser self-worth (as is often the case with the “disability as pity” stereotype), placing persons with disabilities on a pedestal is another way to denote this social group as “other”. This particular stereotype is also linked to the idea that disability in one area is complimented with superior abilities in another area (for example, the misconception that people who are blind have superior hearing).
The lesson shall incorporate lecture, video examples and various activities
to clearly define this stereotype, its implications and related themes.
Upon completion of this lesson, students will be able to:
(5 min.) The teacher will commence by introducing the stereotype, the beliefs linked to this stereotype and several examples of the super crip notion being perpetuated in the media. It may be helpful to refer back to the Media Awareness Network article introduced in a prior lesson. Note examples of 'super-crip' in movies, such as Daredevil.
(10 min.) The teacher will then outline the various social implications linked to this stereotype, and invite students to think of some of their own. As a starting point, the following points are taken from the aforementioned article:
(10 min.) Talk shows: The teacher is encouraged to use talk shows as an example to stimulate class discussions. For example, many talk shows air entire episodes on people with "extraordinary" stories or peculiar physical anomalies. These persons with disabilities are portrayed in much the same way as those in freak shows during the 1800's. Show the Maury Clip.
(15 min.) Divide the class into groups, and have each group discussion some examples of these talk shows and in what way they perpetuate this stereotype that they may be familiar with in their own experience. After 10 minutes, have each group report back with their most compelling example.
(10 min.) The remainder of the lesson will be used to discuss the two homework assignments linked to this lesson, and to answer any questions students may have.