I was reading a bunch of historical short stories, just starting to get into them when… whap! It feels like a whap anyway, or like having someone dump icewater on my head. It’s that sensation when I’m jolted out of having an ordinary reading experience, and thrown into an all-too-detailed look at how the author sees (in this case) developmentally disabled people, or (in other cases) some other group of people I’m part of.
In this case, we’re shunted to the side, standing out even in a place supposedly devoted to nonconformity and diversity. That’s not an unusual place to find us in people’s heads, but seeing it made so clear and obvious never gets any easier. We’re either on the sidelines, or we are there as a means to show another characters attitudes or morality, or we are piled high with the baggage the author carries from having a disabled family member. But whatever we are, we’re never just people, which is what we actually are in real life to anyone whose brain isn’t filled with BS about us.