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When people do not conform to the 'norm' they are often labelled as sick, disabled, abnormal, or unusual. Most people want to be considered normal and strive to be perceived as such, so that they can relate to society at large. Without having things in common with the general population, people may feel isolated in society. The "abnormal" person feels like they have less in common with the "normal" population, and others have difficulty relating to things that they have not experienced themselves. Abnormality may make others feel uncomfortable, further separating the abnormally labelled individual.

Since being normal is generally considered an ideal, there is often pressure from external sources to conform, as well as pressure from people's intrinsic desire to feel included. Families and community will sometimes try to help disabled people live a 'normal' life. However, the pressure to appear normal, while actually having some deviation, creates a conflict. Sometimes someone will appear normal, while actually experiencing the world differently. When abnormality makes society feel uncomfortable, it is the exceptional person themselves who will laugh it off to relieve social tension. Society's rejection of deviance and the pressure to normalize may cause shame in some individuals. Abnormalities may not be included in an individual's sense of identity, especially if they are unwelcome abnormalities.

The other day I was struck by a young girl's blog about how she has been the subject of abuse and racism because she does not fit into what those around her consider 'normal'. Úna-Minh Caomhánach (often anglicised 'Kavanagh') was born in Vietnam and was adopted by a woman in Kerry. She is a fluent speaker of Irish because of her grandfather (a thing few Irish children can do). But she is daily insulted with a range of racial slurs: 'Asian slut', 'slit eye weirdo', 'chow mein', etc.

But Úna has quietly responded by drawing a cartoon of the insults online which has gone viral.


As someone perceived as not 'normal' (whatever that is) by some people, I so get this.

But I have something to say about that here:

Some good comments there.
We humans have so much growing up we need to do.
one of my professors used to quote a distinguished social psychologist
"mental illness is what society at any given time defines it"

but what Una is experiencing has nothing to do with "abnormal behavior"
it is pure bigotry!
and apparently all too normal
does the culture these children are living in encourage it?
have the adults spoken out against it?
where did these children learn it and think it acceptable?

if her cartoon has gone viral what is the response?