Diane Arbus was a famous photographer who had a niche of taking photos of "outsiders". This includes circus people, and we're talking 1940's so think "bearded lady", "serpent man", "Siamese twins". She also has a huge interest in people with disabilities. She photographed them in a respectful light, not exploitative.
So me and my dad went to the MOCA (Museum of Contemporary Art) to see a retrospective exhibit of her career. I was really enjoying it until this happened.
My dad and I were looking at a photo of a group of people with Down's Syndrome (see image above). I should explain that I have little control over my mouth (hence the no talking) and so I tend to drool. Not a big deal for me, its just part of who I am. However, as we were looking at this beautiful photograph, a museum guard walked up to my dad and said (are you ready for this?) "She's slobbering....She's slobbering all over herself..."
The guard was frantic (I'm still not really sure why). My dad had a great comeback. He calmly said "Yes, I know she drools." Then we walked/rolled away.
Now there's a happy ending to this story. My dad wrote a letter (I was 12 at the time or else I would have done it myself) to everyone who sat on the board at the MOCA explaining what had taken place. The result was mandatory disability sensitivity training for all the employees and I got to have lunch with the head of the MOCA which I thought was pretty cool.
I'm sure the guard meant well, but damn. He could have chosen his words a little better.