In “Harrison Bergeron” handicaps are forced upon the civilians in order to make everyone equal. People in the story without handicaps often wish they had handicaps. In the story, Hazel, Harrison’s mother, says that she thinks she would like to hear the sounds heard by her husband (Vonnegut 2).
However, in the real world, people with handicaps often have poor conditions compared to others. In an article with NPR, Dr. Jody Heymann stated, “Persons with disabilities are one of the last groups whose equal rights have been recognized” (Brink). Their rights are often forgotten about and ignored. People with handicaps sometimes struggle to do everyday tasks because the places they go are not accommodating of their handicaps.
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Affirmative action is a strategy used by businesses and schools to create a more equal work or learning space. Affirmative action favors minorities while trying to make it more equal. In “Harrison Bergeron,” the characters are given handicaps in an attempt to make everyone equal. This is different from affirmative action, where minorities are given an advantage to equal the playing field. An attorney for Harvard said, “Harvard cannot achieve its educational goals without considering race” (Reilly).
Schools are focusing more on race than trying to make things equal. In Harrison Bergeron, they did the same thing but with handicaps.