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Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Why the ADA is Needed

I will readily admit that I am not as familiar with Deaf culture as I would like. Two recent stories, one about the upcoming Super Bowl Commercial by Pepsi and the other about a deaf Mom who was refused service at a local Steak and Shake, highlighted why I must rectify my ignorance and demonstrated why the ADA us needed.

On the blog A Deaf Mom Shares Her World a woman details her experience at a drive through Steak and Shake in Illinois. Here is the link to the story:

http://putzworld.blogspot.com/2008/01/steak-and-shake-denies-service.html

I was deeply touched by this story because it reminded me of the many unnecessary social obstacles I have had and still encounter raising my son. This story also reinforced why such seemingly small incidents have such a profound cumulative impact. It is too easy for those who are not disabled to remark that seemingly unimportant incidents should be quickly forgotten. The problem is that these so called small incidents are not isolated experiences. The social affronts may not appear particularly offensive but when they take place day after day they reinforce that the lives and inclusion of people with disabilities are not valued. Thus when I encounter needless obstacles like the deaf Mom that was refused service I get agitated quickly. I am also quick to point out when my civil rights are being violated. This opinion is rarely if ever appreciated and far too many people think I and other disabled people who assert our rights have a "chip on their shoulder". This convenient rationalization ignores the fact the problem disabled people encounter has nothing to do with a particular physical deficit but rather with societal prejudice.

2 comments:

Karen said...

You hit the nail on the head about "chips on the shoulder."

I'm just trying to equalize the playing field for drive thru access and others are seeing it as "special treatment."

Thanks for your support!

william Peace said...

The entire notion of "special treatment" makes me furious and hope to see this notion fade into oblivion some day. Why mainstream society refuses to see disability within the framework of civil rights is a mystery. I am especially struck by this when I travel and use mass transportation. Why is it that airline employees are shocked when I assert my civil rights and complain about substandard service?

Your blog entry was great--I am delighted it is being widely circulated.