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Wednesday, April 16, 2008

An Example the New York Times Can Follow

Yesterday I posted an entry on my blog that was critical of the New York Times. This was not the first time I have taken an article in the New York Times to task. I do not anticipate it will be the last time I am critical of this influential national paper that seems to invariably screw up all stories about disability related topics. A friend sent me an email after reading my blog and asked if I had read any recent stories in the mainstream press that did not warrant such a stinging critique like the one I gave the New York Times. It did not take too long to come up with an affirmative response.

Although not of the same stature of the New York Times, I read an article in Diveristyinc entitled "7 Things NEVER to Say to People with Disabilities". Normally I do not like such lists but this article by Daryl Hannah was an exception. The author did her homework, talked to people at the National Organization on Disability and made a concerted effort to not only inform potential employers about possible pitfalls when interviewing a disabled person but provided U.S. Census Bureau data about the number of disabled people in the work force. More personally, I have been asked each of the seven things Ms. Hannah listed that should not be said to people with disabilities. Each and every question is rude, intrusive, and grossly inappropriate to ask any person who is or is not disabled.

It would be easy for me to quibble about some things Ms. Hannah wrote. However, the general points she made were on target, perfectly suited for a large or small company that might be seeking to hire a disabled employee. Given Ms. Hannah's probable audience, people who work in human resources that have little knowledge of disability, her article is constructive and likely to prevent a potential employer from inadvertently asking an insulting question. If Diversityinc can publish an informative article about disability surely the New York Times and other major media outlets can do so as well. Until that happens I will keep on reading the New York Times and skewering them when needed.

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