Disability Discrimination

Blogging against disablism day Much like web design could be considered a hidden profession, disability discrimination is a hidden problem. Where web design hides behind different job titles, disability discrimination is wrapped in the even softer swaddling of misconception, ignorance, and stereotype. Today is Blogging Against Disablism Day. Here are a few thoughts.

What elephant?

It’s easy to overlook something that’s not there, especially when its absence doesn’t directly affect you. A wheelchair ramp. Accessible website navigation. If it’s not staring us in the face, or if no one brings it up, these things are often pushed aside, put off, or buried under deadlines and excuses.

Next time you’re out, try and count the number of places that lack accessibility. Maybe it’s a restaurant or bar that has only high tables and chairs/stools, or a bookstore that is upstairs with no elevator. Quaint cobblestone streets that are nice to look at that might catch wheelchair wheels. A walkway that isn’t cleared of snow and ice.

These “little” things add up to barriers, and can discourage certain segments of the population from accessing places and information that the rest of us take for granted. These can be easy to miss from one perspective, and even easier to shrug off or ignore as being inconsequential.

Fighting what you can’t see

It’s hard to rally around something as pervasive and subtle as disability discrimination. Disability discrimination isn’t just shady employment practices. It’s all around us. It’s the daily activities we take for granted that are denied to others by default. When was the last time someone went on a hunger strike, or camped out in the freezing rain, to raise awareness about the lack of opportunities for people with mental illness? How do you build momentum and get people passionately involved in something that is so often out of sight, and thus out of mind? How do you convince someone that their website is inaccessible, and that that is a big deal?

Oh, that elephant

a handicap parking only sign There is a problem. But like most problems, there are ways to approach it.

Get informed. Find out what accommodations your organization makes for people with disabilities. Read about various types of disabilities and accessibility issues. Look into how much it would cost to put a wheelchair ramp in. Start taking web accessibility seriously.

Talk about it. The reason no one sees the elephant in the living room is because it is easier not to talk about it, than to try to move it. So talk about it. Point out the fact that a business might be difficult to access in a wheelchair. That’s what those comment cards in restaurants are for, after all – providing feedback. Email the web designer or customer support department about their website not being accessible. Talk with friends and coworkers about their experiences. Write your elected representatives.

Get involved. Find a local organization near you that works for the advancement for the disabled, or on related issues. Start a blog and start writing about what you see, hear, and encounter out there.

3 Comments

  1. Gravatar Icon
    Anonymous
    Posted August 15, 2015 at 11:13 am | #

    Wheelchairs not welcome

    ADA form filed with US Justice Department

    Reference
    15-bb4jk-6wha

    8-8-2015

    Wheelchairs not welcome Ashland Salvation Army Ray & Joan Kroc Corps Community Center 527 E Liberty St, Ashland, OH 44805 (419) 281-8001

    ADA form filed with US Justice Department

    Reference 15-bb4jk-6wha
    Sunday 8-8-2015

    EEOC

    https://plus.google.com/105114249297884567099/posts/azvMb3TsHSn

    On Saturday, August 8, 2015, I had an issue at the Ashland, OH salvation army Kroc Center at RJ’s spray park, (and this was definitely not the first). With most places now being wheelchair friendly, there was a denial of access incident for a wheelchair more than once. I happen to be using a power chair and also an electric mobility scooter due to my inability to be on my feet too long. For a good bit of the summer I was actually able to park my power chair or scooter in the shade on the pavement close to the building and nearby the water access area at the spray park. There was never before any problem with this until sometime after I got my electric mobility scooter. You see, in 2000, I had a real bad wreck that badly injured my left knee. 10 years later, it was discovered that I have early arthritis in the knee, because my left knee will unlock or even buckle if I push it too far and don’t stay within my limits. There is no cure for arthritis. I obtained a used Power chair that I do use if I’m going to be on my feet too long or have to walk too far. At age 14, I screwed up my back really bad and was in bed for four months. I still have trouble to this day to some great degree, and it’s gradually worsening. This really limits how long I can be on my feet before the pain in my low back starts. It’s bad enough to be struggling with physical limits that limit how long you can even be standing or walking, but it’s far worse when a business says that your wheelchair is not welcome. (This has actually happened twice this summer). Another thing that you should know is that this same organization started trouble for a local man named mountain man a while back, and they even barred him from their premises after targeting him (alone). It seems now that he’s gone, I’m their next target. Yesterday Friday, August 7, 2015, there was another wheelchair user at that park right by one of the tables. When I arrived at rJ’s spray park, I knew to go and park my scooter right next to that other wheelchair for support just in case. If the workers inside the Kroc Center were going to approach me about my scooter, I wanted someone else in a wheelchair to witness it. Surprisingly this did not happen. This just seems to happen when I’m alone. I really need my chair closer to me than what they are allowing. What if either my knee gave out for something happened in my low back? What if something happened and my chair is that far away from me? What good is my chair going to do when it’s pretty far away from me and when I want to go anywhere in that park, my chair is not allowed to go with me as allowed by ADA law. I should be able to take my power chair anywhere in that park. It seems funny that I can go anywhere else where people congregate and are on foot such as the fair or a car show and there’s never any problem. Wheelchairs are allowed in such places, but not RJ spray park. When the spray park first opened, wheelchairs have been back there right up by the water slabs without any issue whatsoever. Now that I need a chair, I’m denied access with my chair, and my wheelchair really needs to be closer to me in case something happens. I really need to speak up about this because I’m afraid this may not be the last time and I may not be the first. I really don’t want there to be any retaliation from this. Somehow someone needs to get a hold of whoever made this crazy rule of no wheeled vehicles allowed in the spray park and make them have their heads examined, because someone allows strollers back there. The driver of the gas cadet is the one who initiated something with me, and I tried to alert someone as soon as I saw this guy acting differently and trying to make contact with me from across the park and disapproval of my mobility scooter being parked by one of the picnic tables, the same exact place where the other wheelchair user was parked yesterday on Friday, August 7, 2015. I was parked right next to that other wheelchair because if I was going to be confronted again, I wanted another wheelchair user to be present. There is no need for wheelchairs to be barred from the waterpark, no one is looking to hit any pedestrians. Again, I just went to a car show where it was even more crowded, and there was no problem whatsoever. I was on that same mobility scooter. I don’t have a upper body strength to ride a manual wheelchair all the way across town, that’s just not going to happen. I need my power chair or mobility scooter. Another issue is that there is no handicap parking for RJ’s spray park. This is just not fair to people who use wheelchairs, there needs to be about four handicap spots right where there is a drop in the sidewalk where wheelchairs can access the spray park. I was told today that the Kroc Center is going to soon fence in our Jay’s spray park in an effort to keep out wheelchairs. I stood up to her and the guy on the cadet by not moving when he tried to get me to get the power chair out of the park. I stood up to the lady who approached me and I shouted good and well that they are not allowed by law to discriminate against wheelchairs, and I made sure a group of other visitors heard it loud and clear. Yes, I had to make an ass of that lady who approached me about the wheelchair issue, because yes, it is discrimination one wheelchairs are not welcome. You may want to get a hold of state inspectors who the workers tried to claim said we’re not allowed to have anything around the building. If there is any truth to this, apparently someone needs their head examined because they never had wheelchair users in mind. Yes I am an American and I have disabilities that I must live with. I have no car and definitely no family to help me, I must do the best I can with what little I have. Yes I do have a gas scooter I can park in a handicapped spot on my good days with my back (as my back permits). However, there are no handicap spots at RJ’s spray park, (and there should be). All of the handicapped parking is up in the front by the main entrance, (which is a very good ways to walk). This again is very unfair to people with disabilities. I feel that this is another way to discourage wheelchair users from ever coming to RJ’s spray park, because rJ’s spray park is open to the public, and this also goes for wheelchairsl. Wheelchair users should never be restricted to not being able to navigate the water park as they wish or to enjoy the water just because they’re in a wheelchair. Again, there have been wheelchairs back there before when the place first open and one of them I think was indeed a power chair that was placed right by the edge of the pavement by the water area.

  2. Gravatar Icon
    Anonymous
    Posted August 15, 2015 at 11:16 am | #

    In order to try and clarify, I’m including a shorter version of the big problem:

    Wheelchairs not welcome at RJ’s spray park located at Ashland Salvation Army Ray & Joan Kroc Corps Community Center 527 E Liberty St, Ashland, OH 44805 (419) 281-8001

    ADA form filed with US Justice Department

    Reference 15-bb4jk-6wha
    Sunday 8-8-2015

    Below is a link that showed up on Google results where I shared on social media, and it showed up in Google results just by googling the keywords “no wheelchairs”

    https://plus.google.com/105114249297884567099/posts/azvMb3TsHSn

  3. Gravatar Icon
    Anonymous
    Posted August 15, 2015 at 11:17 am | #

    One more thing I forgot to add is that I shared on Google plus for those of you who may click the link

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About this article

Green Galoshes is a weblog written by Justin D. Henry. This entry was published on or around May 1, 2007.

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