Inclusion Door

To my ongoing frustration, the theme of encountering ablism at every turn has not ended.  One trend weaving its way through my experiences is the idea that entities make changes and provide accommodations “when someone asks for them,” where someone actually means multiple people at various times.  This leaves me with a question: Should you be required to knock repeatedly before the inclusion door is opened?

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About Jen

After acquiring a degree from Vassar College in psychology, I moved to Western Mass where I ran a peer mentoring network for disabled college students as well as activism and organizing around disability issues. I also conducted research on disabled women’s body image. An Upstate New York native, I eventually followed my heliotropic nature to the sun of Southern California. I divide my time between writing (disability fiction and essays) along with moderating San Diego Bisexual Forum which is one of the oldest groups of its kind in the country. In my off hours I can often be found in my neighborhood live music venue enjoying our local talent.

4 thoughts on “Inclusion Door

  1. I think that just as people only have so many spoons to get through the day, the same is true for companies setting up whatever their thing is. Of course they don’t think of it in those terms, and unfortunately, any productivity enhancements (i.e. more spoons) would likely be spent on other things first. Product launches are messy and sometimes it’s all a company can do to just get it out the door; sometimes even sacrificing features that they want to include.

    • Steve,

      Glad you found the new home. *smile*

      Here’s where I think your comparison falls short. Companies trying to get there thing up and running often have profit as their bottom line. Accessibility is sacrificed on the surface because of limits of spoons, but reducing profit would allow for the acquisition of more spoons.

      It all boils down to priorities. Mine are obviously for full inclusion of everyone pretty much no matter what. I’d say “within reason,” but reason is such a subjective term that it’s rendered meaningless.

      • Of course I did. You can’t get rid of this ignorant TAB so easily. *smile back*. I’ve been quiet lately because there really is nothing for me to contribute. I am just listening.

        I was thinking further about using spoons in the context of corporations (either for-profit or non-profits). The corporation doesn’t have any spoons of its own. (Let’s set aside things like factory automation.) I think it’s acceptable to say that the number of spoons a company has is just the sum total of spoons that the workers all spend on their tasks during the work day.

        Profit is indeed the prime motivator for most companies. There are different levels of profit. A company that makes $100.00 profit on every sale will be able to do more than one that only makes $10.00 (assuming an equal number of sales). In theory, the latter is objectively less capable of responding to requests for accessibility (or anything else). Of course, if the sales volume is such that the first has a hundred million dollars and the second has ten million dollars, then yes, both are equally able to act.

        Producing software requires a huge up-front investment of time with no money coming in, followed by money coming in and only maintenance/upgrade costs. (That’s simplified of course.) Airlines, as I understand them, are almost always operating with their profits just a tiny bit above their expenses. Other industries have other situations. I was interested to read your next article about the LGBT center and your efforts there. I assume they’re a non-profit organization. It sounds like on their part there’s both a lack of will and a lack of resources?

  2. Hey Steve,

    Companies can buy more spoons. People with chronic illness don’t exactly have that option. This is why I sort of internally cringe at the idea of associating spoons with corporations.

    I think blanket statements in situations of access are really not appropriate. I do think, though, that I want companies to earn a little less if it means their products or services or whatever are accessible to more people. Often, acessibility can be done easily especially when it is taken into account from beginning. (i.e. if you have to retro fit buildings with ramps it is going to cost more than if you designed them into the initial structure.)

    The LGBT Center had no excuse when it came to lack of resources. I was asking for a file I had modified for them to be burned onto a CD. It was and is a lack of will. They show no desire to make themselves accessible to people with disabilities. It’s pretty frustrating to say the least.

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