Discrimination is an everyday aspect of life for many people. To be very honest, I never thought of it as an issue when I was growing up. However, discrimination became apparent to me when I became disabled at the age of fifteen. On many occasions, I was not only misunderstood, but deliberately mishandled. You might not really understand the meaning of discrimination until you find yourself on the receiving end of it.
The past twenty years of my disabled life has really been a wake-up call for me. And that is actually a big understatement. My objective has always been to lead a positive life and be grateful, discriminatory instances notwithstanding. Wisdom can be found abundantly in many places despite a handful of unpleasant things you may run into on daily basis. I am certain you have come across this unpleasantness a hundred times if you are person with a disability.
Treatment in Public Places
Here are some discriminative highlights people with disabilities face every day. Some are so common that people have taken them to be an acceptable norm in society.
- Go to the supermarket, a restaurant, movie theatre, or any public office with employees. Chances are that five out of ten employees will simply assume you are mentally ill, due to a conspicuous physical disability. I have on many occasions experienced this, more so when I am at the supermarket with a friend who is able-bodied. Almost always at the checkout, the cashier will direct questions to my able-bodied friend. At no time does the cashier ever imagine I am the one to pay for the items. It’s very frustrating indeed.
- If you reside in an urban area like New York City, you certainly have experienced taxis passing you by on several occasions. Frequent complaints about this issue of taxis passing by people with disabilities are commonplace in big cities worldwide. It is obvious that these taxis are not interested in handling our extra needs. We are viewed as additional headache, rather than a worthy customer.
- You go to meet a friend or business partner in a restaurant for lunch. Guess what? You cannot get in because of architectural barriers. Many public offices have not taken into consideration the needs of persons with disabilities, especially in terms of entry points, lifts, or staircases. You might be misguided to believe that all public areas and amenities are ADA compliant, they are not. The really sad news is that not many property owners care. Some discriminate blatantly and refuse to provide for easy access for people with disabilities.
- Ever been to a concert venue? It is not uncommon to find notices that read like this:”Wheelchair tickets are sold out,” or “Sorry, no more Wheelchairs are allowed”. For me, I have unfortunately accepted this to be a reality of life.
*Photo credit: By Roger Blackwell via Flickr