In a general interest forum recently, a person posted his dissatisfaction with a customer service experience. He believed that the customer service agent had made a particular decision because he (the poster) was deaf. His post was moved into the disability sub-forum. He was offended:
While I (respectfully) understand why you had to move my thread, I still feel a bit insulted. I am NOT disabled–I am just Deaf. Being Deaf is not a disability, because I can do anything but hear.
So, can you please move this thread back to the “******” forum so more people can read it?
There are a lot of things about this that bother me.
First, his post was about the fact that the customer service agent had treated him as disabled, so the disability forum is not inappropriate. He believes he is not disabled, and wants to be treated like an ordinary person – and so do we all. But is the answer to somehow persuade the entire world that Deaf people are not disabled, or to persuade the world that people should be treated well, whether they are disabled or not?
Second, how does he think things like the Americans with Disabilities Act happen? Because people who are disabled insist they are not, and as long as everyone understands that, it’ll be cool and nothing else has to change? It’s identification with others in a group that enables social action. [Edited to add: because the poster is not disabled, the ADA is not relevant, but how does he think Closed Captioning and visual emergency alarms and ASL interpreters came into the mainstream?]
Third, this is way the ADA includes a provision to cover those who are perceived as disabled, whether they actually are or not. This guy is complaining about being discriminated against as if he were disabled – does it matter whether he is or not? Will he be able to claim solidarity with the disabled community in order to fight against discrimination, or will that give him disabled cooties?
Lastly, why does he think any non-disabled, non-Deaf people will empathize with him? They certainly haven’t experienced the particular flavor of discrimination he reported. Maybe there needs to be a Deaf sub-forum.
This gives me the same sour feeling I get when, as a woman old enough to remember when a married woman’s salary was not legally her own, young women say they believe in equality and all that, but ooooh, nooo, they’re not feminists or anything.
What do you think?