I find it incredibly disheartening how socially acceptable it is to discriminate against people with disabilities. Even in leftist social circles, where many people are actively fighting for equality for people of all races, genders and sexualities, it’s disgustingly common.
Recently, I watched something like this unfold on Twitter. A woman with a disability and activist, @coffeespoonie, was denied service multiple times by ride-sharing service Uber for her wheelchair and service dog, so she filed a complaint with the company.
One of the drivers who discriminated against her was fired. People started dogpiling her and saying she was “anti working class” and hurled a slew of sexist and anti-Semitic comments at her.
These so-called “activists” attacking a woman for trying to be assertive about her rights disgust me. She was denied service, and the driver violated the ADA by denying her service. She even said she didn’t want them fired, but rather just disciplined or re-trained.
It’s awfully bold of anyone to call someone with a disability “anti-working class” when disabled people are more likely to be working class or live in poverty due to the outrageous cost of healthcare in the U.S.
The ADA was created to protect people with disabilities from discrimination in education, employment, public transportation and in businesses. Reporting someone for denying you service because of your disability is not wrong. If anything, it is on the company to do a better job of training its employees on disability awareness, the ADA and what kind of accommodations they may need to make for various disabilities.
I’ve seen similar incidents, and in every circumstance, people insulted the person with a disability for simply expecting service.
If someone has less ability to work or needs different accommodations in a workplace, school or in public, so often they are treated as “lazy” or “entitled” when that’s not true.
Even people who do not have a disability or chronic illness may have different needs, and most people accept that. But when chronically ill people or people with disabilities have a different need, they’re often villainized.
This is why I hate the term “special needs” so much. It implies that anyone needing things to make life accessible to them is asking for something extra when it’s not.
Accessibility and accommodations are not “special” treatment. They are not “extra;” they are the bare minimum for treating people with disabilities like equals instead of subordinates, like so many people do.
Discrimination against someone for any reason is not OK. It is especially heinous when people try to villainize people who just want their rights and humanity to be taken seriously.
I want to encourage everyone who is reading this to be more aware of the needs of others around them.
If you know someone who has a disability or chronic illness, take some time to research or ask them what kind of accommodations they may need. If you are a victim of discrimination, never feel ashamed to report it. You are not bad for wanting to be respected and treated as a human.
You deserve the same things that everyone else does, and standing up for yourself doesn’t make you “anti-working class.”