Building a Better Community: Defining Ourselves

Emily: Pom, pom, pom.
Kyle: I was going to do that. I swear to god.
E: Hi, I’m Emily Ladau.
K: I’m Kyle Khachadurian.
E: You’re listening to another episode of The Accessible Stall. K: What are we going to talk about today, Emily?
E: You got a little rhythm going, okay. What are we going to talk about today? To put it nicely, I think to see what people need to work on
themselves a little bit.
K: I agree. This is going to be the second episode, our miniseries called building a better community or disabled community as we figure it
out was a better name, but since it’s already out of the way, we can’t really change it without any problems. Anyway, so…
E: Are we doing an auction? That was so fast. K: Now, do well.
E: 500 million, 500 million, 700 million, 700.
K: Yes. But today, we’re actually… we really are going to talk about how we think disability community as a whole need to sort of look
at themselves and figure out how to handle bad news or handle things we don’t like. It is sort of the [0:01:14 crosstalk] of this episode.
E: Yes. I’m still grappling with this as is Kyle. I imagine that this is going to be a lot of us trying to figure out our own thoughts, but we have
noticed that the disability community, whoever may consider themselves part of that community tends to channel anger or any sort of negative emotion in ways that don’t always feel constructive.
I say this with the huge clarification that I am among the first people to get super angry when I see something that really upsets me or that I feel portrays disability in a way that I am uncomfortable or offended by, uncomfortable with or offended by. But, like it or not, I think it is incumbent upon us as disabled people to contemplate how we react to certain things because, like it or not, we’re often tokenized to speaking for the whole.
K: Yes, I agree. As faith would have it, we were planning this for a while. By the grace of God, we had something perfect dropped in
our laps by Anderson Cooper and his coverage of drive-by lawsuits that go after ADA violations.
E: Right. In case you haven’t seen the segment yet, Anderson Cooper did a report on what are known as drive-by lawsuits on 60 Minutes.
It’s essentially when a lawyer will slap a business owner with a lawsuit for not complying down to the letter or number with the Americans with Disabilities Act.
The reporting in the piece was so skewed in favor of business owner. It essentially gave the impression that complying with the ADA is just kind of a pain in the butt and who really cares about it. It completely neglected to highlight any of the activism that’s been done around accessibility or the difficulties with accessibility that disabled people encounter or the history behind the American with Disabilities Act.
I’m saying all these to make sure that everyone listening knows that I realized the segment was hugely flawed, but at the same time… and I feel this way about every piece of media that I think misrepresents the disability community.
K: I don’t think there is such a thing as perfect thing. I mean, we can probably figure out one or two, but most things, we can probably
say something about.
E: Yes, like they’re speechless.
K: Yes, there you go.
E: Although, I think speechless has more flaws than not, unfortunately. K: Unfortunately.
E: But, yes. All of that rambling was to say that it’s really up to us how we respond to things. Do we use it as an opportunity to educate and
to engage in constructive open dialogue or do we go all open arms in anger?
Believe me, I understand that we shouldn’t have to keep dealing with this. 26 years after the passage of the American with Disabilities Act, at least in reference to inaccessibility, but I still can’t help but feel that we can do better in how you respond to things.
K: No, we absolutely can. First of all, the ADA… the business owners have been given to what, 25 years after its passage to get
accessibility together?
E: It’s ridiculous.
K: Which is an absurdly long amount of time, but now that that’s actually passed, I guess now, going forward would be the time to
start getting up in arms, but I really do think that it is on us. I do, I genuinely think it’s on us. It should be on us to make sure that every building we enter is accessible? No, but is that going to stop you from calling everywhere you go to make sure you can get in? Of course not, because maybe the answer is no. What are you going to do? “Oh-uh, that sucks. I’m going to go to a different place.” You know what I mean? Of course it shouldn’t be that way, but the fact of the matter is to put all the blame on not you is silly.
E: I don’t know if blame is so much the thing.
K: Responsibility, sorry.
E: Responsibility, yes. Because it’s not our fault that things are inaccessible to us. But, we can take some of the responsibility for
how we handle the particular situation. Because I know that… and I hate to say a cliché but I’m going to say it. You catch more flies with honey than with vinegar.
K: It’s so true. I don’t understand. We’re all about vinegar. It’s all we do. We get angry and then people look at us and that’s what they
see. They see anger and then, it reinforces the stereotypes that you shouldn’t talk to us because what are we just going to do? We’re just going to get angry and yell at you for not knowing enough about our lives to begin with. It’s a viscous cycle and nothing gets done. That’s why we need to grow up a little bit.
E: See, I also think that if ever there was an episode we were going to get hate for, I can legitimately understand why it might be this one,
because I personally don’t like being told that my reactions to things aren’t the way they should be.
I also understand how exhausting it is to constantly be expected to do the work of something that is a lot, that’s already been in place for a quarter of a century, but I have also come to the point where I understand that’s the current reality. Rather than just get angry about it, I would also like to get angry about it and use it wisely and productively to hopefully inspire change.
K: Yes, but I mean, it’s everything. It’s not just this. It’s not just, “Oh, this business isn’t accessible.” I can understand anger about that. I
mean if I can’t get in somewhere that I need to be, that would make me angry.
E: Sure.
K: It should, right? It has made you angry, but it’s… we do that a lot. We over react to stuff all the time. It’s exhausting and we do it to
E: Maybe that’s it. I think reframing how we’re putting it. By us getting so angry all the time, we’re only burning ourselves out.
K: Yes. Also, you’re burning bridges that as a minority, the world’s largest minority that we love to remind people. It’s like our favorite
thing. There’s 56 million of us in the United States, one in five.
When you say that, it’s like… yes, but you got to make the other person care. It’s hard to make somebody who doesn’t experience the world like you do care about your issues. Disability is a weird one. I see disability compared to the civil rights movement for people of color. I find that always is–
E: I think there are a lot of parallels in that sense, but the other thing is that–
K: There are parallels to any minority group and that we share a struggle, but I just think comparing it–
E: But disability rights movement is often called the next big civil rights movement.
K: Absolutely, disability rights aren’t civil rights.
E: But I feel like it’s… it’s like a civil rights movement onto itself. It has
unique characteristics.
K: It does because… for example, not being able to get into a building. If you’re disabled and you can’t get into a building, you are
technically correct and calling a discrimination under the ADA. Of course you are, but you can’t sit there and tell me that if physical barrier in your way is at all the same as denying somebody entrance to your building because of your race, that is not the same at all. Because one doesn’t cost money, one doesn’t take years of implementation, one doesn’t take planning.
E: Right. It’s just like, “Okay, we’re going to let people of a certain race or religion or ethnicity into our building now.”
K: Right, exactly. I’m not saying that that makes discrimination against disabled people in the form of not being able to access a certain
area. Okay, of course it doesn’t. But, there are so many other factors that we, as a group, don’t consider. I’m not saying that the responsibility shouldn’t be on business owners to do so. Of course it should, it’s the law, but there are… it’s not easy. Someone can’t just build a ramp. There are rules to follow.
E: Right, but at the same time I also really don’t appreciate when I get the comment from people, “We were grandfathered in, so therefore
we don’t have to comply with the ADA because nine times out of ten, you’re just blowing smoke out your butt.”
K: Okay, you’re right, but here we go. Guess what? That shouldn’t be allowed. That grandfather clause should apply only to landmarks,
and that’s it. The fact that there is a grandfather clause in there means that the ADA is flawed.
E: See, I think it’s a matter of people not being familiar with the ADA, because if they read the ADA, they would understand that the ADA doesn’t actually have some kind of grandfathering provision. But, if
there are existing elements to a certain building… and believe me, I’ve done my research on this because I don’t want to yell at people before knowing my… basically.
I think it’s called Safe Harbor or something like that. It’s like if certain inaccessible elements already existed or they comply with certain standards that were provided for in the original ADA as it was set forth, then that means that you don’t have to modify.
K: Okay, that’s a flaw.
E: I don’t know if I need to explain that right at all.
K: That’s full of flaw. That’s still a flaw. Even if you’re right, that is still not how it should be. It’s a double edge sword because the ADA is
what grants us many, many rights that we quite frankly take for granted while we complain about other things in this day and age.
E: You know what? Rather than me explaining things because I am not a lawyer, I think we should link to that so that people have exact
clarification. But, I can tell you 100%, there is no such thing as being grandfathered in under the ADA.
K: Okay, but there are exemptions.
E: Yes. You know what? Here, let’s Google it. Okay, ADA National Network, which is the technical assistance network that actually
provides training on stuff like this. The ADA doesn’t have a grandfather provision, but it had a Safe Harbor… okay, I got the terminology right there. A Safe Harbor means you do not have to make modification to element in an existing building that comply with the 1991 Standards, even if the 2010 Standards because the ADA has been updated, have different requirements for them. But…
K: That’s the flaw.
E: The state harbor did not apply to element that were not addressed in the original 1991 Standards, but are addressed in the 2010
Standards. Okay, I’m making sure that we link this to credit, me reading it.
K: It’s not technically a grandfather clause then, but it almost is because I’m sure that through the years, accessibly has become
more broad and more inclusive to include more kinds of disabilities and therefore, with it came new standards.
E: Right, but I also feel like we got off on all talking about the accessibility and the realities that we tend to get open arms about
K: Right. This is just one example. Anderson Cooper does a segment on drive-by lawsuits and how… lawyers try to sue business owners
because they didn’t make accessible parking sign high enough off the ground. We get open arms and that they didn’t include enough people disabilities. Meanwhile, the segment really has nothing to do with us. It just have to do with crappy lawyers violating a law that was made for us.
E: No, but the way that they portrayed it kind of makes it seem like who cares about disabled people because–
K: No, I get that.
E: — we’re too busy taking care of business owners.
K: I understand that. I understand that. It could have been done better, but–
E: A lot better.
K: Sure. A lot better, fine. Yes, but it’s still has nothing to do with actual disabled people. It has everything to do with the ADA. It doesn’t need us. It has to do with its flaws, of which there are some, but
whatever. We can wait to it.
The point is that this is just one of many examples where we, as a community, need to really get together and sort of define what it is that we want. Disability is unique. We don’t really have a head, a leader or even clear goals on what we want. We can’t even agree on those. We are barely a community, to be honest, and yet… no, you made a face.
E: No, I’m making a face because I’m contemplating how we’re talking about we’re trying to build a better community. I think maybe we
need to be building a community.
K: That’s the thing, because we isn’t really one. You think about every other kind of social movement. All of them have some unification
somewhere into some degree, right? Think about it. Not disability. We don’t. We can’t even define what a disability is to each other. Forget what the law says, forget defining it legally. We can’t even agree on whose disabled? Where do you draw the line? If I know–
E: Right, but… okay. But, going back to the ADA, so there is clarification as to what is considered as disability, but–
K: No, it’s not–
E: But, we all have our own opinions.
K: Exactly.
E: Some people are not disabled enough.
K: Color blindness is a disability under the ADA. It should be because the… any law, in my opinion, for something as vague as disability should be worded such that it’s as broad as possible and thereby
inclusive as possible. I don’t care that legally color blindness is a disability, but to a disabled person, like Emily or I, would colorblindness be a disability? I don’t care, but somebody might.
Somebody might say, “If you’re able body and the only thing wrong with you is you’re color blind, then you’re not really disabled.” Some people might say, “You can have any disability and if you don’t identify us a person with disability then, you’re not disabled.” I mean, it’s so vague. We can’t even agree on what being disabled means while we… to each other about how things should be.
E: Yes. You know what? It’s frustrating.
K: Yes.
E: So tired of sugar coating things. Oh my goodness, but I think we have not yet gotten into a point where we as a community, I guess
community with air quotes can actually sit down and reasonably discuss disagreements over how certain things are represented or portrayed in our responses to them. If we don’t have a unified front, which I mean, I don’t know how you’re going to get 56 million Americans to have a unified front anyway. Then, it’s really difficult to get people to adhere a lot, to adhere to etiquette to understand and accept us better.
I hate saying this because it bothers me, because you should just not be a bad person and understand and accept that everyone has differences and needs access, but I also have sort of accepted that that’s the harsh reality that we’re in.
K: Yes, but I mean… okay. Take your 56 million example, right? What is that based off? That is based off of census data, right?
E: Mm-hmm.
K: Mm-hmm? It’s not based off of, “Do you call yourself a person with
a disability?”
E: Yes, I mean the census is in there to dive deep into questions of identity. It’s there for you to check boxes.
K: Yes, you’re right. That’s my point. Now, if out of those 56 million people, those people that we love to brag. There’s so many. We’re
the world’s largest minority guys. We did it. If half of those don’t like to call themselves disabled, then in our world, in our little community, they’d be ostracized. Now, we don’t even know how many do that.
There’s no way to tell because: A, we can’t find them and how labor intensive would that be to knock on all their doors and ask them anyway. You know what I mean?
E: That how the census is used to be done.
K: I know, but I mean… so what? Have they mailed it to your house? But, I’m saying, I’m going to assume that all 56 million voluntarily
disclose that information. I don’t know how it works, but assuming that they do, assuming that they all do live under this unifying umbrella of calling themselves disabled, now what? Okay, so now, we’re all disabled. We still can’t agree on anything and we do–
E: Let alone terminology for how to refer to our [0:21:05 inaudible]–
K: That’s the thing, yes. We can’t even agree on how to call ourselves. We get mad at people who say, person with a disability versus a
disabled person. We get angry of people who say special needs. We get angry of people who say, “Oh, I’m not disabled. I just have cerebral palsy.” We get angry at all those people. Meanwhile, all it does is cause infighting and the able-bodied world that we need to convince that we matter about doesn’t even hear that. If they even look in our direction, all they’re going to hear is… moaning about nothing that they even know about. I don’t know. I really don’t know how to proceed because we got to grow up, man. We do.
E: Yes. I think in many ways I was on that particular boat of the infighting when it came to language, and identity, and things like
that. Then, I finally realized I need to ease up on that in some respects as long as we can respect one another’s different language usages, but…
K: That’s exactly how I feel by the way. I don’t care how you refer to yourself as long as you’re not going to tell me how I should.
E: Right.
K: Just tell me how to call you and I’ll tell you what to call me and
that’s it.
E: But, I always go back to the language example and moving beyond that… perfect example being this whole Anderson Copper thing, I
thought long and hard and I wrote something about it and… K: You put in the thing because it’s good. Who knows?
E: Thanks boo. There are people who very respectfully disagreed with my interpretation and my response, which then made me realize
that that’s what it’s all about. It’s about how disability colors or does not color your interpretation and response to0 the world around you. That is so deeply personal that I just don’t know that we’re ever going to find consensus on everything because we are so deeply entrenched in our views.
K: I don’t think we can. I don’t mean that in a self-defeating way, I really do mean that. When you talk about language, when I hear
people complaining about a person first, the identity first language, it makes me pull my hair out because I’m just like, “Is that really…” There’s so much wrong with the English language when it comes to disability and that’s what you want to fight over?
Another perfect example that I’ve given up on. Just so you know how long that I’ve been fighting this too. It’s the whole suffering thing. Suffering has two meanings and the second meaning is how we always hear in terms of disability. Suffers from cerebral palsy, suffers from Larsen syndrome, suffers from X, right? The second meaning of suffers from literally means to be affected by, but because nobody really knows that, what they hear is the negative use of suffering that we always use. “Oh, he suffered from a broken leg. Oh, having a broken leg sucks.”
It doesn’t matter that most people know or not know the technical second definition of the word suffer. Because the fact of the matter is, that word “suffer” denotes negative connotations, whether or not you mean them. It almost subconsciously plants the idea in your head that a disability is a bad thing. It’s in the way we talk. I’ve given up because it’s just not worth it.
E: See, I haven’t given up, but I also find that when I try to pick the smaller battles, be it needing a ramp instead of steps or maybe not saying wheelchair bound and confined to a wheelchairs and suffers
from a disability. To me, those feel like smaller battles, even though they’re huge. But, the reality is, we’re not passed those yet.
K: No, certainly not.
E: That’s why unlike some people who get angry at the fact that we’re still educating. I feel like if we don’t continue to educate, we’re
never going to get passed this phase.
K: Yes. I agree. I think that that is something, honestly, you could say it to any sort of social justice action, really. But, in our world, it’s a popular thing to say, “Oh, it’s not my job to educate you.” Okay,
isn’t it though?
I know what you think… what you’re actually saying is, you really should know more about me and my life. You should be more aware of the world around you and see that there are people not like you in it. That’s what you think you’re saying, when you say, “It’s not my job to educate you.”
But, I’m going to tell you that that’s not how you come off. You come off to somebody who’s holier than thou. You come off as like, “I know more than you. You should know more about my life. I shouldn’t have to tell you about my life.” That’s what you sound like. As well as you mean, as well meaning as you are, that’s exactly what they hear and that’s just going to fall on deaf ears, for lack of a better term. I just so disagree with that because I think education is the key to get passed all…
E: I’m so nervous about even touching this particular topic with the ten-foot pole, because I know there are so many people…
oftentimes the people who are the ones doing the work and writing and who are out there being activists and advocates who somehow comeback to the conclusion that it’s not their job to educate you, but also, they’re making it their jobs.
K: Yes, exactly. It’s a false dichotomy. You’re like… you’re right. I’m sorry. Let me back up. I get it because it’s not your job in the
moment, but if you call yourself an activist, and I don’t by the way for this exact reason. But, if your job is educating people on who you are and how you live your life as of the case of most disability activist, like how dare you say, “It’s not my job to educate you.” That’s literally what you do for a living.
You just don’t want to do it in the heat of the moment, in the middle of your day. I get that. I mean, you’re busy. You got stuff to do, but it is your job to educate the other people. I think that if you… if you can disagree. I’m not going to say like it’s an absolute thing, but I think that more education from the people that you’re trying to get your message through too can only lead to better things.
E: I also try to look at it not as the teacher but as the learner.
K: Absolutely.
E: Sometimes if someone doesn’t tell me something, how am I ever going to know? It’s not out of ignorance. Sometimes I just haven’t
learned a particular piece of information about a certain social justice movement.
K: In fact we asked that all the time when we do the show. When we don’t know something, we ask people to tell us if we can’t find it on
Google. We’ve done that before.
E: Yes. We just lived Google while we were doing the show because I don’t want to state false information.
K: Exactly.
E: I’m aware that I don’t know everything and despite being an activist, I cannot quote the ADA verbatim. Law and policy are not really my
things. I know enough to know what’s wrong and what’s violating the ADA, but I don’t know all of the very, very specific pieces of it. There are amazing people out there who do. I feel like, if those people are open to you turning to them to ask for the information, then that’s how we further things at the community.
Then, sometimes… again, coming out at from the perspective of a learner, I think about how I hesitate to ask certain questions because I don’t want it to come across as being ignorant or offensive, when in fact I’m trying to prevent myself from being ignorant.
K: But, you shouldn’t ever be afraid to ask a question. You just shouldn’t. The fact that you are is the exact point that this is all
about. If you’re trying to learn how to better yourself, then there should be nothing that is in your way of asking somebody who would know about what you’re asking how to better yourself.
E: I also think it’s in how you frame it though. I mean–
K: Absolutely. I mean… yes, but that just common sense. Depending on how you ask a question, you’re going to get a certain response from
the ask-ee.
E: There is a certain etiquette. You have to be careful not to tokenize people because now, coming back from the teaching perspective, I
feel like people tokenize me all the time. I’m like the token disabled person that can go to you and ask questions to.
K: Sure, absolutely. But then, I really don’t mind that. I’ve said that before. I do not mind that. I don’t…
E: I’m stuck in a circle about it. I don’t think I have a definitive pick on it because it’s really situation dependent, which is probably how
everything in the disability world is always at all times really situation dependent.
K: Yes, but I mean, how else will they going to learn? So what if I’m somebody’s token disabled friend. If–
E: Okay, but it depends.
K: How come?
E: Are they asking you in a straight up rude context like, “Dude, how do you have sex?” Or did they profess it with like, “I have a question
and I’m kind of curious. I hope that you don’t think that this is prying but–“
K: I don’t like that though. I know that’s weird. I would rather be asked bluntly.
E: You know what? You’re the wrong person to talk to about that.
K: No, I mean… I wouldn’t want like when I’m somewhere, if I’m at work or if I’m eating lunch. They will just come up to me and ask me
how I have sex, but like, if we’re talking, I hate that… I hate the, “Hey listen, I just wanted to know… look, I know that you’re different, okay? I just really wanted to ask you, can I just… listen, I just don’t know how to say…” Get on with it. Jesus… Christ.
E: We are not child friendly anymore. We gave that up.
K: I’m going to censor all that but, you know what I mean? Like, just ask your question, man. I realized that that’s weird. I get it. I’m very
odd in that respect. I understand that most people would sort of like a bit of decorum. I’m not saying be rude about it, but I would prefer bluntness.
E: Decorum is different that beating around the bush. I really think that there’s bluntness, there’s decorum, and there’s beating around the
K: I like the middle one. I do. I like… you’ll still be a jerk. It’s not that hard not to be a jerk.
E: It’s really about timing. It really is.
K: Yes.
E: Then again, back to being the learner perspective, I think about what you might consider an appropriate context or way of framing
the question might not feel appropriate to the person you’re asking it to.
K: Yes, but that’s just the risk you’re going to have to take. How would you know that? Unless you are taught that by the person you’re
E: Sure. Then, just goes back to the whole thing that I was saying earlier. Deeply personal, so personal.
K: Yes, but I mean… okay. If you’re… I know we’re not able-bodied, so this is purely speculation.
E: Wait, what?
K: I know, right? It’s weird, but–
E: Oh my god! This is must be why we’re doing this podcast.
K: But, I really… I try very often, all the time to put myself in the position of somebody who has no idea what it’s like to be disabled
because I’ve lost myself in this bubble where nearly everyone I know is disabled. It’s a bit of a luxury because when you’re in this world, you really don’t have to worry about explaining things because there’s this intrinsic knowledge of like “getting it.” Even though that’s all… and it’s personal and on an individualistic basis. But, I often wonder, how do you teach somebody who doesn’t have accessibility issues? Why accessibility is important? How do you do it?
I often think about this woman the we… I’m not going to say her name, but we both know her. Her mother was part of the committee that got curb cuts instituted in all of New York pre ADA. According to this woman, I’ll tell you who it is after you look in my closet babe. I’m not going to say her name on the show. But according to her, everyone was against it because who cares, but then, they framed it in such a way that it was like, “Oh, mothers with children in strollers can use the curb cut too. All of a sudden, that made sense. Like, “Oh, it’s not just for disabled people who cares about them, it’s for us too.“
E: No. See, that’s where I hit my limit because I don’t think that everything needs to be all about you in order for you to be right.
K: No, you’re right. You’re absolutely right. I’m not saying that. I’m not saying that. But, what I am saying is–
E: I know you’re not saying that, but that is what other people are essentially saying.
K: Right, but it doesn’t matter because they’re saying it and the most of the world is able-bodied. How do we work around them? How do
we convince them that we need things that they don’t?
E: That is so frustrating to me. See, because I don’t ever think that someone should have to walk in my shoes, nor should I have to walk
in theirs to treat them like a full and equal human being.
K: No, you shouldn’t, but the fact of the matter is, sometimes you need it. Like Dick Cheney, remember him? Evil detainee?
E: Uh-huh.
K: He was so anti-LGBT until his daughter came out, and all of a
sudden, he flipped.
E: Wait, what?
K: Yes. He stands on LGB–
E: What?
K: Yes, look it up. I swear to God. He stands on LGBT rights completely then in 180, when his daughter came out to him and all of a sudden, yes, he didn’t hate them anymore. Imagine that. Now, of course he shouldn’t have hated them to begin with, of course not, but hey…
E: No, I just live Google that.
K: It’s there, right?
E: I suppose it is. Yes, it is. Okay. I just learned the thing.
K: Of course, he should have been pro LGBT rights before in my opinion. Of course he should, but he wasn’t. Then, something
happened to him that forced him to take a really good look about why he fought that and that made him change his mind.
Now, I don’t know as disabled people… this is the question I post to you all. What can we do to reframe the mindset of the able-bodied majority of the world? Because we can be one in five, but the fact of the matter is, as large as we are, there’s still four and five that aren’t and that’s most by a huge margin. How do we–
E: Do you really have to say huge? K: Yes. Well, I’m from New York. E: A huge?
K: Actually, I usually–
E: Think huge.
K: — do say huge. I do say huge.
E: But you ever do an [0:37:31 homage] to Donald Trump on his pocket?
K: Look, okay. He’s from New York too. I’m not going to be…
E: Donald, will you please angry tweet us already?
K: Hey, I hate The Apprentice. I hated it before you are president. E: I’m not going to lie. I actually loved The Apprentice.
K: I like the scene where he was firing people, but I mean that’s why I never liked it. Anyway, my point is, how do you make people who
aren’t disabled care about disability issues? I don’t know, but I think- –
E: That’s essentially asking the question, how do you make people not suck?
K: No, it’s not because–
E: No, it is.
K: No. I think that most people don’t suck. I think that most people are just simply ignorant. I don’t mean lawfully ignorant. I mean
genuinely don’t know. I genuinely think that most people are so self- centered that they don’t think that are people different from them. I think that we need–
E: Do you not think that self-centered isn’t sucky?
K: Not really, no. No, I don’t. I mean, I don’t consider us self-centered, but I don’t think that if you only look out for yourself and your
family, that it makes you a terrible person. You know in the saying–
E: It’s not a terrible person, but it is a person who should be doing better.
K: No… yes, but I mean in the same… if you’re a multimillionaire, I’m not going to blame you for voting Republican. I mean maybe this
time, but not usually. I mean, I don’t think you should. E: Warren Buffet doesn’t agree with you.
K: I know, but he’s a good person. I’m not saying that every other person isn’t. I’m just saying that he believes what I believe, even as a multimillionaire, or he’s a billionaire actually. But my point is, I don’t
think it’s the worst thing in the world to put yourself first sometimes, but I do think it is bad when you willingly choose not to. I think lawful ignorance is a lot worse than ignorance. Everybody is ignorant about something. Everybody.
E: Yes. I think that a lot of people are ignorant because of a lack of education about disability.
K: That’s what I’m saying. I agree.
E: Yes, and so it kind of is up to us to educate if we want to… graded the world of that ignorance. That being said, if we’re going to go
back to the example of the whole Anderson Cooper thing, someone that established and someone who is reporting on a disability issue should actually have taken the time to do a better job of representing disability issues.
K: Sure.
E: It’s all about your platform too. If you’re a random business owner, maybe somehow you’re not educated on all the laws. I’m not saying
that’s really acceptable, but it could be your reality. But, if you are 60 Minutes and Anderson Cooper, and you have the resources and the researchers–
K: That you would have yet–
E: — doing the work for you, there’s no excuse.
K: No, you’re absolutely correct. It probably could have done better. E: Definitely could have done better.
K: You mentioned business owners, I’m not going to cut them some slack, because I swear to god, if you’re not up to code within 25
years… a 25-year grace period is a long time. That’s like– E: That’s our lifetime.
K: Yes, that’s ridiculous, okay? The fact that that got put in there is atrocious. It should have been half that at most. That’s absurd, but
having said that, accessibility costs money. If you’re a small business owner that can’t justify making your business accessible because of a small, tiny spike in consumer growth, what are you going to do?
E: I’m still going to go with no, that’s not really an excuse.
K: No, it’s not an excuse, but you’re not going to do until you’re forced
to though. Otherwise, it’s hurting you.
E: Right. Then, if you’re going to force someone into it, my hope would be, that you would try communication before you try you’re a
K: Yes, absolutely.
E: That’s where I think I lost some people in my conversation. Also, it doesn’t help that 60 Minutes entirely, grossly overstated the
amount of drive-by lawsuit as compared to lawsuits that legitimately need to be filed.
K: It doesn’t matter because even one of them is bad. Drive-by lawsuits are absurd. It gives–
E: Right.
K: — what drives by lawsuits you do is, it delegitimizes legitimate claims no matter how few and far between they are. Even if one in ten ADA
violation files is a false one, the other nine aren’t.
E: Right. I’m reporting on it in an unbalanced way, certainly doesn’t help our cost though.
K: Yes, but I’m not going to even… about that because it was supposed to… it was highlighting the frivolous ones. No matter how imbalance
it is. Of course it could… I’m not going to say, it should have been done better. Of course it should have. It was, still did. Yes. But the report wasn’t on frivolous persons, non-frivolous reportings of the violations of the ADA. It was strictly on drive-by lawsuits for ADA violations. That is the only slack I would give it. I’m glad that it got on 60 Minutes. I’m glad more people are aware of this issue.
Let me just back up a little bit. Everyone hates that person who takes pictures of license plates of the people who park in the accessible parking spots when they don’t have a plac. Everyone hates that person. I hate that person.
E: Are you kidding me? I would totally be that person.
K: Of course.
E: I’m not actually ever reported someone, but I take the picture. I get furious and then I just let the fury sit in my stomach.
K: Right, and you’re [0:43:40 inaudible] in your right to do that. Of course, I’m not blaming that lady or that man. It’s usually… I don’t
know why it’s just very typical old lady in my head doing that when I imagine that. But, you’re not going to blame that person for doing that, but it doesn’t matter because the entire world hates that person. They just do. No one likes that person. If–
E: See, but that’s one of those things, we’re like, it’s a little bit different than installing a ramp. That takes no effort to put it somewhere
K: No, you’re right, but the reason I’m making that point is because if… and there are people like it’s so riled up like, “How dare you take a
photo of my license plate? You don’t have anything better to do?” Everyone does that. Those are the people you have to teach.
If people get so angry at the person that just takes picture of your license plates, make sure you’re parking in a spot that’s meant for you, of which there are many. The only reason you’re parking in that one blue, it’s cut near to the store. How are you going to get the message through to that person that accessibility is a need for all? I think–
E: You’re basically saying… sorry to cut you off. I just want to make sure I understand.
K: No, go ahead.
E: You’re basically saying, how do you ensure that the jerk who’s parked in the blue lines or whose parking need says well parking
space without a placard can wrap their head around greater issues of accessibility like–
K: When they can’t even…
E: — a ramp.
K: Yes, when they can’t even wonder why somebody who’s actually disabled would need the spot more than them.
E: Yes, okay. I get that. Yes. It’s like you’re fighting a kind of an uphill battle.
K: I think a way to do it just out of thin air would be to realize that we’re all going to die someday and we’re all going to get old. We’re
all going to need probably a mobility aid somewhere in our life. We’re not going to be it, the prime time of our life physically forever.
I think that lots of people don’t want to think that, but it’s true. I think that if we all sort of realize that we’re all not going to be strong forever and that we might need wheelchair someday. Someday that jerk who parked in the spot when they didn’t need it is going to be 80 years old and might actually need it.
E: Can I tell a story that’s somehow related that only the cool people who listen to 43 minutes and 39 seconds are going to good to hear?
K: Yes.
E: Or whatever the timing is when you edit it. K: Yes.
E: The other day, I had just pulled into a parking spot in a really crowded shopping center, and then I was with my parents. We
we’re sitting in a blue lines having a conversation. My mom was a little bit over in the other parking spot. We saw someone waiting to turn in. We immediately moved out of the way because we were blocking the parking spot with our wheelchair. This guy in a yellow jeep, not relevant to the story. I just thought it was cool. Pulled in, he parks and he get out and he says, “Thanks for moving. Not many people actually think I really need this spot.” He gets out of the car and you see he’s an amputee. I think I am relating this story in the sense that we’re all very quick to pass judgment on one another. That’s what makes it so difficult to advocate for anything in a unified sense.
K: You know what? That’s an excellent point. One that I’ve wished we’d covered before the 45-minute mark, but…
E: Would you like me to just record an intro? K: No. I…
E: Hey, I have a story for all of you.
K: You know what? I think that that’s a very, very excellent point because… I mean, I get it. I get it often enough. I mean, you don’t,
because you–
E: The assumptions.
K: But I get it, yes. I accidentally get assumed to be abled-bodied all the time.
E: Yes. I really felt that guy’s pain in that moment.
K: Okay, but here’s a question. Believe me, this is just food for thought. Does an amputee need an accessible parking space more than you? I
don’t think so.
E: No. Sure, but the reality is that he has a legitimate reason.
K: Yes. I’m not saying he doesn’t have a right, but…
E: Also, just in that moment, having an exchange with him about how most people just see him from the top half and assume he’s taking a
spot that he doesn’t need makes me think about how often we make assumptions about people. Unrelated to anything, but when he got out of the car, mind you, it’s December, he was wearing shorts and a T-shirt. No jacket, no nothing warm. I said, “Holy crap! How are you wearing shorts?” He goes, “Only one leg gets cold.” He was just like a chill guy. That has nothing to do with anything.
K: Amputee humor.
E: You just have to give people a chance and treat them as people and
not be so quick to jump to judgment. K: I agree.
E: That’s my takeaway.
K: That’s why, we shouldn’t do it either because we don’t like it when
it’s on to us, which by the way is all the time. Why will we do it? E: We have to bleep up this episode.
K: Yes, but what gives us the right to do it? Seriously? Like the one thing that I don’t get after 46 minutes. I still don’t get it. We do that
as much and we pretend that we don’t. We pretend like we’re this morally better type of people and we’re not. We’re just as guilty as…
E: All right, but if you have discriminatory views, I’m going to judge you on those.
K: But we do.
E: No. I’m saying like, I am a judgmental person in a sense that if I don’t
want your views, I’m going to judge you on them or your behavior. K: You should.
E: But, I’m not going to judge your life situation or your needs without first knowing something about you.
K: Maybe.
E: I’m going to try really hard not to…
K: I’m saying you’re not because I know… no, no. I say maybe because there are invisible disabilities. If you saw somebody with an invisible
disability going to an accessible stall, you might think, “Huh! I needed that.”
E: Oh god, that’s a point of contention that–
K: But, you have no idea. That’s the thing. The fact that–
E: Exactly.
K: But the fact that it is a point of contention means that we all do it. That just means that we’re all people.
E: Oh god.
K: No, but I’m saying, that’s why we should–
E: I feel like we’re getting into another episode almost.
K: But, I’m just… we shouldn’t pretend like we’re morally superior just because we have–
E: Of course not. I don’t think I’m morally superior to anyone, except to Trump supporters and Donald Trump. I am very morally superior
to them.
K: In your opinion?
E: No.
K: And mine.
E: I know, no. That’s a fact.
K: There’s no such thing as object of morality man.
E: That’s a fact.
K: No, I agree. I’m not going to… like you. No, I absolutely… are you completely….
E: On that note, you have been listening to the Liberal Stall.
K: Liberal, really? Is that what you’d call us? That’s a bad word now.
E: Is it?
K: Yes, man.
E: You could have been listening to the Accepting Humans Stall.
K: There you go. We like people. We just want everyone to get along and be happy.
E: That’s a little too Kumbaya for me. K: What does even that mean?
E: The song, Kumbaya.
K: Yes, what does that mean?
E: I don’t know.
K: Who cares? Okay.
E: I mean, now dear listener, you must be wondering what Kumbaya means?
K: My final takeaway is, I think the disability community, as a whole, needs to be unified. I think that we have to start by really looking at
ourselves in all different disabilities and ability levels and really figure out what that means? Every other social justice movement throughout history pretty much like really has had a figure head or two or three. We don’t have many.
We have people who have broken ground. We have people who have made history, but we don’t really have a figure head that we can look up to and say, “Oh, you want to know what we want? You want to know what we represent? Go ask that guy.” We don’t have that.
I think we really do need that before we can even establish a sort of list of grievances. Because every disabled person would want different things based on the disability that they have and how it affects them. It’s very personal like Emily said before. It’s a very hard thing to do. It’s hard to figure out. I think that’s part of the reason why we don’t get anywhere.
I think another part of the reason is, is that we argue amongst each other and the people that need to hear what we say aren’t even aware that we’re saying it let alone listening. There you go. That’s been my final takeaway. This was another episode of The Accessible Stall, I’m Kyle. She’s Emily. She’s still Googling what Kumbaya means for some reason.
E: But I learned a thing. I’m learning lot of things.
K: What have you learned?
E: I learned that Kumbaya actually means, come by here.
K: Cool. Anyway–
E: It was like an appeal to God. Thanks Wikipedia. I’m still probably not going to donate, but thanks.
K: I have donated. You should too. That’s the reason you passed high school and probably half of college. Anyway, so goodnight
everybody. E: Goodnight.
K: Bye.
E: Wait, goodnight? What if someone listening to this that like 11
o’clock in the morning? K: Good morning.
E: Have a wonderful day or a wonderful night or whatever time it may be. It’s 5 o’clock somewhere.
K: Or, you know what? If you want a beautiful day, have an okay day. E: Yes, or a terrible one.
K: Who are we to tell you what to have?
E: Yes, or judge. We can’t do any of that.
K: Exactly.
E: Anyway, thanks for listening. K: See you later.
E: Bye.
K: Bye.