Who made the law?

Adrian Howard adrianh at quietstars.com
Sat Sep 1 09:48:36 BST 2012

On 31 Aug 2012, at 19:10, David Cantrell <david at cantrell.org.uk> wrote:

> You're worried about the opinions of those who assume that because a
> person looks like or has a similar background to another person they
> must therefore behave the same as that other person?
> This is like saying that women walking home at night should carry
> placards saying "I'm not a prostitute" just because some dumb bastards
> might think that because some women who are out on the street at night
> are hookers they all are.

I don't think it is saying anything like that. 

Let me give a story from a different domain to illustrate the kind of thing that I think these statements do.

My partner has spent a large chunk of the last five years in a wheelchair or on crutches and unable to cope with stairs. In theory, after the DDA went into law in 2010, she should have had pretty good access to goods and services.

In many cases it's completely fine. 

In many other cases there are minor problems, however well intentioned the people are, that make the experience a minor annoyance or embarrassment. 

Very occasionally you meet people or organisations that are complete and utter f**king asshats. Those experiences are relatively rare compared to the mediocre/good ones (although still far too common) - but they stand out because they cause a huge amount of hassle and emotional pain.

Sometimes, often even, we have the energy and enthusiasm to deal with the latter two categories in appropriate ways. 

But sometimes you just want to have a nice day out somewhere new and know that you're not going to have any problems.

We understand completely that not all hotels are evil. We know from experience that most hotels are going to give a good, or at worst mediocre, experience.

But if a hotel has a statement about disabled access, has photos of the lobby that include somebody in a wheelchair, and obviously understands how wheelchair access works on the notes about getting to the hotel - guess which one we're more likely to pick.

These statements are a sign on the door that says everybody welcome. They remove the question from peoples heads on whether they will be welcome or not. Removing that question can have a big effect since people are not choosing between an event and nothing - they're choosing between competing events. 


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