Friday, March 27, 2015

Let's Be Complainers

Nobody actually likes a complainer, even when they're right. That's one reason why relatively few disabled people ever actually complain in a meaningful way.

We should never feel bad about making informal and formal complaints about poor accessibility or disability discrimination. Complaints are not lawsuits. I’m not suggesting they are pleasant, or that a business you file a complaint about will be totally cool with it. They’ll probably be offended and hurt. But later they may be a little embarrassed, and that’s a good thing. We need a little more shame and feelings of inadequacy in business and local governments when it comes to ADA compliance. In most cases, the worst thing that will happen if you file a complaint is that someone will get a stern but informative notice from the U.S. Department of Justice. The won't be fined or go to jail, and it may not solve the problem right away. But the Justice Department gets a better picture of compliance around the country, and ADA violators will know that they are noticed.

By all means, try to work it out person-to-person at first. Point people to the resources easily accessible online on how to make buildings more accessible, and how to accommodate workers with different kinds of disabilities.
If you run into people who have still never heard of the ADA, (theyre out there, believe me!), or who wildly misunderstand what it says, direct them to the easy-to-remember "
And if you dont get a reasonable response, go ahead and file a complaint, using the new, (this month!), Justice Department online complaint form.
Dont forget the customer review” option. There are at least two online databases where you can rate the accessibility and responsiveness of any business that can be mapped. Try one or both of these two sites:
I feel very strongly that ableism wont go away on its own, through everyone becoming more aware. We have to make it go away, and we have the legal and informal tools to do it. The only thing really holding us back, I think, is our own hesitation. So lets all quit complaining, and start filing actual complaints.


Photo Of The Day

Vintage, sepia tone photo of a young man in an old-style wheelchair, wearing a suit and holding a cane and bowler hat
I love vintage disability photos!