Disability Discrimination Really Hurts

I’m sad and disappointed tonight. I feel like way too much is a fight and that the world simply doesn’t try hard enough to accommodate people with disabilities. We are more marginalized than any other group. That’s the truth whether people like it or not.

This post has updates on my job search, things at work, and Joe Biden falling down.

My Job Search

I was interested in three jobs. Now, I know I won’t be interviewed for any of them.

One job was to work for a governmental body on compliance with Title II of the Americans With disabilities Act. One of the things they listed as an “essential function” of the job was having a driver’s license. So, a job that is supposed to make things more accessible is something people with some disabilities can’t even apply for because they have a certain disability.

The other two jobs were in the audit and ombudsman field. In many ways, I was overqualified for both of them. I could understand if I ultimately didn’t get either job, but the reality that I wasn’t even given the chance to interview really sucks.

There are requirements, both written and unwritten, that People of Color and women should be interviewed if they meet minimum qualifications. I agree with that; the overt discrimination against People of Color and women is obviously wrong. But that kind of opportunity is never given to people with disabilities. The only time we get extra credit, and that’s not automatic, is if the job is in the field of disability. If it’s not our disability is always a negative. People will look for reasons not to hire us because most people are way more prejudice and intolerant than they will ever realize.

I know I’m luckier than many to have a job with the salary and benefits I have. I constantly remind myself that 70 to 75% of blind people don’t work. Those reminders don’t comfort me. They piss me off! There is no reason why blindness has to be so automatically disqualifying.

Now, I have to keep looking. I have to keep hoping something will come along and allow me to show what I can really do. But I know finding it won’t be easy and I’m sad about that.

Things that Happened at Work

When no one else at work works like you and the vast majority of people you work with don’t consider how you work, the reality that no one works like you, or how they could make things a little easier for you things can be very difficult. I had a lot of trouble feeling lonely and stressed this week. Sometimes, having to advocate and fight for so many things becomes a draining, hurtful experience.

Sometimes, I feel like I want to quit and go back on Social Security Disability. But I remember turning off the heat. I remember feeling my ability being wasted. Sometimes, I really want to hide and quit. But most of the time I know I can’t. I can’t do what many expect of me. I can’t make their lives easier by going away. I can’t fail myself and stop chasing my dream of someday having a position where I can truly show my talent. But weeks like this make me think about quitting a lot.

I share the below in the hope that someone will read it and wonder how they can be more helpful to those of us with disabilities. We don’t want your pity. We don’t want to inspire you. We simply want you to do your part to make the world more accessible to us and inclusive of us.

This week, we were told we were going to lose the ability to submit help tickets to our IT over email; instead, they wanted us to use an electronic portal. When I tried it, the portal had accessibility issues. I wound up exchanging several emails explaining the problem, why calling wasn’t a fair option, and more. By the end of the week, they set up an email for me to use. But I shouldn’t have to advocate simply to ask IT for the help they are required to provide. Someone should have considered me before I had to make an issue out of it.

Like most offices, we use Microsoft’s Teams a lot. While the office provides access to numerous training materials for mouse users, no training materials are provided for me. Since Teams, while possessing solid accessibility, is not as useable for a keyboard user as it is for a mouse user training can be pretty important. Add to it the reality that I can’t call IT and get technical support to learn how to do something, and I have to find my own training.

I found a very good training package that comes with software that makes Teams even more accessible. After getting the office to pay for it, I went to have the software installed. Then, I hit another roadblock. I needed to file an exceptions request so the software can be installed. And, of course, filing the exceptions request is also not accessible. So, I needed to contact someone to help me file the exceptions request. The people evaluating the exceptions request will be people knowing nothing about assistive technology. So, they will eventually approve it. But since the exception literally applies only to me and the software is obviously not malicious, I can’t understand why things must be so difficult.

That experience prompted me to file an official request under the Americans With Disabilities Act to get an admin password for my work computers. I have no idea how that will go, but I know it’s another process I must go through that someone who doesn’t have a disability doesn’t need to go through.

Also this week, I discovered the site I need to use to pay the mandated arts tax is inaccessible. Next week, I will have to report that to the appropriate people and see what could be done. It would be easier for me to get help paying the tax. But I can’t do it that way. If I don’t try to fix the problem, it won’t be fixed for others.

There is actually more, but this is going on too long.

Joe Biden’s Fall

Visitors to this website know I hate Joe Biden. But watching people mock his falling really pissed me off. Joe Biden’s ability to climb stairs has nothing to do with his ability to be president. It’s fine to question his mental fitness for the job, but when people go on about a fall, they are demonstrating how they feel about people with disabilities.

FDR couldn’t climb many stairs, but he is widely considered one of the two or three greatest presidents. When you think about mocking Joe Biden for nothing related to his job, think about how you’re also mocking people with physical disabilities, in particular people with mobility disabilities.

Agism, and ableism are sadly still acceptable. We have to do better people.

Conclusion

As usual, writing some of it down helped. I hope your week is going better than mine.

2 thoughts on “Disability Discrimination Really Hurts

  1. Jonathan, you really need to write a book, and contact news organizations. More people must be made aware of what is going on. Once you notify the public and our senators & reps, the sooner something can be done. It’s hard work, and it’s a long road, but it must be done. I wish you much success!

    1. I am not sure Congress cares. But I do think a nonfiction book could help. Thank you for the support.

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