Tuesday, December 18, 2018

Consider It: The ADA

Normally, this would be something that I'd mention in passing in a Friday Favorites post, since it's based on a video, but there are too many things I want to say about it, and I think that it deserves it's own post.

A while ago, I wrote about the Divided States of Women (here) - a show created by Liz Plank where each episode addressed a different topic facing women at the time. She's back now with another show - Consider It. This time, she and her co-host, political consultant Shermichael Singleton, discuss issues dividing the nation.
I've always loved that Liz includes disability rights along with all of the other topics she covers. It sounds obvious, but disability issues are still often not covered or considered along with other human rights/equality issues. In the most recent episode of the show, the topic they consider is the Americans with Disabilities Act, and whether it's still effective.

I also love that no matter what topic Liz is covering, she makes sure to include people actually affected by the issue in her conversation. So in the episode about the ADA, Liz starts out by talking to Emily Ladau, a well-known disability activist.

Emily made SO MANY points in this episode that mirrored my exact thoughts. I kept nodding at the screen and saying "Yes! Exactly!" If anyone had seen me, I'm sure they would have been so confused. Emily talked about how the ADA didn't have "enough teeth" - there is no one to enforce it. Liz made maybe my favorite analogy ever, comparing it to decaf coffee - "it tastes good, but then what?" They talked about how great it would be to be able to just go out without having to plan every step of the process ahead of time, and the stigma around disability to society and the weird things that people say to Emily when she's out and about.

Later on, actor/comedian/activist Maysoon Zayid joins the conversation, and talks about how it's absurd that all of the responsibility of the ADA is placed on the person with a disability. They also talk about the lawsuits that are sometimes filed against inaccessible businesses, and how sometimes, many are filed by the same person. And here, Maysoon makes one of the arguments that I make all the time - just because they were filed by one person doesn't make them any less valid. She goes on to say that if she had the time, she'd do the same thing - go to every place she might ever want to live/work/visit and sue them if they weren't accessible. This may sound harsh, but you have to remember - the ADA has been around for over 20 years. It's federal law! Places that remain inaccessible are choosing to ignore the law, and are telling people with disabilities that they don't matter.

The episode is really well done, and I highly recommend that you check it out. You can watch the ADA episode here.

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