Closing the Gap between Disabled and Nondisabled

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Closing the Gap between Disabled and Nondisabled The democratic ideals that the United States were built upon are freedom and equality; it is in the Declaration of Independence, the Bill of Rights, and used as a defense when a person can think of nothing snappy to say (i.e. "It's a free country!"). However, while American culture is based on the notion that you have the power and ability to become anyone or achieve anything, it is painfully obvious to people with disabilities that government and the mainstream public has forgotten about their needs. While most nondisabled people do not need to depend on family or government for financial or medical assistance, people with disabilities are often denied jobs and opportunities, forcing them to become dependent on a family member or government assistance. It may be an unconscious factor for those who do not have a disability, to forget that others may need a special menu, table, or space. Simple things like a special bathroom stall or books on tape are on par with a more inclusive American culture, one that can help people with disabilities become more independent and free. Most of the problems people with disabilities face today stems from language and how they are considered to be separate from those who are able. Not only does this create the basis for oppression and discrimination for those who used to be considered ‘cripples,’ or ‘retards,’ but it also creates can create a confusion over a person’s identity as a person with disabilities. While legislation, corporate policies, and public places may be slowly changing to become more inclusive to those with disabilities, there are still certain aspects of the mainstream US culture that can mean nothing to a member of the... ... middle of paper ... ...who are able. As the language evolves and the activism becomes more developed and evident in mainstream culture and media, then there will be more and more advances in the future. The days in which Siamese Twins, the Elephant Man, and other people with disabilities who would be considered ‘freaks,’ ‘retarded,’ or ‘crippled’ and be immediately institutionalized or ostracized from people have mostly disappeared, leaving other battles, like the fight for an accessible urban environment, to be fought and won in later years. Works Cited Fielder, Leslie A. The Tyranny of the Normal. Gleeson, Brendan. Can Technology Overcome The Disabling City? Linton, Simi. Claiming Disability: Knowledge and Identity. New York: New York University Press, 1997 Marks, Deborah. Disability: Controversial debates and psychosocial perspectives. London: Routledge, 1999

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