The Catbird Seat Analysis

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Examining The Discrimination of the Disabled Through An Analysis of David J. Birnbaum’s article “The Catbird Seat” In David Birnbaum’s “The Catbird Seat”, the author gives his readers his perspective of a handicapped person’s experiences (228). Birnbaum lost the use of this legs during a car accident and is now only able to move through the use of a wheelchair (Kirszner, Mandell 228). Although Birnbaum’s disability is physical, “Disabilities can manifest as a physical or cognitive issue, coming from a range of factors – genetics, accident, external circumstances, or advancing age”(Bowman 6); therefore, most people who have a disability are not born with it and in some situations a disability can be eliminated with medical treatment and surgeries…show more content…
One of the major crimes that Birnbaum got away with was smuggling Cuban cigars into the United States; the airport workers did not check Birnbaum as thoroughly as other flyers because he was in a wheelchair (229). However, as Birnbaum continued to commit crimes and take advantage of his disability, he encountered a woman who basically told Birnbaum that he was out of line when he cut off an elderly man from entering an elevator (230). This experience of Birnbaum’s informed him of the pecking order (230). According to Birnbaum, this is the pecking order: “Blind trumps wheelchair; wheelchair trumps pregnant; pregnant trumps old; old trumps whatever is left.” (230); in my opinion, Birnbaum’s description of societies pecking order is accurate. Birnbaum’s explanation of his behavior illustrates that the government has not provided enough respect of the disabled (228-230). Our society has become so lost in the idea of being “politically correct” that they have forgotten laws must be held to all people or the rest of the country could be in grave danger. Even if a person is disabled, they are still a person as we are, so they should not only…show more content…
The Disability Act promoted these behaviors by making it the law that the disabled be treated fairly. Therefore, people are not treating the disabled equally; people are treating the disabled differently because they feel it is politically correct. In Birnbaum’s case, a lot of people overlooked him when they considered someone committing a crime because there are always chances that the accuser could be prosecuted against for discrimination (228-230). In Toby Sieber’s “Disability Theory”, the author makes this statement, “The right to have rights, according to Hannah Arendt’s valuable formulation, bases human rights on the right to belong to a political community in which individuals are judged by their actions and opinion” (176); Sieber’s statement illustrates how every person’s actions should be judged equally and this is the definition of having rights. Problems occur when people emotionally react to situations rather than logically. As discussed before, Birnbaum’s smuggling of Cuban cigars into the U.S. was a result of airport official’s negligence to his capabilities (229). Though, not only was the airport officials negligent, Birnbaum was deceitful because he knew his action was against the law, but he still committed the crime (Birnbaum
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