Disability as a Social Problem
Physical disability is a social problem. Variety of people experience daily different emotions of satisfaction, happiness, joy, distress etc. Our feelings are mostly determined by our social position, surrounding, privileges, inequality, and other factors. Personally, I many times have experienced some similar inconveniences that disabled people might encounter in their lives. My everyday rout to the campus and inside of it seemed quite simple and easy available. However, it became a very dangerous and complicated one when I used a huge rolling suitcase. Consequently, this way appeared to be a challenging journey for people with some physical disabilities. Thus, one should admit that disability is a key aspect of inequality, because such people are different and cannot always adapt to the circumstances of life.
My daily way to the campus started from my home on Lindel Blvd. Actually, I had to change it because of the heavy rolling suitcase. Moreover, it was necessary to begin my day earlier than usually since I was not ready to all those challenges I had to encounter. For instance, I could not use a public place for crossing the street because of high stairs without a ramp. Honestly, it was a serious challenge for me to reach Grand Blvd Street without additional assistance since it was quite complicated to carry the bag with one hand, holding it and watching the traffic at the same time. It seemed that I was invisible for big tracks and busses on the street. I felt almost helpless and confused. Furthermore, traditional morning coffee in the favorite caf? was impossible because I could not come inside with my suitcase through a narrow entrance door. I could not leave it outside either. However, it was not so problematic and complicated as a challenging journey in the campus. I noticed that the establishment was not very concerned with demands and needs of people with physical disabilities. Thus, I had to try several routs and doors in order to find the one quite suitable for the size of my outfit and staff. I checked the entire campus to find at least something arranged for people with special needs; however, it was not fixed appropriately.
I felt confused and very anxious about the way I had to behave in such situation. Eventually, I realized how disabled people feel themselves about the order in society and its barriers. The people without disabilities have limited the possibilities of those who use a wheelchair. I felt rejected and uncomfortable on the streets and in different public places. Consequently, I was totally exhausted until the end of the day. Furthermore, I injured and scraped my hands for several times and spoiled my clothes. Actually, a public bathroom in the campus was a real trial since the doors were too small for my heavy bag. Thus, for a person on a wheelchair would not be able to go there. Moreover, the location of the mirror in the bathroom is too high for such people, so they would notice only a tip of their head. A heavy suitcase made me loose my precious time and change the way.
A wheelchair leaves for people variety of limitations. Certainly, society can help them to overcome these issues but it does not take into consideration such problems. Everyday travel in public places is a real test with multiple challenges concerning limited possibilities: public transport, busses, undergrounds without ramps, public places, bathrooms, and stairs without additional arrangements for people with special needs. These limitations are associated with the aspect of domination as one of four practices of inequality (William Dugger M. 25). There are more citizens without physical disabilities who are dominant and privileged in our society. It concerns also the idea of discrimination. Thus, the persons on the wheelchairs are discriminated as well as those with racial, gender or sex issues. It is some kind of segregation, as a person on a wheelchair and with big suitcase cannot enter the place with the narrow entrance door. They cannot visit educational establishment either as if they are built only for people without physical disabilities. The practice of discrimination is institutionalized by modern social affairs, which reject people with disabilities. Besides, the issues of inequality in the aspect of racial, sex, gender or intercultural relations are more socially accepted and regulated. The citizens try to resist any kind of its manifestation. However, inequality concerning disabled people is hidden, and they face social predation every day. It stands between some exaggerated compassion and negligence. In other words, it is an organized social predation. William M. Dugger, however, distinguished two main statuses in the society – victims and beneficiaries (27). Concerning his division it is possible to confirm that disabled people are discriminated, predated and suffer from domination of non-disabled one as well as other minorities in the society.
My experiment with the suitcase was a challenging and demanding trial, which confirmed an unequal position of impaired people in the society. I could not assimilate to the circumstances on the street and in the campus. The doors, stairs, narrow entrances, public places, bathrooms, cafes, pavements and public transport were not comfortable and safe for people with physical disabilities. My huge rolling suitcase made me change my way for several times, and I spent much time to find an appropriate way with my burden. Undoubtedly, I felt distress, afraid, disappointed and injured because of the social indifference toward disabled people. Even though these people are limited in their moving possibilities, they also suffer greatly from social discrimination, domination, and predation. The experiment has strikingly illustrated that physical disabilities were a key aspect of inequality.
Dugger, William M. Inequality. Westport, Conn., Greenwood Press, 1996.