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Posts Tagged ‘discrimination’

I did say this series would be irregular! You can find the first post in this series here. I will update this post with links to the other posts as I create them. You can also keep an eye on my list of series to see when posts get added to this series.

As is no doubt apparent from the title, this post addresses mobility accessibility on Sydney buses.

Signs in mobility accessible spaces

I’d like to start off by considering this sign:

Sign at wheelchair area on bus

Sydney Bus sign at the area designated for wheelchairs

There are three parts to the sign. At the top, there is a yellow sticker with dark writing that says 'For more information on travelling with wheelchairs, seniors and prams ... go to http://www.sydneybuses.info'. There are also three graphics: a stylised stick figure in a wheelchair; a stylised person wearing a dress with a jutting hip, cane and bag; a stylised pram.

Underneath that sticker, there is white writing directly on the glass. This says 'This area should be vacated by passengers when required for a wheelchair'.

Beneath that is a blue and white sticker. In the centre is a stick figure in a wheelchair. To the left, the writing: 'FOR SAFETY: wheelchair brakes must be applied while bus is in motion.' To the right, the writing: 'FOR SAFETY: wheelchairs must face the rear'.

I suspect the problems I see with this sign says a lot about Sydney Buses’ attitude towards people with different mobilities.

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Two articles in The Guardian today which bear some thinking about.

1. A study has been conducted which seems to suggest that if a child is abused, that child will do better in the long term if sie is removed from hir family and not returned.

That may well be what the study found. And the result certainly has the force of logic behind it: if a child is abused in a particular environment, the child will be better off not being in that environment.

However, (more…)

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A woman is suing a bus company which refused to take her wheelchair (and so would not transport her).

Gemma Namey, a solicitor with [Public Interest Advocacy Centre, which is representing the woman], said the case could have major implications. ”This is a first, we believe, as there has been no previous test to enforce the standard,” she said.

One to watch, for those of you interested in accessible public transport.

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At least, that is what this paragraph in this Guardian article would seem to suggest:

Another piece of good news is that the gel appeared to cause few if any side-effects, which is extremely important because it will be used by women who are healthy.

SRSLY?

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As I understand it, the rationale for the much discussed burqa ban (recently instituted in France, but also considered elsewhere, as the linked posts and many, many others discuss) is to prevent people hiding their faces because hiding one’s face while talking in person inhibits communication.

That’s as may be. I accept that it is slightly off-putting to speak to someone when you can’t see hir face and in a situation where you would normally be able to see hir face. But I have two points to make. First we do speak to people all the time without being able to see their faces – on the telephone. This has not exactly caused a breakdown in society.*

Secondly, if you are concerned that the wearing of the burqa reduces your ability to communicate, why is the rational reaction to say “well you can’t come and see me at all?” That is the reaction of one Conservative MP in the UK.

Then again, I suppose that party is not known for logical or rational reactions when it comes to prejudice.

* Although having said that, research published in 2004 by researchers at Cornell (I couldn’t find any link to the actual paper, but the names of the researchers are Hancock, Ritchie and Thom-Santelli) did show that people were more likely to lie over the telephone than face-to-face or in an email. Still, my point holds (ie: no breakdown in society), especially since it’s not necessarily clear why people are more likely to lie over the telephone – it could be due to the difference in the psychological effect of someone’s actual presence as well as simply eye contact.

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Dear salespeople

If you are serving a person who talks and walks a bit differently from most people, when sie hands over hir credit card to pay, the correct response is your usual one, ie “signature or PIN”. This is a standard presentation of options and, I’ve noticed, is usually said rather than asked.

It is not correct to ask: “are you able to sign?” Especially when it is said in a patronising tone (with implicit “dear” at the end).

It’s even more obvious that you’re being a douche when you go back to the usual presentation of options with the next person, whom you apparently judge to have no difficulties with working a pen.

The standard presentation of options works just as well for people who do have difficulties working a pen (or, more to the point, people who you might think have difficulties working a pen, based on your minutes-long acquaintance with them, all of which was spent discussing a pair of shoes). Give them some credit to be able to choose the appropriate option for them.

Most utterly sincerely,
Jo Tamar

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So says Dr Rex Simmons.

Well, that’s how I interpret the linked article, anyway.

I acknowledge that I haven’t read the study itself, and the newspaper article might be misrepresenting that study. However, I find some of the direct quotes from Dr Simmons somewhat, well, problematic.

Let’s take a look.

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