Discrimination versus Disability

Subject: Discrimination versus Disability
From: "Tom Johnson" <johnsont -at- starcutter -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Thu, 28 Mar 2002 11:56:03 -0500


Andrew said:
> Because it looks bad to be sitting down while presenting information. A
> presenter cannot effectively communicate with an audience when he/she is
> sitting down.

Bull pucky!

Maybe delivering a talk while sitting looks bad, but what about someone in a
wheel chair. Stephen Hawking comes to mind. I'd guess that if your
livelihood depended on public speaking and you found yourself in a wheel
chair you would find ways to communicate just as effectively as you could on
your feet.

For a person who stresses knowledge over presentation, I find your position
on this issue hard to accept. You often state that you have to get the
information right and the appearance is not as important. Now you're saying
that if the appearance is not right, it shouldn't be done.

> A company has a right to set requirements for a job. And when
> people fail to
> meet those requirements, those people should not be
> considered for the job.
>
> It is perfectly acceptable and normal for companies to do this. And they
> should. People who are unable to perform aspects of a job
> should not be considered for the job.

>
> I don't think its really fair to extend legitimite discrimmination
regarding
> race, sex, national origin, etc. to work requirements such as
> the ability to lift, stand, or travel.
>
> Andrew Plato

If a person cannot do the job, that is one thing. But, if you are basing a
persons ability on whether or not they can do it without some reasonable
accommodations, then maybe we need to look at it differently. I think we
really need to look at whether or not something is a requirement. Is
standing for a public speaker a requirement? Sure, it is nice to have. Sight
is a requirement for a pilot and should be used as a legitimate criteria. Is
sight a requirement for a technical writer? Sight offers advantages, but
there are blind technical writers. Now, if someone is bald, should you
discriminate because you want your public speakers to have a full head of
hair because they look more professional (or maybe it would be that you want
bald speakers because they look more mature). Standing is not necessary for
a public speaker. If a president of the United States can perform his duties
from a wheel chair, I would think that any public speaker could do their
job. If the job involves speaking from Mt. Everest, then standing would be a
requirement rather than a nicety.

I used to fly and I was pretty good at it. I even qualified for USAF Flight
School. I was in the Air Force Officer Training School and within 8 weeks of
flight training. Do you want to know why I'm not flying fighters right now?
Because a doctor who couldn't iron a shirt took a look at an X-ray and said
I wasn't qualified to fly because my legs are not quite the same length. I
could run three miles faster than 80 percent of the people in my squadron
and it does not affect my flying ability. But, a doctor made a judgment
based on some arbitrary criteria. It gave me a whole different perspective
on people's perceptions about disabilities. Oh well, I decided I really
didn't want to shoot at people anyway.

Tom Johnson
231-264-5661 voice
231-264-5663 fax

Work johnsont -at- starcutter -dot- com
Personal tjohnson -at- i2k -dot- com


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References:
Re: Ethical Companies (no flame wars, please): From: Andrew Plato

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