Today, I did something I should never have done. Today, I looked up the keyword ‘wheelchair’ on Twitter.
Sound innocuous, right? Should just be the occasional stupid thing followed by a bunch of like-minded people discussing wheelchairs, right?
The first page was entirely animals in homemade chairs. Pretty cool designs. Really nifty for the “I love animals” crowd. Then, it was almost a page of tech surrounding wheelchairs. Prototypes, interesting chair designs, cars adapted for wheelchairs… that kind of thing.
I would argue for these kinds of posts existing. They are general knowledge, to an extent. That is not to argue how adorable that puppy is running for, in some cases, the first time in its life.
There was the standard frilly “you can do it” bullshit that seems to be everywhere when dealing with wheelchairs. I get the message, but the words do not fix anything. Plus, it places an unfair standard on those who will never be able to be what you think they should get over. These lines say nothing for those born with physical or mental disabilities…
Again, nice try. The intention is there, and though I personally get frustrated by such public displays, they do not harm anyone. I have never heard someone in a wheelchair get actually offended by these sentiments. Like always, feel free to prove me wrong in comments or whatever.
Then, there was a collection of updates that I was not mentally prepared for, and it corrupted everything I saw prior.
Update after update of companies announcing that they are finally wheelchair accessible. It was all like they wanted a pat on the back or some sort of award for recognizing people as people. It was incredibly hollow and self-serving. People in wheelchairs are, well, people. If you have to MAKE your location wheelchair accessible, you have to MAKE your store/company/whatever usable to a percent of the general public.
Yes, I realize that there in a silly small percent of people in wheelchairs. I will, however, point out that there is a large percent of people with mobility aids. Announcing that your building finally has accessible parking should not effect your bottom line, not having accessible parking should be hurting your bottom line. Finally catching up with the rest of society does not make for a good image. As stupid as it sounds, it’s the wheelchair COMMUNITY. If your place of business is not acceptably accessible, we do talk to one another. We will pass that information to friends, family, and neighbours. We don’t like being patronized, and we REALLY don’t like being singled out because of the wheelchair.
I might be putting my opinion as fact, I am well aware of that. This does not, however, mean that my opinion is only share by me. How many people remain silent because they do not have a soap-box to stand on, or legs to do so?