“Yo, Is This Ableism?”

An interesting topic that I came across when writing my diary of systemic injustices was the topic of Ableism. Ableism is probably a very foreign word to most people, but that doesn’t negate its importance. Ableism is the discrimination against individuals with disabilities (physical, intellectual, and psychiatric) based on the belief that those with typical abilities are superior. The situation that I will be referring to throughout this piece involves Isabella, a college student who is legally blind, and her service dog, O’hara. Isabella attends Curry College in Massachusetts. She recently filed a lawsuit against the college for several different situations surrounding discrimination against her due to her disability. Some of those instances include not accommodating her with proper notes or assignments during classes (because of her visual impairment she needs notes/assignments printed in large text), not allowing her service dog to accompany her to certain classes or labs despite outfitting her with proper protection, not enforcing handicap parking violations, and not fixing damaged, unsafe sidewalks.

Now most people would probably think that those are all minor things that don’t really matter, and that is ableism to the T. For someone with a disability all of those things really matter. They can make your life extremely difficult – as if it isn’t already difficult enough, and I’m about to tell you why. First of all, individuals with visual impairments need thing in larger print because they cannot see. It puts Isabella at an extreme disadvantage if she cannot see her notes or assignments. It would take her longer to complete because she has to focus all of her time and energy on trying to figure out what the text says. Sure, she could make the text larger on her own, but it would probably take her more time to do that than it would the professor. She didn’t ask to be blind, but the professor signed up for their job, and in doing so they should take on the full responsibility of being a professor, which includes accommodating those that need it. Second of all, the college would not allow Isabella’s service dog, O’hara, to accompany her to labs. This is huge because O’hara is literally Isabella’s eyes. She keeps Isabella safe, which is extremely important in a lab setting. Sure, there are potential dangers associated with having a dog in the lab, however it’s just as dangerous to have Isabella in lab without her dog. Also, Isabella was taking the proper precautions to keep O’hara safe, including outfitting her in boots, a coat, and goggles. Third of all, Isabella noticed on several occasions that the college did not enforce handicapped parking violations. While this doesn’t apply to Isabella because she cannot drive, it is still a major way that we see ableism in action. Handicapped parking is there for a reason. Those without disabilities that choose to park in those spots are potentially putting many people at a disadvantage, and they are only thinking about themselves. The fact that the college was not ticketing those that broke the rule is only enabling them to do it again, and that is unacceptable. The last thing that Isabella brought up in her lawsuit was the damaged sidewalks on her college’s campus. This not only poses a risk for Isabella, who is visually impaired, but it also poses a risk to people in wheelchairs, or other mobility issues. If a sidewalk is heavily damaged with cracks and potholes, it becomes unsafe for people with disabilities to cross. As an alternative, many times they are forced to walk on the street which comes with many risks.

With all of this being said, it begs the question – are the situations being brought up in Isabella’s lawsuit considered ableism? I definitely think so. There would be extra work involved to fix many of the issues, however I feel like it’s justified. By not taking the time to make these small adjustments, you are implying that your life and time matters more that the person with a disability. It insinuates that they are an inconvenience, and no one deserves to feel that way.

I think that ableism manifests itself due to a laziness and a lack of understanding. Very few people actually have experience interacting with individuals with disabilities, therefore they don’t understand the extent of the struggles that they go through on a day to day basis. Living as a disabled person in a world that is made for an able-bodied person is hard. They overcome so many obstacles every day the least we, as able-bodied people, could do is accommodate them. An attitude of ableism also comes from laziness. “It’s too hard to make accommodations”, “I don’t have time to do it”, “they’re the one with a disability, so they should make the changes themselves”. It’s also the reason that people without handicapped tags park in handicapped spots when they are “just running in really quick”. People with disabilities are far from lazy. They have to work their butts off to overcome their physical limitations while navigating a world that wasn’t designed for them. If we put in half of the effort that they do, to accommodate them properly, then we wouldn’t have any issues.

So, how can you create a more inclusive environment for individuals with disabilities? Park farther away at a grocery store, and don’t use the handicapped restroom stall unless you are handicapped. When you hire a new employee with a disability ask them what you can do to accommodate them. Implement disability trainings as part of your employee curriculum. As a teacher, listen to your student with a disability’s requests. Be welcoming of service dogs and don’t distract them while they are working. As a government employee, fix the sidewalks in your town and make street crossings more disability friendly. Talk to your friends and family about ableism. Do your part, speak out, and make the World more inclusive for everyone.

 

“Yo is This…?” Podcast

David Winter, and I (Devon McClellan) chose to upload our video to YouTube for our podcast. We discussed our two most interesting DSI’s that we wrote about, and delved deeper into what made them so pertinent to what we’ve been talking about in class this semester. We each discussed two DSI’s in particular that we found, in which both of the situations were extremely sexist towards females, and we later discussed what could’ve been done differently for a more positive and favorable outcome for both parties.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v61ziiGJK_Y

 

Yo, Is This Sexism?

Xixiang: The phenomenon that women only occupy a small proportion of STEM fields has existed for decades. I think the opinion is divided over that if this is sexism. We can talk about this issue and analyze them deeply together today.

 

Haoxiang: Yeah, I also mentioned it in my Diary of Systemic Injustices. I found that some surveys indicate that, for STEM areas in America, the female worker only has 15% of the engineering workforce. The main reason behind this is women’s pregnancy will increase companies’ costs. Companies need to not only give them long-term maternity leave but also continue to pay their insurance fee. Meanwhile, during that time, companies need to find substitutes for them to remain the project in operation. Because of such concern, most companies in STEM fields prefer to recruit males. Do you think this is a kind of sexism?

 

Xixiang: I think we can’t deny that if the female workers in labor, it may cause the company to pay the higher cost to make her job done. However, I think that giving birth to the next generation should be the responsibility of all society, but not pushing this responsibility to just females. Also, we shouldn’t make them fall into a vulnerable group because of this irreplaceable contribution. Therefore, I think the case you mentioned should be classified into sexism.

 

Xixiang: I also noticed that some people hold the view that the amount of female students in the college who are studying the STEM major is significantly lower than the male students. Therefore, this naturally leads to the result that most of the STEM job positions are occupied by males. In other words, they think it is not caused by sexism, but just many female students didn’t choose STEM majors in college. What do you think?

 

Haoxiang: In my mind, the cause of this phenomenon is because many females know it is not easy for females to find a job in STEM fields which causes them to avoid STEM as their major in university. And I think it is a result of sexism. 

 

Haoxiang: However, there is another scenario. In general cases, males always have better physical strength than females, which makes males able to adapt to a high load working-environment. From that point, many people claim that the reason why many companies prefer to recruit males is that these companies only want to maximize their profits instead of having a bias on females. So they don’t think it is sexism.

 

Xixiang: I think I can’t agree with the people’s points you mentioned. Nowadays, most of the job positions in the STEM field don’t have a very high requirement for physical strength. For example, like software development, the most vital factor of brain power but not the physical strength. Therefore, although the average physical strength of the male may be stronger than the females, I don’t think hiring more male staff can help the company raise profit.

 

Xixiang: Following what I just say, some people also claim that the average level of the college degree of females is also lower than the males. Although we can say the difference of physical strength between males and females doesn’t count too much on today’s STEM working environment, in the field of brainpower, males still perform better than the females. Therefore, the reason why we see the company select more males than females is just that the male’s average education level is higher than the female’s. They don’t think it is sexism.

 

Haoxiang: It might be true that in the past decades males often have better performance than females because of educational differences. However, in recent years, some statistics reports show that the proportion of college-educated women has nearly matched that of men. However, as the proportion increases, the fact that it is difficult for women to find a job in STEM fields doesn’t get changed.

 

Xixiang: Yeah, from the discussion we just made, I think the phenomenon that male occupy much more workforce in STEM fields represent sexism. It reminds me of the class materials we have read in the first two weeks in this semester. As de Beauvoir says in her novel, “The Second Sex”, the male has always been on the more powerful side in the comparison with the female since ancient times. For instance, the male is referred to the Sun, but the female is referred to as the Moon. With the rise of the feminist movement in modern times, the status of the female has a significant promotion. However, the prejudice among females since the ancient age still exists in many people’s minds. The unfair treatment women faced in the STEM workplace can clearly represent this issue.

 

Haoxiang: Yeah, I totally agree with you. The reason why many people don’t think it is sexism is that they are a group of males who are Ones in our story. As de Beauvoir mentions in The Second Sex, “The other consciousness, the other ego, sets up a reciprocal claim”. Because males are not experienced in searching for a job as females, their point of view is different from females. They never have the dilemmas faced by females. The reciprocal claims against each other lead to that many males don’t think it is sexism but most females think it is.

 

Haoxiang: What’s more, decades ago, women’s rights had not been liberated totally before. The factors like educational differences and social prejudice against women’s work led most STEM jobs which require sophisticated skills to be occupied by males. And the sexism of it leads to the phenomenon that females are Othered in STEM fields. In order to solve the issue, in my mind, females also need to make efforts. Like de Beauvoir mentions in The Second Sex, “the Other is posed as such by the One in defining himself as the One. But if the Other is not to regain the status of being the One, he must be submissive enough to accept this alien point of view.”

Worries from A Profane Boy

A Profane Boy  Hi my name is Wu. I am calling to seek opinion for an issue that has been troubling me for months. Here is the thing. My girlfriend and I have been together for 2 years or so. We both have stable income and share a group of friends in this city that we now live in. So I think that we’ve come to the point to settle down and get married here.

My girlfriend is a Muslim. I knew that from our first date because she did not eat pork or drink alcohol. Other than that, there is nothing really special about her. And I am totally ok with that. I am not a big fan of pork anyway. And there are always some occasions where I can go out to the pub with some other friends.

So when I talked to her about my plan, to get married. My girlfriend told me that I need to convert to Islam and receive baptism, in order to marry her, according to the religious doctrine. Continue reading

The Secrets of a Country Club

Evan: Welcome back everyone. On today’s episode of “Yo, is this Racist” we will be hearing from a good friend of mine, Morgan, who will be sharing a scenario with us. Let’s hear more about what she has to say.

Morgan: Hey Evan! Thanks for having me today. The situation I wanted to discuss today has been taking place at my job. For the last few years, I have been working at a country club during my summer breaks. I have gotten to know who the majority of the families are and know who is a part of which friend group and who is not. There is one family that has adopted two African American little girls and they don’t come too often to the club. However, when they do come, many of the other little kids refuse to play with the little girls and oftentimes the parents do not interact with these parents. From what I have witnessed, I believe that these actions are racially motivated. What are your thoughts, Evan?

Evan: That is definitely an interesting situation and it seems as if this could be an example of racism. Before making any assumptions, let’s consult our definition of what racism is. The dictionary defines racism as “a belief or doctrine that inherent differences among the various human racial groups determine cultural or individual achievement, usually involving the idea that one’s own race is superior and has the right to dominate others or that a particular racial group is inferior to others”.

Morgan: Would you say that racism could be an example of Othering?

Evan: Would you remind me what it means to be the Other again?

Morgan: Yeah, I learned about the concept of the Other in my class. Basically, the Other is any person or group that is categorized as different from the One. The One is the person or group who distinguishes another individual as the Other based off of differences in power, wealth, race, among a variety of different factors. For example, I may set myself up as the One and categorize you as the Other based on different interests that we may have.

Evan: That’s an interesting claim. Based on your scenario given, I feel that not only are the African American children Othered by the other kids, but the parents are Othering the parents of these children as well.

Morgan: For sure. It is obvious that there are many injustices at play. For example, the country club operates on a prestigious level in recruiting new members. Any potential members must receive an invitation from a current member and then undergo an intense interview process. There is only one African American family that is a member at this club and they come only once a year.

Evan: Wow. That sounds intense and like there seems to be a particular status that the club and its members are looking for. Referring back to our definition of racism, we said that it involves the idea that one’s race is superior and has the right to dominate others of a particular racial group. Do you think that there is more to race that plays a role in who becomes a member at the club?

Morgan: Personally, I have come to believe that wealth and class have been the driving factors in how the country club has come to be. I think that perhaps race has just become another aspect that plays a role in the bias that the members seem to exemplify. Basically, I think many of the members have a perceived view of what an individual of high class and wealth should look and act like.

Evan: So you are saying that the key issues of wealth and class are the reasons for determining who gets invited in and why there seems to be injustices acted upon the family with the adopted African American little girls?

Morgan: Yes. I feel as if these factors are the key reasons for the bias against the other members.

Evan: Interesting take. I can definitely see what you are saying, and I too find it interesting that racism could potentially be fueled by other factors. I think that it is likely that these members associate wealth with a certain racial profile. That certainly does fit the definition of racism when it talks about “the idea that one’s own race has the right to dominate others of a particular racial group”.

Morgan: Mmhm. I think this is a never-ending cycle that will continue to persist at the country club. When the children of the members grow up to either inherit their parents’ membership or become a member of their own, I think that this bias will be engrained into who they believe a member of the club should look and be like.

Evan: Yeah, I could see how that could potentially be transmitted to the future generations at the club. I think your example is interesting in the fact that it could be representative of Hegel’s master-slave dynamic. The country club members may view themselves as the master and heavily relies on the slave, which is any member of a lower class, to validate the master and his status of wealth and class. However, I don’t see any example of having to “fight to the death” for either the master or slave here.

Morgan: Wow I did not think of just how many different ideals that this situation could fit into. Do you think that the wealth factor is the key to what is fueling the power relationships?

Evan: Most definitely. I especially think that when wealth is used in order to achieve a higher status or used to get what is desired, then the potential of power is directly correlated with the funds.

Morgan: So what do you think Evan, do you think that the scenario I described was representative of racial injustice?

Evan: After our discussion, I think that this situation resulted from the factors of social rank, wealth, and a bias of what an individual of these values should look and be like. Therefore, I do think that racial tendencies were present and fits the definition that we discussed earlier. The definition stated that racism was a “belief that inherent differences among various racial groups determine cultural or individual achievement.” In this case, I think that the achievement is the status of belonging to a country club and has the necessary funds to do so. You really do get to see first-hand how wealth can have such a widespread effect on others!

Morgan: Yeah I do! I couldn’t agree more. Thanks so much for having me and providing insight into what defines racism, further dissecting the concept of the Other, and seeing just how often these aspects can take place in our day to day life.

Yo Is This…

I’m Jordyn we’re going to talk about our systemic injustices today. This January Food Hall posted a dress code that discriminated largely against African-Americans the dress code restricted items such as saggy pants, flat billed hats, some types of tennis shoes, athletic wear. They did come out and apologize for a large part of the dress code and took a decent amount of it back. What are your thoughts on this? 

Okay so believe it or not I went to Food Hall with some buddies and I own a pair of timberlands. And they’re not real worky or nasty or anything and I walked in like, I was in line for like 10-15 minutes and i got there and the guy was like “hey buddy you can’t get in” and i was like what. It was still kinda wild because it’s like because of shoes you’re not going to let me in somewhere. Like I had shoes on there was no reason for me to not be able to enter the bar at all so I do agree that the dress code is you know completely out of whack. And if you do look at it I actually had for one of my weeks I wrote a systemic injustice about it too and I completely agree because the code included I think it said ill fitting or excessively baggy clothes, work boots, athletic clothing, jerseys, sagging of pants, excessive jewelry and stuff like that. And that does you know, tend to go towards a certain race and stuff like that simply isn’t right. I completely agree with you in that being an injustice. 

I have a lot of friends who have gotten in with ripped jeans, no issues, and then there are other people who get turned away. It’s just very inconsistent. Also the fact that you can’t wear flat billed hats but regular baseball caps that creates a very specific rule. 

Yeah that’s pretty crazy I actually did not know that but that’s definitely something that needs to be addressed and needs to go away, that’s for sure. Alright so I’ll talk about one of mine. So a couple weeks ago me and my girlfriend we went out to a regular dinner and we set down and at the end of the dinner the waiter went straight to me to hand me the bill. And i know it’s not anything incredible and you can say it’s just being a man or being a gentleman but why did he hand me the bill? What structure is put into place because this happens all the time and quite frequently generally I do take care of the bill but we have an agreement where she pays sometimes and I have to pay some other times. But 9 times out of 10 when i go to a restaurant they’re like, “here you go, here’s your bill.” And back in the day and what I wrote was back in the day women stayed at home and it was a man’s job to provide the income. But you know obviously this changed and in a good way and it shouldn’t be the responsibility for a man to pay the bill because both men and women should be treated equally. And I do understand that sometimes it is more of being a gentleman and stuff like that but in today’s society I think this is an old tradition that needs to be changed. What’s your thoughts? 

I agree I think that it’s not wrong if you do and it’s not wrong if you don’t but I think when both parties are bringing in the money. And back in the day only men worked and women didn’t have the income to pay and all that so i think it is important that it shouldn’t be all on the man. It should be considered that whoever is paying for it is paying fo r it because both parties are working. If women want equal rights in the workplace they should take equal responsibility for stuff like that. 

I completely agree with you. Alright i guess we’ll move along to another one of yours. 

So CelebrateOne is an organization in Columbus. They focus on decreasing the infant mortality rate. They have a list of high priority neighborhoods and they have found that African American infants have a mortality rate of 2.5 times that of a white baby. There are many factors that contribute to that but one of them is the overall lack of resources for new parents to raise their children. A lot of items in these high priority neighborhoods there are not a lot of grocery stores it’s a lot of gas stations that sell food and it’s like drug mart type places and the food is more expensive. So not only do they not have access to a lot of the stuff they have to pay a higher price and then they can’t get out of a poverty system. And a lot of the women don’t have access to birth control and what they need to provide for their kids and so it all just attributes to that. 

And are you saying that’s in like the area where the low income families are generally like the stores and stuff are generally higher priced than if i go say to Kroger in New Albany or something like that. 

They have generally said that it’s not like Kroger is more expensive there it’s more just like they don’t have it and so basically if you go to buy milk at CVS it’s going to be more expensive than if you do at Costco. 

Yeah I completely agree. Yeah I mean that definitely makes sense you know why these places aren’t in these areas is kinda concerning. It kinda looks at why? And you know they think “I’m not going to make as much money there” but that becomes a problem when you’re isolating areas from other areas based on income or race or anything becomes a problem. I completely agree that was a good one. Alright so I’ll move on to another one of mine and this was my main one this was what I wrote for our last week’s blog post and I was talking about the systemic injustice in our criminal justice system. And i think there is a lot but one i went into specifically is the money bail system. And essentially the thought process is that people have to pay a certain amount of money to get out of jail until their court date and then when you go back to your court date you get the money back. Well what happens if you can’t pay? If you think about it and you know what happens, you stay in jail. And this is highly impactful to the lower class people who simply can’t afford to make bail. Why is it right to say that a person who has money can get out of jail and then another person who doesn’t has to sit in jail until their court date? It is really targeting the lower class people. And I was looking into it, I have statistics but I’d have to pull them up. Generally if you are falsely accused of something (I forget the exact statistic) but there are people who are falsely accused for these crimes because you know until your court date you are innocent until proven guilty is what its called. And these people are innocent, sitting in jail, that could possibly be proved innocent so they just sat in jail for however much time for absolutely no reason. And I do think this is a major issue and upper class people are given a major advantage for having money in their pocket. I think a new system needs to be put into place that doesn’t focus on social classes determining being put in jail or not. 

I completely agree and I think even when bail is set at half a million dollars but you’re a multimillionaire you either have access to it or you have it in your bank account. Where it’s set at $100,000 for someone else most people don’t have that laying around and it does create a major injustice because you are supposed to be innocent until proven guilty but if you’re forced to be in jail you are basically being wrongfully accused it just isn’t fair. 

And I completely agree, let’s move on to another one of yours. 

So I actually was in a conversation with some people and we were talking about suburbs of Columbus and everything and there were some older people in the conversation and they were talking about an area that has become a little more run down and it was becoming more diverse and they were like “oh it’s time for wite flight” and that’s just not really acceptable in today’s society. I think that we are creating a more diverse culture and it shouldn’t be a term that we commonly use and it shouldn’t be a term that is viewed as positive. There shouldn’t be a need for it. 

Can you define white flight? I’ve actually never heard of it. 

It’s when an area becomes more diverse and then all the white people move. 

Really? Well that doesn’t sound right. I completely would agree with you and I think that phenomenon needs to be addressed. So it’s literally like a group of people a diverse culture are living together and then the caucasion just bounce from there leaving it strictly a minority area. 

Yeah. 

Yeah i definitely don’t see how that is right. WHy do you think that happens? Do you think it’s like a racial backing behind that? 

Yeah the term basically implies a racial issue like they want to be only around each other and that is what leads to it. 

Well interesting because i’ve honestly never heard of that term. That’s definitely something that i will look into after this conversation is over. Well thank you very much i will go ahead and move onto one of mine. 

Alright so me and my dad were having a conversation and my dad is kinda naive, the man he is. And I was like I do think there is still a decent wage gap between women and men that needs addressed. And he was like ya know today i think it’s not that bad. So I did some digging and I found out that he was completely wrong. So in just Ohio, I learned that Ohio has the 14th largest wage gap in the nation. In just Ohio women are paid $10,000 less than men on average. And you know, how is this right? Supposedly we live in a society that promotes gender equality yet there is still a $10,000 wage gap and it doesn’t really make much sense. Men in Ohio just for being a man are given a strong financial advantage just for being a man. 

I agree. And I also saw something recently that was saying how much the minority wage gap difference is. And it’s significantly lower as well than like a Caucasian male in the same position. 

Yeah so i think all these things need to be addressed and you hear so many things that “were promoting gender equality” and this and that and the other yet you know behind the scenes there is still this large wage gap that you don’t really hear too much about unless you do research on it. I definitely think that men are given an advantage in the workforce than women. I think people should get paid based on the job that you’ve done and their work ethic towards it. Gender and race should have nothing to do with the amount of money you do on the job. 

I agree. Well it was great hearing your thoughts on all of this. 

It was great hearing yours too.