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(unknown charset) Response to Editorial (fwd)

From: (unknown charset) Kelly Ford <kford@teleport.com>
Date: Mon, 23 Nov 1998 18:12:07 -0800 (PST)
To: (unknown charset) "w3c-wai-ig@w3.org" <w3c-wai-ig@w3.org>
Message-ID: <Pine.GSO.4.02A.9811231811170.11085-100000@user2.teleport.com>

The following is forwarded with the permission of the author.



---------- Forwarded message ----------
Date: Mon, 23 Nov 1998 16:10:47 -0800
From: Randy Tamez <r_tamez@pacbell.net>
To: kford@mail.teleport.com
Subject: Response to Editorial

Hello,

My name is Randy Tamez and below is my response to Mr. Raspberry's editorial
about my complaint for access to the Internet.
This response was sent to the editor yesterday.  I am not sure if it will get
printed.


Thanks,

Randy


Response to Common Sense/Blind Surfing:


Mr. Raspberry:

I came across your recent editorial citing my complaint against the way most
Web-sites provide access for people with disabilities.

I am trying to understand your frustration and resentment of people who have
disabilities.  I do not resent people who can drive, see, or climb mountains. 
We all have differences and these should be embraced.  What I do resent is
being locked out of any public facility when my fellow citizens are allowed the
freedom to enter and exit at will.  Of course, we all enter facilities
differently, some use a wheelchair, crutches, stroller, service animal, or
technology.  The technology is here today to provide ease of access to the
Internet and Web-site design.  Therefore, no reason exists to lock me and
others out of this wonderful medium.  

Mr. Raspberry, I would ask and challenge you to become blind for one week. 
This can be done with special eyewear.  During this challenge, all of your
daily activities would be conducted as a person with a visual disability.  This
includes working, driving, eating, reading documents, locating facilities and
locations, and surfing the Internet.  Perhaps doing this may provide you with
an education as to how people with disabilities conduct their daily lives. 
This may also change your anger toward a class of people who are not part of
the power structure and must rely on the government for change.  After
conducting this exercise, your readers would be most anxious to read about your
experience.

Martin Luther King Jr. made statements in his “Letter from a Birmingham Jail”
which applies in the situation with access.

Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. We are caught in an
inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. …
Whatever effects one directly, effects all indirectly. …   Lamentably, it is an
historical fact that privileged groups seldom give up their privileges
voluntarily. … Individuals may see the when you suddenly find your tongue
twisted and your speech stammering as you seek to explain to your six-year-old
daughter why she can't go to the public amusement park that has just been
advertised on television, and see tears welling up in her eyes when she is told
that Funtown is closed to colored children, and see ominous clouds of
inferiority beginning to form in her little mental sky, and see her beginning
to distort her personality by developing an unconscious bitterness toward white
people.


Mr. Raspberry, have we not learned anything about segregation and the damage it
does to one’s self image?  By your proposal that people with disabilities use a
van rather then the public bus, people use the telephone rather then the
Internet, sit at predesignated seats at restaurants, this is segregation and
denying citizens equal access to programs, services, and facilities that are
afforded to people without disabilities.  This has the sting of
discrimination.  Your proposal has the distinct ring of “Separate but Equal”. 
Prior to the Civil Rights Act of 1964, this was the case in society.  However,
separate was the reality and equal was an illusion.  The technology is here
today that can ensure people like me full access to the benefits and
information the Internet has to offer.  I ask you to reexamine your position
toward people with disabilities.  A disability can happen to anyone at any
time.  There is nothing I can do about my disability, but technology can assist
with the improvement of our lives.  It is obvious that the biggest obstacle to
access is the attitudinal barrier.


Randy Tamez
Received on Monday, 23 November 1998 21:13:25 GMT

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