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Re: The second thing I don't like about the WAI-IG list

From: Kynn Bartlett <kynn-hwg@idyllmtn.com>
Date: Sat, 02 Jan 1999 17:07:43 -0800
Message-Id: <3.0.5.32.19990102170743.00802460@mail.idyllmtn.com>
To: "Charles F. Munat" <coder@acnet.net>
Cc: <w3c-wai-ig@w3.org>
At 06:46 p.m. 01/02/99 -0600, Charles F. Munat wrote:
>So do not underestimate the power of ethical or moral
>arguments. Nations have toppled over them.

I disagree.  Nobody cares about the disabled except perhaps as
objects of pity.  This is why we have laws requiring access to
public buildings, for example -- because nobody, out of the
goodness of their hearts, will just do it because it's "right".
People only care when they're forced to care.  [Insert analogy
here regarding forced integration in the South, BTW -- except
that I don't really want to go down that tangent, since I think
it's a poor chosen analogy.]

(Of course the above is over-stated; however, as a generalization
it's true for the majority of society.  If your view on ethics
and morality were right, then there would be _no_ barriers left
for the disabled to overcome, because the able-bodied would be
eagerly going out of their way to eliminate all obstacles.  This
isn't the case, because people aren't "ethical" and "moral.")

>Overall your argument seems cynical to me. Worse, you make
>"idealist" sound like a four-letter word. Idealism is what
>makes us most human. It is our greatest gift, that we can
>see beyond our immediate needs. To dismiss this as naive and
>to play--quite consciously--to selfishness seems to me to
>perhaps win the battle but lose the war. It is a price I,
>for one, am not willing to pay.

I think you misinterpreted what I said.  (Plus, in your third on
what you don't like, you referred to "human nature" anyway.)

>Sure, let's sing the praises of accessibility for all,
>disabled or not, but let us not forsake the high moral
>ground.

Why is accessibility for the blind on "higher moral ground" than
accessibility for the poor, accessibility for the users of non-
standard web browsers, or accessibility for international users?

I think you need to very carefully back up and reconsider why
you hold disabled users up on a pedestal they haven't necessarily
asked to be placed on, and are promoting their concerns as the
only "moral" ones we face.  _My_ moral high ground is "accessibility
for everyone" not "accessibility for anyone who isn't as physically
functional as the typical person."

The latter high ground sounds awful condescending -- but then, it
should be noted that I'm not a disabled person.


--
Kynn Bartlett  <kynn@idyllmtn.com>                   http://www.kynn.com/
Chief Technologist, Idyll Mountain Internet      http://www.idyllmtn.com/
Design an accessible web site:                http://www.kynn.com/+fedweb
Tell your friend a celebrity wrote to you:      http://www.kynn.com/+imdb
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Received on Saturday, 2 January 1999 20:11:43 GMT

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