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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: <>
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

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
Enroll now for my online CSS course!             http://www.kynn.com/+css
Received on Saturday, 2 January 1999 20:11:43 UTC

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