language in action

For some reason I hadn't latched onto "Web Accessibility Benefits People
With and Without Disabilities" as a "cause celebre" and it calls attention
to what our goals are: Web4All.

Some of the language tends to play to our stereotyping of PWD and "elders";
e.g. "Yet the accessibility provisions that make the Web accessible also
benefit older people with diminishing abilities." Of course everybody's
abilities are diminishing and particularizing "older people" in some sense
contributes to marginalization/exclusion. It has always plagued society that
we attend to differences so much. Even today women are separated (but not
equalized) *because* they are too ___________ (emotional/weak or some
pejorative or other). This is an area where we could improve things by what
words we use.

That I have gotten to a condition of visual ability that precludes my even
seeing the text when the color contrast is too low should not be seen as
something inherent in me (although it is a condition I share with many), but
as a responsibility for provision of inclusion by authors, and more
importantly, authoring tools. In a sense, by promulgating the attitudes
towards "others" through focusing on their "disabilities" we risk
maintaining systems of separation amongst us all.

The point I keep harping on is that exclusion, through incarceration (think
"nursing home"), or simple shunning (and even ridicule) is perpetuated
through the language we use to label one another. Hence my subscription to
the first quote above.


Received on Friday, 1 May 2009 10:28:34 UTC