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RE: Washington Post editoral: Claims Against Common Sense

From: Craig Wilson <cwilson@slip.net>
Date: Tue, 17 Nov 1998 11:24:38 -0800
To: w3c-wai-ig@w3.org
Message-Id: <E0zfqjO-0001Me-00@mole.slip.net>
Here's a letter to the ditor I just sent to the Post. There's so much that
could be said, but I tried to raise what I see as the issue around the
necessity ot including everyone in the community of dialogue that I think
the Web is.

To the editor:

William Raspberry's column "Claims Against Common Sense" is both
patronizing and off the mark.

How obnoxious is his "sympathy" for Randy Tamez, the visually handicapped
San Jose man who filed a complaint that he could not access transportation
schedule information from the Bay Area's Metropolitan Transportation
Commission Web site. But after all, says Raspberry, we already have
"something that works well for most of us, Web sites with lots of graphics,
sound, video clips and such that make it possible to provide useful
information in user-friendly ways." 

I seem to recall a time when America had a segregated school system that
was thought to "work well for most of us." The point then, as now with the
World Wide Web, was not making changes simply to redress the "unfairness"
or "inequality" of separate school systems (as important as that was and
is.) The significant social questions "equal opportunity" and "equal
access" raises are who is included in our society and who is not, who makes
the decisions and how those decisions are made.  In the case of computers
and the Internet, the question can also be framed as "who is the user to
whom user-friendly applies?" All of which goes far beyond how pretty Mr.
Raspberry thinks Web pages should be and whether he "sympathizes" or not
with someone who is visually impaired.
Received on Tuesday, 17 November 1998 14:24:23 UTC

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