The ragged edge has been my favorite reading for this class by a landslide. It does an excellent job in analyzing societal attitudes towards people with disabilities both be And after the ADA was passed. Unfortunately, many of the problems discussed have not been completely addressed or dealt with by the majority of society despite legislation such as the ADA. it is just like we have discussed in class that the law can only go so far as there is a social mandate for it.
I found it very interesting that in the essay The First Taste by Cass Irvin she describes a situation where it is not she, a polio survivor in a wheelchair, is discriminated against, it is her African-American friend. I find this interesting because although the first civil rights legislation did not address people with disabilities, in Irvin's experience blatant racism was the vehicle of discrimination as opposed to the more subtle discrimination she expected because of her disability. Yet, today there is much more social mandate for racial equality than for equality of access for people with disabilities. Given this example one would not think for this to be the case. However, it goes on to show how the disability rights movement is a minority civil rights movement despite many dissenters.
Another essay I thought resonates very well to this day was the one on disconfirmation by Bill Golfus where he goes into how people who acquire their disability become slowly unnoticed by all of the staunchest of friends and family. This is true even today since I experienced the phenomenon after becoming crippled when I was 14, and at first I had all sorts of well-wishers and visitors until I could tell who my true friends really were when I returned to high school a few months later. Another thing he talked about was how many providers of social services treat their clientele not as human beings, but simply as statistics. That is instead of working to truly help people, they spend time on testing people for different abilities and pigeonholing them into or excluding them from programs. This often done as a way of self validation for the social service workers who often times are just trying to make themselves feel if they are doing something good, when they are not doing anything at all. The problem with social services is in order to qualify for certain programs that must be some form of demonstrative behavior, which in turn keeps people with "invisible" disabilities out of the loop, which reinforces the stigma of people who are perceived as "faking it". In order to truly help such people changes must be made to the system.