Wednesday, May 16, 2012

What it takes to level the playing field: handicapped parking and affirmative action

I recall actually wondering to myself, “Why am I penalized by having to walk farther from where I can find a parking space to the mall entrance, just because I am not handicapped? Here are five empty spaces, why can’t I park in one if they’re not even being used?” It challenged me to stop and think through the idea, after which I chided myself, for ever having “thunk such thoughts” (although, the rigor did result in graduating to better thoughts).

Equality (think “balance”) is about everyone having an equal chance. It is not about guaranteeing equal results, but that one’s chances for success are equally-accessible. It recognizes that society has evolved with success geared towards the normative (whatever that may be, rightly or mightly) and that, as such, anyone who is not within the normative group (often through no “fault” of their own) will have a more difficult time accessing resources.