Recently, as I was waiting to board a plane, I heard the gate agent make the following announcement: "If you have a disability and need assistance, please come to the podium at this time." I had never heard the boarding announcement stated in quite this way before, which seemed to require individuals to declare that they had a disability in order to board the plane earlier than other passengers. It sounded so odd to me and I wondered why the airline felt comfortable placing the requirement in the form of a disability. Surely, they would never have said, "If you are black.. or if you are a woman, if you are gay," or "If you are elderly", even though the elderly often need boarding assistance. Why, I wondered, did they believe it was acceptable to label someone as disabled? I wanted to go to the podium to express my concern, but as Paul Miller (2007) has noted, I did not even have a vocabulary to express my displeasure. Unlike racism, sexism, homophobia, or ageism, there is no word to describe discriminatory attitudes based on disability. At the time, the best I could come up with was that the airline was being insensitive but that word felt wholly inadequate.
|Original language||English (US)|
|Title of host publication||Disability and Aging Discrimination|
|Subtitle of host publication||Perspectives in Law and Psychology|
|Publisher||Springer New York|
|Number of pages||21|
|State||Published - 2011|
ASJC Scopus subject areas