I guess the proliferation of those big blue signs with the white wheelchair stick figure on them is supposed to be a sign of progress. It means cripples are welcome more and more. But I’ll really feel like we’re making progress when I see that same sign except with a slash through the white wheelchair stick figure, meaning cripples are not welcome.
Because it’s too bad those blue access signs are even necessary. But they are necessary because cripples eventually come to assume through life experience that we are unwelcome unless informed to the contrary. Exclusion is our default position. We often err on the side of avoidance. Before I go someplace I’ve never been before, like a restaurant or whatever, I feel the need to call ahead and ask a bunch of questions to make sure I can actually get in and around and all that.
But it’s funny that, as a white man, I’ve never felt that I need additional confirmation to reassure me that I’m welcome. I’ve never felt that I needed to see a sign that says WHITE MEN WELCOME, which is good because no such signs exist. They aren’t necessary because that would be to belabor the obvious. As a white man, my default is the opposite of what it is as a cripple. Before I go someplace I’ve never been before, like a restaurant or whatever, I never call ahead and ask if white men are welcome.
You never see NO SMOKING signs anymore for the same reason. They’re unnecessary. Everybody assumes everywhere is no smoking unless otherwise designated. But it used to be the opposite. Everybody assumed everywhere was okay for smoking unless otherwise designated so you saw NO SMOKING signs every day.
But things have changed so much that NO SMOKING signs are now obsolete. So wouldn’t it be cool if things changed so much that the blue sign with the white wheelchair stick figure was unnecessary and obsolete because everybody just assumed cripples were welcome everywhere? And wouldn’t it be cooler still if signs with a slash through the white wheelchair stick figure were necessary to serve as a warning because cripples being unwelcome was so out of the ordinary?Maybe someday.