Friday, May 17, 2024

The Unintended Consequences of Cripple Awareness Campaigns

 I still assume that maybe it’s safe for me to wear  a red shirt when I shop at Target, because I ‘m crippled. But I’m not so sure anymore.

If there’s anybody out there who has never shopped at Target, you need to know that all of their employees wear red shirts. Thus, if you wear a red shirt to Target, it’s quite likely that another shopper will flag you down and ask you where they can find motor oil or yogurt or whatever. The most foolproof strategy for avoiding this annoyance is to never wear a red shirt when you go to Target.

But I always thought that wearing a red shirt would be no problem for me because even more conspicuous than my red shirt would be the motorized wheelchair I’m always sitting in. I figured that that would cancel out my red shirt because most people would see it and think that cripples aren’t capable of doing anything as lofty as working at Target. So I must just be some random crippled  old man whose nurse put a red shirt on him this morning.

But the last time I went to Target I went to the men’s department and there were various pictures posted around that featured young men smiling big and really enjoying their lives while wearing the items of menswear that were for sale. And one of those young men was in a wheelchair.

That means that Target is trying to convey the message that cripples are people, too. And if enough people who shop at Target come to believe, as a result of this cripple awareness campaign, that cripples are people, too, then they might also come to believe that therefore, cripples must also be capable of working at Target.

And if that happens, I’ll probably have to  think about whether or not I might end up at Target, before I put on a red shirt.

Sometimes cripple awareness campaigns have unintended consequences.

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