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The ADA, Dirty Vulgar Word.
American Deafness and
Rehabilitation Association, April 15, 2011, 10:30 a.m.
>> FACILITATOR: Hello. And welcome. I would like to take a moment to
introduce our presenter. Heather Bise. She'll be giving a
presentation on the Americans with Disabilities Act, dirty
vulgar words. So, please welcome Heather Bise.
>> HEATHER BISE: Good morning, everybody. I wanted to give you all a
disclaimer. A bit of a warning here. I do plan to show a
video, from a television program, and there are quite a few
cuss words involved. So if you are easily offended, you may
want to step out of the room for a few minutes, for 10 or 15
minutes. But personally, just to let you know, I hate cuss
words and I do not cuss, but when I watched this video, it
was mind boggling and truly impacted me, in terms of how I
approach advocacy in my home area.
I was asked to stand up on the podium, but they had not
set the technology up for me on the podium. So, possibly, if
somebody could volunteer to hit the power point slides, so
that they would move through the progression. That's
part of ADA isn't it?
And the facilitator, is it possible to close that one door?
Because I don't want all the cuss words to filter out into the
hall. Because I've noticed there are lots of high school kids
in the lobby, a lot of them.
Okay. So fair warning: We will have a
media clip from a television program with quite a bit of
swearing. But the purpose is to show you the perception of
the Americans with Disabilities Act. Hearing people without
disabilities tend to view ADA as a dirty word. Every time they
hear the word ADA, they cringe.
Or, they think that somebody is going to be too aggressive
about the ADA. And I was really impacted by this, the do
people in the general population truly think that ADA is a
dirty word? So that's how I arrived at this presentation.
Two things that I hope that you realize before you leave
the room, is to gain a better understanding of how people
perceive people with a disability.
Hearing individuals and people in the general public see
people that are deaf with a disability. And they don't truly lie
understand the history of the Americans with Disabilities Act
and how how it evolved. Some of you may not agree with
this, however, I believe that the ADA is not truly a civil rights
movement. But it's truly a human rights effort.
In the past, the ADA was indeed a civil rights issue. But it
is now migrated more to a human rights issue and I'll
explain why that's the case.
You may be wondering how in the world that I came up
with this particular topic. ADA is a dirty word. It's a very
interesting topic to choose.
It just so happened that my Pandora's box, you may have
heard of the Pandora's box, was opened and I was
personally overwhelmed. I didn't realize there were so
many multiple perspectives of how people viewed the ADA.
Once that box opened, it overwhelmed me. And I truly had
emotional issues with those perceptions.
I couldn't believe that people perceived the ADA in the way
that they truly did, and it truly touched me as a person. Next
Just so happened that I went to an ADA conference in
Colorado. There was a man there by the name of Aaron
Mack gall, and he showed this video clip and it's the same
clip that I'm going to show you with all of the swearing. But,
should I stay or should I leave, I was asking myself? And I
decided I would say and watch the clip. And I'm happy I
did. Because when I watched this clip, my perceptions
Also, this man by the name of Greg Perry, you will see him
in the video. He wrote a book, disabling America. The
unexpected consequences of the government protection of
I was curious about the book and bought the book and
read through it. That book I read overnight. And my jaw
was on the floor in terms of their perceptions and the
general perceptions of people with disability.
People truly cringe when they think of disabled people
using the ADA. I'm disabled. I have the ADA. I have a
right to this. The general population does not want to
encounter those perceptions.
They have labeled people who are disabled as people who
they don't want to deal with. The way that this particular
media clip impacted me was very emotional. And realize,
I'm from the Dallas area, personally. I am an advocate. I
work with the deaf or hard of hearing community to make
sure that they have communication access. My passion is
to work with the Court systems, and the prison systems and
the mental health systems. And a variety of other services
that deaf people require access to. Including medical, and
I noticed that when I first became an advocate I convinced
people to provide communication access, but after a while
people grew more resistance. And I was wondering if my
own approaches were incorrect as an advocate, if they were
not effective. And I was wondering what was going on with
me that was not right?
So I watched this video, read this book, and I realized it
wasn't so much me, but that the community was building up
more and more resistance to the Americans with Disabilities
Act. And as deaf Americans, we feel like we've made
progress, but we have actually back pedaled a bit. And we
need to use different approaches to move forward and
that's what I'm going to cover in this presentation.
Just a warning for you, if you just got in here, this video is
going to have a lot of cussing, so could we have an
interpreter up front. This is not captioned and you will
understand why it's not captioned.
( Video. )
>> Compassion is an important and beautiful (inaudible) try
the street parking, mother fucker. We are on TV. Today,
we have the best parking spots in the studio. We're
swinging with the blue signs. I'm Penn and that's my partner
Teller. Usually handicap shots remind us of how great
our lives have been. We don't mind walking a little extra.
But today we want to know what it felt like to be
handicapped, sort of like Black Like Me on wheels and way
in the front of the bus. The crew had to put in these ramps
to make the stage more easily accessible. Nice work, boys.
The handicap have such a hell of a time with the ramp. Who
put the ladder here--widen the aisles, a guy
has got to get through here. If I had to do this every
day, I would never (inaudible) even had to lower the drinking
fountain to 36 inches high.
All this stuff is mandated by the Americans with Disabilities
And I know it doesn't seem like it right now, but trust me,
the ADA is bullshit on wheels.
( Music. )
>> Excuse me. According to the United States census,
there are 54 million people in the U.S. Who are
disabled. That's one in six Americans. According to the
1990 Americans with Disabilities Act a disability is a
physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one
or more of the major life activities.
I wonder if being an asshole falls under that coverage. We
wanted to find out more about the Americans with
Disabilities Act and also about handicap parking, which we
hired a bunch of handicap people. Blow that out your
affirmative action. We visited (inaudible) Greg Perry is the
most prolific author of (inaudible) Lawrence Carter long
wishes the ADA were more effective. This guy has been
disabled since 1969 and fights for the rights of the
handicapped. We have the whole town terrorized for
violating ADA regulations. This lady got a pit stop when
nobody was taking handicap laws, and she became the
enforce err. You don't have the sign for that space.
>> And finally, because we're assholes, we put our art
director and had to push him around. But first, meet this
>> Mary Ann, I enforce handicap parking. It's right in front
here. It's blue, there are blue towers there. If you park, you
don't have the credentials you get a ticket. That's the way it
>> Is that your car.
>> Sure is.
>> I get cursed at very frequently. Some of the words are,
you're a mother fucker, fuck you, you're a bitch, get alive.
Get a job. Don't have you have anything better to do?
Those are some of the things they say to me, and there's a
lot of physical confrontation.
I just feel that it's my mission. I just feel I have to do it.
>> I'll remember that.
>> I feel that I can make judgments. These paces were set
up by the Federal Government so people have a quality of
life where they can go out and do things just like everybody
>> She's taking photos.
>> Hold on one second.
>> Oh, fuck, go to the next scene. Hundreds of billions of
dollars of public and private money have been mandated for
things like parking spaces, curb cuts and make it easier for
people in we'll wheelchairs to cross the street.
And this is a bus with a wheelchair lift. For disabled and
live in New York City, what more could you ask for, you
know, other than not to be handicapped.
>> What people with disabilities are asking for are the same
things that everybody else pretty much takes for granted.
>> Disability network of New York City.
>> You want meaningful work, we want to be able to go to
the shopping mall or movies or theater with our friends, but
as long as the environment doesn't allow us to do that, we
don't get to partake and go to benefits or the burdens of
>> In 1990, America's handicapped were brought a lot of
importance of what they were asking for. It's the year the
first President Bush signed the landmark piece of
legislation. It was the Americans with Disabilities Act,
President Bush signed the ADA I had a chance to
(inaudible), and it was probably the most exciting day of my
>> He was injured in 1969 by a hit and run driver during a
concert of Woodstock. Watch out for the brown acid, and
the blue it all. He helped develop what became the
Americans with Disabilities Act. And he's currently an ADA
consultant and he, more than anyone we've ever met,
>> Since the ADA got passed I can go where I want to go.
>> Provide a clear and comprehensive national mandate for
the elimination of the discrimination against individuals with
That's what the Americans with disabilities act says it's
going to do. What the fuck is wrong? What is wrong with
us? Have we all gone fuck ing crazy, we think the
government is so good, the war on drugs, the war on
poverty, the government is so fucking good that they
can do all. They heal the lame and make the fucking blind
fucking see. How about extra courts, defense, police and
corruption, at least compassion to the people that have it.
According to Fred, the struggles goes (inaudible)
>> The parks and self rights movement want to have a seat
on the bus. The last years, they fought to get on the bus in
>> Parks never did that but it makes a great story.
>> Having access to racial discrimination.
>> All this cussing, I can cuss, but it's not captioned, why
isn't it captioned? Because
>> Because the particular company did not want to have it
fuck you, you p didn't caption it. Fuck you, you idiot. ADA,
but not even any captioning. How ironic. Tell them.
>> The ADA, they don't have it captioned. So, that's the
point of having the interpreter here. I'm wanting to
accommodate your communication needs, but thank you for
>> Black people were allowed in the front of the bus,
because of Jim crow laws and segregation. Handicap
people can't get off the bus because of eye sack Newton's
laws of gravity. He was born with cerebral palsy,
>> My disabilities are the same, nothing about us
>> Sure, disabled people agree. Those people want
decisions about their life made for them by others.
>> I think there's a tendency to patronize people with
disabilities. You can either be treated like a child or like an
>> I know that in America, I am a second class citizen.
>> Aren't there laws that say you're equal. Didn't the law
>> The doors of opportunity, tear down the laws of walls of
>> I have found absolutely nothing about the Americans
with Disabilities Act that I like.
>> But there is something this guy would like the Federal
Government to do.
>> I want the government to get out of my way and leave
me alone. Because, I more easily trip over things that get in
my way. Greg Perry, author, handicap man, born with three
fingers and one leg.
>> There are people taking crunches out for people before
the Americans with Disabilities Act was signed into law.
>> Thank you.
>> It took the Americans with Disabilities Act to harm the
>> fuck. I'm like Fred Jones and our friend Mary Ann. He's
against the ADA. In fact, he wrote a book, disabling
America, the unintended consequences of the
>> I am thrilled I was born long before the Americans with
Disabilities Act was signed into law in 1990. Because had I
been born after the law had been signed it would be a loser
today. I wouldn't be the success that some people consider
me to be.
With more than '75 titles to his name, he's the most prolific
ought this authorize of computer books this the world. He
offered a book about Linux. Fuck that, he hates those
Charlie Brown kids.
>> I would be a loser, because I know as a teenager I
would have done anything to get out of work, to take extra
money, to get on the government dole.
>> What else is wrong with legislation that bush considers
among his proudest achievements?
>> Without this law, the truly handicapped would be
socially, morally and financially better off than they are
>> Yeah yeah, that's all real important, but it's time for
>> We went out to world famous Hollywood Boulevard with
this. The iron lung was used in the '50s to treat polio victims
with severest tree problems. It's still used. We wanted to
see how tough it would be for our prop guy Rudy, who isn't
handicapped other than working on a show called bullshit,
and his two nurses, bullshit producers, to navigate the
streets of Hollywood with one of these babies. Which
shouldn't be a problem, thanks to ADA mandates on accessibility.
At first we tried this too in a restaurant, just like in the '50s.
>> I'd like to get some.
>> It won't fit.
>> Not handicap accessible.
(Several people talking.)
>> All right.
>> All right.
>> Next, try to get in this burrito shop. Handicap access
sign so it should be no problem.
>> Handicap access?
>> Anybody should be allowed free access to bean burritos.
>> It's so wrong.
On a more serious note, our friend Mary Ann has
( End of video.)
>> HEATHER BISE: So, what did you think? It was good? When you
watched this, how did you feel? What were your feelings?
>> Hold on just one moment. We'll have a mirror interpreter
that will be up here on stage.
>> So, again, very radical. And, it showed the true
perceptions of people on the street.
And we had a comment over here, that it was disgusting.
And the message was strong. Focusing on the physical
disability and not the hidden disability.
One more, when you said you felt disgusted was that
insulting to you, or not so insulting?
Well, there were no captions.
>> It crossed my mind, the thought that crossed my mind,
the person with the iron lung, to have, did he have a
doctor's permission to go out in a public with the iron lung,
because it seemed silly to go out in public.
>> The point of this message was that it was extremely
powerful and it was very bias, slanted. But millions of
people watch this show, and millions of people wrote blogs
about their reactions to this show.
This is the ADA they thought. And I can recall reading the
blogs. And a lot of people say that I refuse to hire a person
with disabilities, on the blogs. And people were saying, I
should not include people with disabilities. And there was a
strong message that this show permeate ted across
And this gentleman, in the production, had published this
particular book that was distributed.
The point of this book is that he said that people with
disabilities should be left to the religious faith.
Left to the church. Left to things outside of government.
Left to people who have compassion.
Well, apparently his perception of disability is skewed, in
my opinion. A lot of people, however listen to Penn and
Teller and this gentleman, and they have a talk radio show,
they interviewed him. Brag about his book. He's constantly
attending different business seminars, about his perception
of the ADA. Wow. Think about that.
And that opinion being permeated cross business
America, ADA, and my role of convincing people to provide
communication access was dramatically impacted by this
message that I saw with this person. And how they're
permeating the wrong perception of the ADA.
>> I considered -- I'll let the interpreter get there.
I listened to the association by the comedian or spokes
person in regards to the Association of African Americans,
women and so forth.
Again, cultural and other things, you know, women getting
the right to vote and things of that sort. And when I
consider Mr. Perry, it reminds me of other individuals who
don't understand the government has gotten involved,
historically. Again, they even forget the Constitution. And
the Boston Tea Party, and why we established policy.
Unfortunately, although we cannot force, as Dr. King
indicated, Martin Luther King, cannot legislate morality, we
must define accountable, those who choose not to practice
and uphold the policy and freedoms that we protect when
we exercise the rights. So again, not challenging Mr.
Perry, he's one person and I have not been in cite ted to his
debate. However I think he needs to continue his study.
He really only has one point of view.
>> Right. But the message is powerful that he is
And the other thing I want to bring up, is where were you,
where were you sitting when the ADA was passed? Were
you eating dinner, were you with a group of folks? Where
were you? What's up? You don't remember when the ADA
was passed? It's one of the largest civil rights movements
of my time. You don't recall? Where were you?
In middle school. Okay.
>> I was pregnant. And I was at home while my husband
was away. And I was celebrating the thought of an
opportunity moving forward. No more people telling me that
I can't do things. So you saw this on television, is that what
>> I was clueless, I had no information. I just didn't know
what was going on. I really didn't know what it meant, until
after it happened.
You know, that's not a surprising comment.
>> If you remember when the ADA passed, then you would
feel inspired and empowered and ready to go into the real
world. But most of you really don't have that recollection or
that feeling. ADA being a civil rights movement?
Was insignificant: Because, the media, the television, the
press, did not seek out people or recruit individuals with an
experience. They didn't want the media coverage of people
with disabilities. They did not want to promote people with
disabilities. And why was that, do you think?
>> Because disabilities are not supposed to be an issue.
It's supposed to be about freedom and equal rights and
access. It's supposed to be about being able to enjoy life.
But the disability itself is not supposed to be the focus of
their attention or what's important.
>> And it angers business, angers businesses. They want
to quiet it down.
>> That's one really good reason. Other reasons?
>> If I recall reading this book, that's called the Christmas
Carol. If you recall the character, tiny Tim. When you read
that book, what was the emotion that came over you?
One of symptom sympathy? The media tends to play on
tiny Tim's sympathy concept, and apply that to people with
disabilities. And that's why lobbyists, did not want to go to
the media. They were fearful of how the media would treat
people with disabilities. And impose the tiny Tim emotion
on people with disabilities.
People were not aware of the disability act passing and
that's why the media attended to label people with
disabilities, and these terms.
People who are deaf often don't consider themselves as
disabled, but this is how the media labels us, helpless,
vulnerable, powerless, people tend to take pity on people
They don't see them as having skills or talents that are
able to be successful.
That's interesting. And the word handicapped, where did
that originate from? Yes, the hat being taken off a person's
head and panning for contributions.
That's a perception of disability that's very different than
what we perceive ourselves to be.
So, seeing the word handicapped and the origins of
handicapped, we don't want to have that perception any
I thought fine, this is the media's perception. And it's a
very negative perception of people with disabilities and what
I did is I went to Google, and I went to I stock pictures,
photographs, and there's stock photographs that are
generally available in the public for any kind of web media
And I just typed some of these words and sure enough, up
popped these disability photos. What was interesting is I
thought, surely there wouldn't be negative things about
people who are deaf. So this is what I found when I typed
Wow. Here we are in the dream's time, stock photos,
these are the pictures that showed up. Who is here that
likes to read women's magazines called Marie Clare? Does
anybody here in the audience read Marie Clare?
Okay. Well, it's for ladies. And it's a journal. There was a
story in that magazine, a woman who was deaf was part of
the article. And the picture on the web site was saved
under deaf and dumb.
If you'll hit the next click, this is the next picture. There
was a story about a deaf woman who was very successful.
But the picture was saved under the caption, deaf mute.
So, Patricia Wright, a lobbyist, wrote this article. It's a
summary of why we don't contact the media. Why we often
don't involve the media.
And why we try to encourage Congress to pass the ADA.
Go back one slide.
Yes. She felt that there was a lot of energy involved in
terms of trying to explain to people how to put aside their
stereo types. If you're dealing with a TV reporter and a
person is in a wheelchair, she didn't want people to have to
explain and waste their time and energy with those
What's interesting here, is that we all node that the media
is a powerful tool. And people want their issues and they
want their concerns heard. How do they do that? They call
a press conference, they involve the media, they have
announcements and that's how the information is
disseminated to other people in their networks, and
knowledge is shared.
What's the importance of this? The gathering of public
feedback. When you see a television story, there's often
feedback channels, and there are people who will modify
those policies to accommodate that feedback. But the
people who advocated ADA didn't seek the feedback. They
didn't want it. Because they knew that if businesses
became aware, that they had to comply with the ADA, there
would be huge rebellion, in the business community. So
they did it in the back rooms as much as they possibly
The media and the role here is to disseminate information.
And we know that things have been things happen in our
world, we watch television, read newspapers and
magazines and journals and we know what's going on.
But, unfortunately, the media and disabilities have a
terrible relationship. A horrible relationship.
I want to explain something to you, and the reason here is
that, yes, we're here to advocate for people with disabilities,
but I want you to see how the media has influenced people
who are deaf.
And how the media impacts us. We tend to work with
people with disabilities. We advocate the ADA, so let me
ask you here, AIDS, visualize AIDS, what does that bring to
your mind? What's the first thing that comes to mind?
>> Terror, just being afraid of it, I don't want to acquire the
>> What's the physical appearance that comes to mind for
>> Health is diminishing.
>> Okay. Okay. Back here?
>> Just waiting until we're going to have a full blown case of
>> I missed what you said.
>> There's no cure.
>> Okay. Typically, the reaction is, this. People
immediately think of a black person, they think that a black
person is a person with AIDS. That's a stereo type. They
think of no hope. They think of being lost. That's the tiny
Tim concept being applied to AIDS. And that's why we
have the media not being involved with the ADA. People
are afraid of AIDS.
People are afraid of the results.
And the stigma.
Another type of stereo type is super crips. Or, amaze
ability. That person has a disability that they over came.
Their own disability.
So there are two extremes and there never seems to be a
Again, using Google, there are labels that tend to be
stereo typed with the ADA. So amaze ability was one of
them and then Greg, I can't say his last name, the diver,
he's the one who hit the board and had the bleed, and they
found out that he, as a result of the bleed, was a person
And so, should he continue m the Olympics was the
debate at the time. And people thought that it was
awesome, he was a hero.
So, autism? What do you bring to mind when you
>> A lot of diversity. The rain man.
>> You see repetitive behaviors.
>> They don't socialize well. They don't maintain eye
>> These are the typical labels of people with autism, is that
they're trapped. They're trapped. There's no way for them
to get out. They have no hope.
That's the Tiny Tim label.
The amazing ability person who has autism, Asperger’s
>> Are you talking about a professor?
>> Who is that? Someone from temple, someone from
>> Temple grand
(Several people talking.)
>> Temple Grandin.
>> She's a woman who is an author and studied psychology
>> Right. So let's click here. Hmmm. You're a bit dumb-
founded here. Dan Aykroyd. Had autism or Asperger's it's a
type of autism. I was personally shocked to find that out.
It's very rare that a person says that he has amazing ability
person, he's an actor, he has his own show, and here had
he has Asperger's syndrome.
You may not be familiar with spina bifida? Okay. Very
When you see the word spina bifida, what comes to mind?
>> They often have difficulty walking.
>> They're short in stature.
>> They often have surgery.
>> They have difficulty with curvature of the spine.
>> So these are the labels here, life long problems, not
being able to enjoy life as a walking person. Whoever says
something like that? But that's the perception. Being
dependent on their family. Negative stereo types.
We as deaf individuals may not know a person with spina
bifida. Who is this? Back there?
>> John Cougar Mellancamp. I didn't know who it was. But
I know now. About because he dated Meg Ryan. But he had spina bifida. And he's
walking just fine.
>> Tony Danza had spina bifida as well, and people have
applauded John Mellancamp because his amazing ability not
to be stuck in a wheelchair. He was asked to write a song
as a musician, and it was for the special Olympics. And this
you will see.
Just read this selection, take a minute.
>> So what's wrong with this statement?
This is on the special Olympics web site. Okay. Wow,
what's wrong with this comment?
>> It's oppressive.
>> It's the tiny Tim syndrome.
>> People don't realize what's been overcome. And it's
their perception and associated with their discrimination of
how they view the individual.
They don't view the person. They view the disability. And
people forget that we're discriminating and that has been
So, again, the message here is wrong. But that's a
powerful message here.
>> How did the ADA pass?
How did it guess passed? Do any of you have ideas of
how it happened?
>> People in Federal Government who had connections
and family members and were a aware of people with
disabilities were able to affect the change.
>> There were complaints and, complaints that were filed
at the legislature.
>> We can't see you, would you mind saying that again?
>> Senator Tom Harkin.
>> Personal impact. Personal visits. From people, from the
local community, unfortunately, they were using the tiny Tim
concept at the time to lobby and convince their legislators,
this disabled person needed the sympathy to get
passage of that act. The strategy was used to pass the
Americans with Disabilities Act. Luckily, many people who
were involved with the drafting of the ADA knew people
whose brothers and sisters or children had disabilities.
So they advocated one on on one, and those individuals
who had disabilities, Bob Dole for example, had a war injury
and was involved as well and was able to expose other
And that was a strong message from Bob Dole. However,
there were large consequences from this.
When ADA was passed, without the media, why did this
Information was absent. You all didn't know that it even
passed. You didn't know that there was an ADA. We knew
about the health care act that's been happening recently.
All of the media coverage, all of the obsessive political
banter. But this was a silent passage.
There were no conferences about the ADA. There wasn't
feedback to change policy. There wasn't information
shared with people.
>> Also, I think it's because ADA itself was just so
complicated, and it involved so many different types of
disabilities. There are no two disabilities that are the same.
There are so many unique needs.
That's the big question related to ADA.
>> Exactly. You know, the ADA was so complex that they
did not want to create stereo types, that would be placed on
all people with disabilities. Perfect. That's great. Another
>> People who we consider against ADA, do you think that
they're afraid of progressiveness? Afraid of seeing where
it's going to go, and it becomes very difficult for them.
>> Yes. They're often not very well educated about the
Americans with Disabilities Act. When the ADA was
passed in 1990, and people found out that we had rights,
that we had communication access, what happened? What
>> People became very aggressive, rather than trying to
negotiate the standards that they wanted to fall into place.
Rather than telling their stories. They also didn't feel very
empowered. They didn't know how to use the power that
they had, so often they hurt themselves.
>> I found some articles that were written in the 1990s, from
the late 1990s, soon after the ADA was passed and they
were mean editorials, extremely mean.
We would read them and think to yourself, ouch. People
with disabilities, are militants. Militant Tiny Tims again.
They wanted everything given to them on a dole.
In the 1990s, that's pretty recent, that's not too long ago,
so think back through time, and the progression of this time.
So, as you watched this video, and you found more about
the Tea Party’s resistance to ADA, how can you, how can I
change our approach to advocacy?
It caused me to think greatly about the issue. A person
asked me, Heather, do you understand civil rights?
And I thought, well, that's a good question. Civil rights.
When I think of civil rights, I think of the black movement.
That people need to have equal opportunity and fairness.
And I think of visual images of water being sprayed on the
people that were Marching and protesting. And I think of
white supremacy. And was I there?
No, I wasn't there. So I'm disconnected. I cannot truly
relate to the people who were involved this the civil rights
I have no true empathy. But perhaps that's why people
are so resistant out there, because they have no true
empathy. So I looked at my own advocacy when I call a
doctor and attorney and I meet with people and talk about
civil rights. I realize that those people are clueless about
civil rights. They don't get it.
So I started to further analyze myself, and how I could get
people to truly relate to something I was saying. And it
came to mind, this approach.
>> How are we on time? Can somebody just let me know
how we're on time?
>> 11 o'clock. Okay. Great.
>> 11:24, thank you. Okay.
>> So I thought, truly, ADA, yes, it's a civil rights issue. But,
let's shift the Paradigm to human rights.
Let's see if that's effective.
I'd like to see different people sign human rights. If you
wouldn't mind standing up and signing the word human
rights in ASL. Come up here, sign it.
>> I'm going to give it a try. Do you want me to stand here,
up there? Okay.
>> People's rights, rights to do various activities, freedoms,
make decisions, to live the lives that you live every day, to
do all of the things that you would want to possibly do, to do
it in a way that is similar to other people and on an equal
To do it without limitation, without restriction.
>> Do we have another volunteer?
>> Did you like my interpretation?
>> Your own expression or iteration of this is great. Anyone
else? No one else.
>> I think it's it's important to remember that human rights
indicate that we have the rights and the freedom for all
humans, that they are already given to that individual.
It's simple. It's human. That's basically it.
>> It's a case where no one gets hurt.
>> No, no we are all eating, breathing, walking beings.
>> But a lot of people don't realize, when they consider the
transition in this country, during the civil rights movement of
African Americans, is that Dr. King utilized the media by
knowing that there are many Americans that did not see the
state of an in visible population, because African Americans
had been slaves. They are invisible because they were
simply a commodity. I reference that to our presentation
today, in regards to the silence of the policy. Disabled
individuals in our society for many have been the invisible
population, because individuals in our society did not want
to acknowledge them as people, any more than a number
of other people in our society.
As equal. With great potential to touch and transform this
world. And so without the policy to initiate the
consciousness of human beings, that exercise the rights
equally, then the individuals who are, who were once
overlooked and had no voice, could not, they would not be
seen, even when they were right in your face and they had
a right to be seen.
>> Beautiful. Beautiful.
>> Yes? Come on up. Share with us.
>> It never occurred to me until you were speaking, Doctor
Martin Luther king, Doctor King made the black culture
become more aware of itself through peaceful means.
ADARA really was created by handicap people and I'm
wondering, if this really made a difference for people with
We saw how effective the black movement was. We saw
the integration which occurred. But we haven't seen that
occur with the disabled community.
So I wonder if this really made a difference?
>> Yes, I wonder, that's a very interesting topic, very impact
>> I'm going to use the interpreter. It's also been very
interesting for me to look at how ADA looked at gender
issues as well. Because a lot of disabilities that affected
more women than men tended to be ignored, in the
disability rights movement.
And so that's another complication of the issue as well, is,
where did women come into this whole play?
>> Wow. That's an interesting perspective.
While we're addressing and repairing this, -- there are only
a few slides left here. But, can anyone think of human
rights issues that we face today in our world?
>> Challenges that we have, economic challenges, people
who can't afford to buy health insurance.
>> Absolutely. Yes. Okay. During my advocacy efforts
that I personally -- darn it.
>> I'm going to use some of my props.
What I've noticed so far, as I confront people in my
advocacy efforts, there are a few things that tend to work.
Because as I try to explain the ADA and I use the words
civil rights, that's not very effective. But then when I shift to
the word human rights, sometimes it's hard to have a
comparison for people to tag onto.
So, if I have a deaf client, and I have a business entity that
I'm dealing with, perhaps that business refuses to provide
communication access for a person let's say, that's on
So what I do, is I look across that office and if I find a re
cycle bin, I grab it.
And recycling, becoming green, is a you a human rights
issue. Because it affects our entire planet. Holistically.
So, if you go into this office and you see a recycling bin, I
point that out. I use it. I talk with that particular business,
and they're very resistant at first, and I say, why don't you
provide communication access, they say it's a waste of
time, so expensive.
And then I say, yeah, I realize you have these re cycling
bins over here, you know, there's a lot of effort that goes
into remembering that a Coke can actually goes in this bin.
And then, hiring somebody to come and empty these trash
bins, and deliver them to a facility tea that re cycles, and
recycling is very expensive. And people don't seem to really
mind. They want to save our planet. They have a holistic
So, if you use that concept, people tend to step back. And
they can start to relate to saving the world for their children,
to becoming more green. And as for the deaf client, some
deaf clients say that they don't want to confront their
employer with the complaint. They don't want to self
advocate. So then what I do, I say, hey, would you like
some water, are you thirsty, to the deaf client. And they
say, yes, I'm thirsty, I want some water, and I have this
water right here, with a little bit of dirt in it.
And the client I give this water to says, no, I don't want
And I say, well, why not? Why don't you want it?
>> You put your finger in it.
>> That too. That too. But then, I give them this nice clean
glass of water immediately following that. And they say,
sure, I'd prefer the clean water.
And I say, everyone has a right to clean water. Don't
they? Everyone has a right to clean water, it's not an issue
You have that right.
So, when I explain that to the deaf client, they get it. Plus,
clean water is not cheap. It's expensive. There's a lot of
work that goes into making water clean.
But it is a human right to have access to clean water.
And that's what's happening in third world countries right
now. There are huge movements to build water treatment
facilities, and people see that in the news. And they realize
that we in America have clean water for so long, and why
don't these other countries have that luxury?
Access to water.
So it seems like a much more effective advocacy strategy,
and I'm sorry that people cannot relate to the civil rights
movement, people argue with me. Here in the audience
and that's your right to have a different perspective.
But I am slanted more to the human rights approach.
One doctor in Dallas, in particular refused to provide a sign
language interpreter for a client who was deaf. That client
needed surgery. So we were having back and forth with
that doctor. The doctor continued to refuse.
So then I drafted a letter, and I mailed it off to the doctor.
And then I immediately got a call back, saying, yes, we'll
And I thought, well, hm, wow, and I'm sorry you can't see
the power point, but, what I told the Doctor, the last
statement in my letter that I sent, and it may be a very
abrasive approach that I used, but I said, what kind of
medical practice are we becoming?
When we decide who has good access to medical care?
And apparently that last statement caught the doctor. And
saying that the doctor would decide how that person would
access medical care. Also, well, darn it.
One of the last statements that I tend to leave people with
is, you know that it's the right thing to do. And that's a
touching statement. It really reaches out to the person's
When I work with state agencies or I work with the local
authority tease, the police, I tell them that your deaf
constituents, your deaf constituents, those people who pay
taxes, it's my money that goes to your service.
Not all people are on the dole. I tell them that I pay taxes.
Another topic that we tend to use, or another approach, is
this person is human just like you.
Oh, again, that's more of a heartfelt human connection.
And I'll close with this statement. Back here?
>> Do you have handouts for everybody?
>> I'm a green person and I love my trees. And I want to
save paper. And I know that sometimes we collect all these
Power Points and they just go into the trash. If you would like
my Power Point, I would be happy to e-mail it to you. And
that's why I have a sign up sheet in the back and I'll be very
happy to send it to you.
>> I'm going to use the interpreter.
>> I think a lot of people don't realize, when you're talking
about human rights, I think it's so important for us to realize
that women got the right to vote because of the black
community. And George Washington carver actually stood
up and fought for the sufficient raj movement and that's how
women golt the right to vote. And so when we have all
these issues, like these basic human rights, like gays and
less bans not being allowed to get married. Issues as
simple as not having captioned movies in the main movie
theaters, immigrant rights, all those things.
If we as a community of people, who are having our rights
being denied came together, and sat at each other's table
and supported each other, like the black community did for
women and their rights, we would have that many more
people fighting for all those rights, rather than everybody
fighting their own little fight, everybody coming
together and saying, these are basic human rights that we
all deserve and so the power of all of those groups coming
together can really make an impact. And I think that we are
always re inventing the wheel and we don't need to do that,
we can depend on each other and fight for each other.
>> An excellent point. Back here?
>> I'm a DVR counselor and I want to talk about the services
for clients. Back when you were mentioning civil rights, you
know, we know that the black community started this
movement and really, they started a movement for all of us.
We talk about deaf people not having civil rights. You
know, we see them in janitorial positions, asthma can nicks
and some of them as, mechanics and some of them not
making any effort at all. And we see others who have
become successful and women who have become
I think that the ADA is making some changes, some
positive and some negative.
What we want are more employers to be motivated to hire
deaf individuals. And often, I won't mention a lot of the
costs that are going to be involved. I wait until they've had
the time to acclimate themselves and then we start the
discussion about what the costs and obligations are going
And you know, sometimes they really kind of come back to
us and talk about what all this involves and I'm wondering if
they're responsible for the interpreters, and if whether or not
they're going to be sued.
And you know, deaf people really can become anxious
when this happens because they really need the interpreter
to have access to the services.
>> Go back just a bit. Great.
This is addressing the issue in a holistic fashion.
If someone calls me and says interpreters are expensive, I
talk about giving back to the community, helping
employment, gaining employment, and to be honest with
you, I don't work a lot with companies who are getting ready
to hire a deaf person.
I tend to work with companies that already have deaf
people employed. And they're having struggles with getting
an interpreter. So I haven't faced the situation you're talking
about yet, that much.
But, holistically, talk about giving back, talk about reducing,
the economic hardship on people who are deaf. And they
tend to holistically relate to that. Plus, disabled people are
one of the most market able people.
So if you say, I have five point 2 million people, and with
your product, we can market to these five point 2 million
people, in terms of accessibility, and they realize that there
are a lot of consumers out there with disability issues, and
that's one approach that may succeed.
>> I want to validate the points that you made.
Because I've experienced those same challenges myself.
As an employee service provider, I've worked with deaf and
hard of hearing individuals who are job seekers. And I've
worked with businesses around our area, geographical
location that, and I really started to see and understand their
And sometimes those barriers are very difficult to
breakdown. And once those are up, it's very difficult to
bring them down.
Especially from their perspective. We really need to feel
that there's a safe place there that we're working
collaboratively, where there are trainers, providers of
information, we're thereto support them and help them see
both perspectives on this, and it's so critical and you're right.
And I want to thank you for the ideas you shared with us
today and the points that you made. I think I'm going to be
able to incorporate these into my job.
>> Two comments. First of all, it is not my intent to bee lit
tell civil rights. I would like to strongly advocate for the
progression. But all I'm saying is that people have a hard
time relating to civil rights.
And what can people relate to in today's society?
And because our society has evolved, putting that
particular issue aside, I was talking with somebody
yesterday, who was it? Oh, my mind. Escapes me here.
Oh. I was joking with somebody yesterday.
Saying that I wish that Gallaudet or schools would offer
hearing culture classes.
Because I think deaf people, like myself need to
understand the hearing culture. And the hearing culture's
perspective of deafness and how we can transform those
perceptions to work with deaf culture.
We need to be able to wear the shoes of the other person.
Understand each other's cultures, and negotiate that
between the two cultures. I just thought it was an
interesting comment, you know, understanding the business
perspective. Putting ourselves in their shoes,
understanding how we can give back to the business.
Because all the business is thinking is, we're making all
these accommodations, we're giving, we're giving, we're
giving. What are we getting back?
So, if you think of the fact that the disabled population is
an untapped population, in terms of economic buying
power, being able to market to them, creatively approaching
this -- it's a trade off. It's a trade off.
>> You see a lot of businesses, very successful businesses
that are involved with diversity and I think that's a helpful
>> Great. You can use a business that is successful and
have the competitive spirit involved, and show them a
How are we on time? Okay. Yes, I think we can, do we
have any questions from the audience?
>> Just want to make sure I didn't miss anything when the
computer was out. If we'll go back a couple of slides.
>> I noticed that these props are so effective, and I keep a
water bottle with me that's dirty. And I have another water
bottle that's clean. And I give that to the deaf client, and
suddenly, they understand, and they become self
advocates and they want access just like their hearing
counter parts have.
And you go into a business and you see these re cycle
bins and talking about how they're used, in the work place.
Recycling affects the entire globe.
Sometimes people think, how does a person with
disabilities impact me? How will that person benefit me?
So you need to put yourself in an expressive position to
articulate that. And here's the last statement.
ADA is a system of laws but how the ADA is perceived
depends on us.
We are responsible as people with disabilities, so if people
say, I'm going to sue, using the ADA, or if they're very
negative in their approaches, it's somewhat negative. So
we may want to diverse from that or digress from that
And you shouldn't use the tiny Tim concept. Don't sues
sympathy. Don't use, it's okay to pull at somebody's heart
strings, but don't use sympathy. Even hearing many people
like visual examples. Use concrete props. It will stick with
them. They'll know what you're talking about.
And this is not a whole exhaustive list, but these are some
If you want to have this power point emailed to you, if you
could just indicate your e-mail addresses on the sign in
sheet at the back, and I'll also send you some articles along
with the power point. And there's some really great articles.
I wish that somebody had been willing to comment on that
bullshit video, because when people watch that, they think,
wow, if we were to show this to the deaf community, the
deaf community would be really, this is how people perceive
And I think that would help them transform how they
approach barriers. And even this video wasn't captioned.
So if you have questions, you're welcome to e-mail them to
me. We have a few minutes now that you're welcome to
approach me if you have questions on a one, on one basis.
So thank you, for your time.
>> (End of session.)