Re: Elevators and exclusions
From: John Faust (
Date: Fri, 9 May 2008 16:26:28 -0700 (PDT)
I don't think anyone would suggest the able-bodied are inherently
privileged. Privilege, as you point out, relates to how social systems do or
do not advantage certain classes (e.g., special laws for the nobility). If
there is accessibility built into the community, then there are no
privileged classes in that regard. If the community has limited
accessibility, then the able-bodied are privileged by that deficiency
through no fault of their own.

I think the rather strong reactions expressed in this thread are to the
comment: *So to worry about being exclusionary is not worth the energy*.
That was probably (incorrectly) interpreted as: *So to worry about
accommodating the disabled is not worth the energy*. Quite a few people
clearly do think it is worth a lot of energy to accommodate the disabled
among us.

I think cost is a legitimate concern as Matt argues. In those cases, maybe
interdependence is the only option. If it turns out to be financially or
architecturally infeasible to incorporate accessibility, so be it. But, it
probably is worth a lot of energy to find out.

John Faust

On Fri, May 9, 2008 at 1:33 PM, Brian Bartholomew <bb [at]> wrote:

>        A privilege -- etymologically "private law" or law relating to
>        a specific individual -- is a special entitlement or immunity
>        granted by a government or other authority to a restricted
>        group, either by birth or on a conditional basis. A privilege
>        can be revoked in some cases. In modern democracies, a
>        privilege is conditional and granted only after birth. By
>        contrast, a right is an inherent, irrevocable entitlement held
>        by all citizens or all human beings from birth. [...]
>        In a broader sense, 'privilege' can refer to special powers or
>        'de facto' immunities held as a consequence of political power
>        or wealth. Privilege of this sort may be transmitted by birth
>        into a privileged class or achieved through individual
>        actions. Compare elite.
>        One of the objectives of the French Revolution was the
>        abolition of privilege. This meant the removal of separate
>        laws for different social classes (nobility, clergy and
>        ordinary people), instead subjecting everyone to the same
>        common law. Privileges were abolished by the National
>        Constituent Assembly on August 4, 1789.
> As I read this definition, the Americans with Disabilities Act is a
> privilege, and the full use of all four limbs is not a privilege.
> Could it be that "privilege" is not an accurate term to describe being
> able-bodied?  And since being able-bodied is not a privilege, the
> social justice rage is misapplied?
>                                                        Brian
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