Prejudice against disability

Published Apr 22, 2013 05:08am

Disability is almost synonymous with disadvantage. Thus people with disabilities have to face various challenges in life such as employment against able-bodied individuals vying for the same positions. Those lucky few who manage to obtain gainful employment, for positions specifically designated for people with disabilities or universal positions, face another challenge, one which will make us realise that prejudice against individuals with disabilities is as real and damaging as, for example, racial prejudice, except only that it has remained more elusive.

An aspiring lawyer, who is visually impaired, has managed to obtain gainful employment at a prestigious law firm. With the help of audio aids, such as computer software which uses audible cues, this aspiring lawyer is working alongside her able-bodied colleagues.

It is fascinating how, with her heightened sense of hearing, this aspiring lawyer can hear these with audio aids, especially when taken into consideration the fact that the decibel levels in her office are similar to those at a busy grocery store.

What is perturbing to note is that, whilst almost all of her colleagues are oblivious to her use of audio aids, one has taken a strong resentment and made several complaints, a seeming vendetta, vexation which will only relent when this aspiring lawyer either leaves of her own volition or is required to do so.

This situation highlights the ongoing struggles faced by individuals with disabilities and is a manifestation of covert and surreptitious prejudice harboured by people against individuals with disabilities, either knowingly or unknowingly.

Prejudice against individuals with disabilities is an issue which must be addressed so that we do not further disadvantage those who are disadvantaged to begin with.

MOHAMED VAWDA Karachi


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Comments (3) (Closed)


Dorian Gray
Apr 23, 2013 05:42pm
The writer has highlighted an important social issue, however, it seems to be written in a patchy, incoherent and inconclusive manner. If he has attempted to highlight a certain 'vendetta' being carried out against a visually impaired employee perhaps he ought to dig deeper into the happenings surrounding this intriguing tale. Another part that seemed of interest to me was that the insensitive employee was using complaints as a mode of satisfying her vindictive instincts. Regardless of the merits of this article, I believe Dawn ought to grammatically edit such crudely done pieces before its own prestige is doubted.
Zara
Apr 22, 2013 03:26pm
This (poorly written and incorrectly punctuated) article is highly presumptuous and lacks any concrete basis for the claims that are being made. A "seeming vendetta"? What does that even mean? I certainly hope this "prestigious law firm" is more thorough when it comes to conducting their own research. One would think that your article would celebrate the employment of this aspiring lawyer and encourage this practice as something that should be implemented regularly, as opposed to highlighting what "seems" to be petty, hanging around by the water cooler office gossip. I do believe a box of rocks could write a more well-informed and positive article on the same issue. The only thing your article reflects, besides your poor grasp of the placement of the comma, is how small-minded you are in your own approach to disabled individuals. The very fact that you believe that there are people who wish to see disabled people fail (because of their use of audio aids, no less), in any capacity, makes me feel very sad, indeed. The fact that you have expressed your point of view so poorly makes me want to cry. The fact that your point of view has been published is baffling. Please try, next time, to bring about change and awareness through positivity, as opposed to through your own vexatious and baseless vendetta. All the best to the aspiring lawyer!
aybis
Apr 23, 2013 02:24pm
Vawda, as a writer you have touched upon an intriguing and sensitive concept. The blend of prejudice and disabled individuals is a harness between morality and immorality. In Pakistan, there are very few firms and industries that utilize and employ disable people. This is the epitome of progressive thinking. People should not be bound by caste, creed or physical-mental disabilities. After all, it happens so often in Pakistan that we forget and lose focus of how much damage we have done by making assumptions, not communicating and prejudging each and every situation, from the tip to the wastelands and slums of the hierarchal structure. The direct result is a string of awful and ridiculous decisions made because of pathetic judgement as seen in our society across the provinces in relations to inequity between males and females, unemployment in youth and displacement of people, heightened religious intolerance and countless other misfortunes. In this example the protagonist is the aspiring lawyer and the antagonist is the troubled colleague. I fail to understand why the use of vendettas, vexation and this desire to create animosity. A string of bad judgements is based on weak assumptions Mr. Vawda. There is a large probability that your own assumptions are the basis of your misjudgement because in a progressive organization (one that is actually implementing policies as grand as employing disabled individuals) issues of this micro nature are resolved immediately. Unless there is more to the story, it seems like you are attacking a sensitive and grand issue of disabled employment with invalid research. Your opinion in today's paper is speaking about a very determined and hardworking blind lawyer but it is fading in the shallow waters of vendetta to which it actually seems you have either no clue or no research and this does not provide the reader with any pleasure. It only adds animosity and resentment, it leaves out the essential and most importantly significant successes of this blind lawyer or the prestigious firm. Neither does this example of the internal issue of this prestigious law firm reflect upon any other examples of prejudice either globally or within Pakistan. Your article has a great idea and probably decent intentions but there is absolutely no depth and is like a bland big mac in tone and context. I hope the next time you have a big mac you visualize what it would be without any flavour when you chew on the bun and the beef. However, I would like to acknowledge that the aspiring lawyer you write about is an example to all humans and it reveals that we are able to do a lot more with less by staying determined and focus. Note that the brain of this aspiring lawyer is no different than any other individual - the only difference is that this disabled person when given the opportunity delivers and functions with her brain with greater efficiency. I wish the article was about the aspiring blind lawyer and her feelings of success not your observations of office space during the moments you might be lingering back and forth. Disappointed that writers can only focus on the negative when they could have written with such a positive tone and context. Writers without research should not be on Dawn. A Disappointed reader.