This is a discussion along the same lines of “what came first, the chicken or the egg?” Or perhaps a long debate over the difference between patriotism and nationalism. Or even a discussion that drags on to 6am about the existence of god and the underlying factors behind the creation of a church, the operation of organized religion, and the subconscious need for people to believe in something bigger than them and feel like they belong in an organized group – tribalism I believe would be the preferred terminology.`
There seems to exist an innate need to not feel different to the mass, to belong in a group. Inadvertently one compares their abilities to others and to those expected as the norm. There is also that perception that one set of rules for that evaluation of ability is equal and just.
That, however, is not the case for anyone, not just those with extraordinary needs – whether those are mobility or otherwise based. The sense of equality in evaluation sure sounds just, but it is far from.
Don’t get me wrong. I am all for equal treatment and an equal approach to, say, the rule of law. Afterall, that equality is one of the things a society is based on. The issue arises when one takes the highest common denominator for performing a task – mobility, exam taking, housework, take your pick – as the lowest common denominator. There is a great picture online that depicts forest animals and says that the test for competence is climbing a tree. Something that clearly some animals, such as a fish, can never achieve.
We design our world on the principle of equality, taking into account though only our individual capabilities (and in that sense I may be biased in my approach myself). This happens with access to buildings, transport, workloads, and many other aspects of everyday life (which I can not think of right now because it’s Sunday morning). We end up expecting too much from people with different attributes. After all, we are talking about human organisms, not machines.
Perhaps a better approach would be to design our expectations of the world for each individual. To adapt them to what each individual is capable of. The end product may be the same, or comparable at the very least, the process though will definitely be different. That, however, is no easy task, and a harder pill to swallow that someone might need to operate differently.
I am lucky in that sense. Not that I can be just in all situations. But, I am surrounded by people that do understand my limitations. Which, mind you, are always changing, and so does everybody else’s. I can not do the things I could a mere six months ago, at least not at the same volume and speed. I adjusted to how to come to the same result, and thankfully the people around me understand that and adjust their expectations and evaluation of me into a more just mode, not a one-size-fits-all equality approach.
Just leaving this here as food for thought.
PS justice and equity have the same end result, in my head at least