The American with Disabilities Act ADA of 1990 is considered a civil rights act because without its passage, the liberties of those with disabilities would be seriously violated or ignored.
One of the major findings cited by Congress, which led to the passage of this act was: “historically, society has tended to isolate and segregate individuals with disabilities, and despite some improvements, such forms of discrimination against individuals with disabilities continue to be a serious and pervasive social problem,” ADA of 1990, Titles I &V.
The fact that this act did not pass until 1990 is a clear indication that national policy makers themselves, for too long, failed those with disabilities. Not modifying the laws to provide those with disabilities a chance to compete with the so-called “normal,” and in the act help themselves, amounted to irresponsibility and negligence on the part of past congress. The negligence of policy makers had significantly contributed to the ills of those with disabilities.
Policy makers made laws that categorized the people into one group, fundamentally ignoring those in the disabled community.
By rating the normal and disabled people the sameâ€”as if the normal and disabled community had the same capability levelâ€”something was fundamentally wrong. This type of policy making, which ignored the physical limitations of some members of our society, created both physical and psychological barriers in the disabled community. An earlier passage of this act would have ridded the disabled with many of society’s ills or discriminatory practices, but that did not happen.
I will have to call this action or inaction an intolerable negligence by the lawmakers.It was this congressional negligence that further empowered some heartless individuals in the government and in other sectors of the society to violate the rights of the disabled, essentially doing so with impunity. By not passing a clear law that protected the disabled community soon enough, other government institutions, such as the judiciary, made questionable decisions and in the acts treated people with disabilities as outcasts, and called for a permanent elimination or eradication of some disabled people from the face of the earth.In a 1927 Supreme Court case Buck v Bell, Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes thought it best for society to seek to avoid “being swamped with incompetence,” Selected Readings/Disabled in America p.
13. Holmes thought it was even “better for all the world, if, instead of waiting to execute degenerate offspring for crime, or to let them starve for their imbecility, society can prevent those who are manifestly unfit from continuing their kind,” p. 13. Thoughts and acts like these made it extra hard for the disabled to maximize their potential; they were unable to contribute or participate fully or fairly into their society.
Instead of giving the disability community the tools it needed to function within the society and possibly curved it reliance on the normal, the disabled were seen as being a threat to society’s survival. Take analogy into account, the law said there will be no discrimination in the workplace; however, the same law did not open the workplace doors to all. As a result, the normal got to the employers and got the jobs; the disabled, with their physical, mental and other barriers were confined at the entrance because there was no access to buildings of interest.This was an act of discrimination because no access to employment and other places of interest, whether intentionally or unconsciously, weeded out people and those with disabilities were the victims when this act of screening completed.
We now know that “the disability rights movement grew primarily out of personal experiences and the recognition that current quality of life was inadequate,”p. 24. Discriminatory acts as well as other impurities toward the disabled community brought out civil rights activists. As the numbers of persons with disabilities grew, and as they, their parents, organizations, and professionals worked to improve their lives, the attitudes manifest in Buck v.
Bell came under attack: persons with disabilities, too, deserved to be part of society,” p. 15. This is another reason why the ADA is considered a civil rights law. Those who fought to have this law passed were seeking the rights of the disabled to exist; to be full, acceptable members of the society.
The wanted the disabled to have the same opportunities as others. They wanted those disabled who could work despite their disabilities to be employed. They sought appropriate considerations and accommodations for people whose level of capability is not the same as general populace. Even though the rights were to be achieved sometimes by modifying existing laws, they were not special rights.
They were equal rights because the modifications provided a level playing field for all to function within the society.They were not looking for special rights; they were seeking equal opportunity rights for all people in the society, rights which the disabled did not have for several decades. Some members of the disabled community did not want to be baby-sitted; they wanted to get out and get jobs so they can take care for their families. It was not good for those people with disabilities whose conditions did not prevent them from having gainful employment to be held in hospitals, nursing homes or other disabled institutions.
In fact this was not the pest way to care for them. “The potential of persons with disabilities could not be realized simply by trying to ‘rehabilitate’ the individual,” p. 25. Empowering them to help themselves, as opposed to providing total care, was the best way.
So, instead of blaming the disabled for their total reliance on society, the right groups demanded that society look at itself in the mirror, so to say. The fault was not the individual’s.The society was clearly at fault for failing to provide the necessary tools for the disabled to acquire some level of independent living. So, the ADA is largely a civil rights law because it has made it possible for those with disabilities to have equal, fair and just opportunity to fully participate in their society.
It makes it possible for the potential of the disabled to be realized. It has provided a level playing field on which the so-called normal and people with disabilities can compete for opportunities within the society.
Cite this The American with Disabilities Act ADA of 1990
The American with Disabilities Act ADA of 1990. (2018, Jun 07). Retrieved from https://graduateway.com/the-american-with-disabilities-act-ada-of-1990/