3 thoughts on “The International Symbol of Acceptance

  1. Wow, I have deep reservations about this one. Humanizing abstract logos is a Good Thing, but I see this as a sentimental, drippy, regressive message. Historically the conflation of “disability” and “heart” was the fertile soil for a charity-funded, pity-based efflorescence, where we were put away or taken care of, not welcomed.

    I know that “heartfelt” is an alternative metaphor for strong conviction, but I’m leery of the proximity of “heart” to other readings. I don’t want my rights and autonomy to be based on someone’s “goodwill” or “toleration” or “big heart.”

    Two experiences that inform this reaction:

    I attended a women’s music festival in northern Michigan. Making a tent-camping city accessible requires a lot of volunteers. I was interested in contributing to that effort. I had experience creating braille and audio information, ASL interpreting training, technical knowledge about transportation issues, and a pretty damn creative approach to solving problems. Their job description: “Strong back and big heart.” O really?

    For decades, disability advocates have attempted to teach public transportation workers how to serve our needs. Ninety percent of the time, these efforts are termed “sensitivity training.” No, thank you very much, I don’t give a flying truck whether you’re sensitive. I want you to call out the bus stops in time for me to get where I’m going, I want you to stop and deploy the ramp so I can board the bus safely.

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