Justice and Disability Final Exam People with disabilities are recognized as one of the largest minority groups within in our nation. Evidently, this is why our society needs to recognize people of disability and in the ways in which we can justly view them. As a community, we need to spread awareness about the growing number of people with disabilities. According to “Disabilities Studies: A New Normal,” the vast number of people with disabilities are growing in significant numbers; this is an imperative reason why our nation needs to be more educated about this minority group (Simon 1). We need to stop the evident barriers that have been causing these limitations, which, in turn, enables segregation amongst people who have acquired a disability. It is likely that all human beings have an impairment of one kind or another. However, many able bodied individuals have this fixed view, which is acquired from their youth through the influence of their peers. They learned from their environment that having an impairment is not the issue, but the structure within society in which they view these people is the problem. Once able-bodied people think of people with disabilities as normal and of having self-worth, then a clear monumental jump for future change within society will take place. However, a societal change does not take place with just one individual enabling it; society as a whole must initiate and stand for people with disabilities. This class in particular has opened my eyes to a different perception on the value of life, and I yearn for a big shift change in society in the hopes of improving the quality of life for all. There are an array of different theories that have contributed to the idea of connecting justice to disabilities, each creating a fundamental justification for the view upon people with disabilities. The reading, “Connecting Justice and Disability,” notes the influential philosophers John Rawls, Nussbaum, Kittay, and Stark all in pursuit of creating their claims about the principles of justice, in terms of people with disabilities (Harley 120). As we look at John Rawls’ writing, he formulated the social contract theory. This theory tended to focus on how problematic people with disabilities are. This is a view we all should all steer away from as a society. As we examine the capabilities approach, composed by Nussbaum, it goes further to shine light on things “beyond the social construct theory,” to a more inclusive society than Rawls had envisioned. Kittay proposed an alternative approach to inclusive justice, which stresses the importance of care to justice. Stark proposes a modified Rawls’ theory, which proposes that fully cooperating persons are considered first when making the social construct. The non- cooperating groups are second, which is still a form of segregation between two groups of the oppressed and the ones being oppressed. All these different theorists penetrated the ideas of creating a more inclusive society, with some being more inclusive than others. However, these individuals have thought about justice for persons with disabilities, which did led these philosophers to raising concerns about the concept of justice itself. By glancing at people’s life experiences, we are able to get a better grasp of what life is like for them and what we should alter in terms of societal changes. One quote that truly embodies this concept is, “nothing about us without us,” coined by James L. Charlton.We need to honor the human realities and experiences that they encounter caused by their impairment. However, the social response of society stigmatized thoughts causes discrimination. According to the reading, “The Myth of Bodily Perfection,” mentions that the dominant culture offers distorted and negative images of disabilities, which discourages most people from acknowledging and accepting their own disabilities (Stone 413). Now, I am going to indulge into a personal story, that depicts the real life issues that people with disabilities face, by not being more welcomed by abled bodied persons. By having a second hand experience from being so close to someone who was handicapped, it allowed me to see how they struggle regularly to “fit” into everyday life that we unjustly created as a society. Throughout the reading, “Reassigning Meaning,” it notes the negative terms that have been expunged from public conversation that are related to people with disabilities; such as cripple, vegetable, and dumb deformed (Linton 161). Not only was he being rejected through word of mouth, but also through constant pitiful eye contact that he always deemed to receive. Even before my father acquired a prosthetic leg, he had to use a wheelchair. Not only did he receive these eyes dawning on him, but he also faced many limitations when entering certain institutions, with his inability to maneuver in and out of these areas. In this situation, many able bodied individuals would think that overcoming a disability would be a goal in mind. By looking at this “issue” as personal triumph over a personal condition. However, this concept belittles the oppressed individual. We should follow the objectives from this quote from “Recovering our Senses Once Labeled As Mentally Ill” which states, “The task is not to become normal. The task to take up your journey of recovery and to become who you are called to be” (Keegan 363). Everyone should learn how to value themselves, as well as being more accepting of others as a society. If we all accomplish this type of mindset, this will in turn generate a more inclusive and accessible places for people with disabilities. By looking at my father’s story, a community should realize the changes that need to be implemented. As I looked at another issue that my father faced, I realized that he was not welcomed back into his job environment; hence, he faced unemployment. Examining the “History of Disability Rights Movements,” it states that Title I of the ADA prohibits private employers, state and local governments, employment agencies and labor unions from discriminating against qualified individuals with disabilities in job application procedures, hiring, firing, advancement, compensation, job training, and other terms, conditions, and privileges of employment. However, this legislature is loosely exercised by the government. The problem is also demonstrated clearly within the employer’s stigmatized misperceptions that influenced the hiring within each workplace. Even with this being said, this act can still be beneficial to people with disabilities as it establishes key modifications that we can enact into every workplace to make for a more unison place for everyone, not just able bodies. A whole community comes together by taking this legislature more seriously to create an influential movement for people with disabilities. A place in particular that made it their mission to accommodate the needs of people with people of disabilities was the Office of Disabilities at James Madison University. Their constant effort is to reduce barriers in classrooms and other university facilities, by creating physical access accommodations. They also provide assistive technology that includes hardware, such as an adapted mouse, larger monitor, or adapted and keyboard. These devices assist people with physical impairments and are some of the many accommodations that are made to meet the individual needs of students. The format of their interior was a place that every institution should create. However, the environment of my service learning at Cat’s Cradle was the opposite of accessible. The first thing that dawned on me was how inaccessible the space was. Immediately, it was evident by the skinny doors, one after another. These doors were so close in diameter, that it would even be difficult for an able person to walk in and out of these doors. I immediately thought of a disabled person in a wheelchair trying to maneuver throughout this premises. The low amount of accommodations in this area is not adequate for most people with disabilities. More institutions such as the Office of Disabilities, should be facilitated in every type of environment to accomplish the goal of having a just community. The difference between these two institutional areas depicted the key accessible accommodations that every place should embody and what we should ultimately steer away from. One of our guest speakers, Gayl Brunk, came into our classroom, and she immediately started to promote an environment that removes barriers to pave a way for independence throughout our community. She works for VAIL, a non profit organization that endorses all services in the community that are geared toward keeping people with disabilities as independent as possible in their own homes and out of institutions. All these hands-on experiences helped to formulate in my mind to ways I could help better our community. Ultimately, it enabled me to spread the message of keeping an inclusive society. As I evaluate myself from the beginning of this class to where I am currently, I feel that I am a completely different person; more importantly, I am an individual who is eager to make a difference in my community. My aim is to make for a more inclusive society for all, through the abundance of different resources and class activities that we explored in depth throughout this semester. My perception of the value of life has changed for the better. I grew a great deal as an individual, and, for me, that is the most crucial part of this class. Even though I am one person, I can still make a difference in this world by spreading the information that I acquired from this class. Consequently, I can make a stance for people of disabilities, which is the objective goal at task that needed to be accomplished throughout this semester.