So, we love local businesses. Because we live downtown we frequent them almost exclusively. But we admit we kind of screwed around with them at last weekend’s Stairbomb (pictures of which can be seen here). Most people we talked to were unfazed, bemused or guiltily–but inactively–peeved by our little prank. But we realize some people may have been pretty angry at the whole petty-vandalism thing. In fact, Clara got an email yesterday from someone we won’t name who was pretty seriously annoyed that the yellow tape may have cost him some dineros. Because we think other business owners might feel similarly, here is the response we sent to our sole complainant, reproduced here for any angry victims stumbling across our website in fitful Stairbomb-induced rages. (Words in quotations were lifted directly from his very emotional email.)
“Thanks for taking the time to express your concerns about this weekend’s Stairbombing. We’d like you to know that the intention of the Stairbomb was not to target individuals or business but rather inaccessibility and ignorance on the whole.
But frankly, we found your email offensive and degrading. Not only did you belittle the cause of disability rights to instead focus on your own indignation at having to be asked why your business isn’t accessible (just answer…if you’ve tried, as you say, this question isn’t difficult to answer…in fact, it can make you come off looking like a GOOD person). You also drew into question our own awareness of issues that are a huge part of our lives–Jeff really doesn’t have a choice to never have read accessibility laws. He is doing a doctorate on policies that mandate disabled life in Canada. For you, they only mean maybe you can’t put in a ramp until the laws have changed. For Jeff, the laws govern every facet of his existence. Understand?
But above all, what we found most disturbing about your email was your insistence that you are the victim here. Yes, we’re sure it was uncomfortable for you to answer questions about why your storefront is not accessible, or to fret about the customers you imagine you lost because of some yellow tape. Comparatively, though, I find it difficult to feel your pain.
Because Jeff cannot access a majority of small businesses in this city, I do not feel sorry for you. Because Jeff and I must choose restaurants based on whether he can get in and not the quality of the meal, I do not feel sorry for you. Because it’s nearly impossible for Jeff to find gainful employment at an accessible location, I do not feel sorry for you. Because Jeff and I cannot visit the majority of our friends in their inaccessible homes, I do not feel sorry for you. Because people feel entirely comfortable placing financial concerns over inclusivity of disabled people, I do not feel sorry for you. Because Jeff has been systematically excluded from being a welcome part of his community, I do not feel sorry for you.
So if you have felt targeted, humiliated, “victimized”, “embarassed”, “misrepresented”, or “maligned”, then perhaps, for a few moments on Tuesday, you maybe knew what it was like to live life with a disability.
Thanks for your time,
– Clara & Jeff”