-Continuation from blog PinkyGuerrero
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-Personal blog for Janika Banks.
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Thursday, August 9, 2018

A quick look at empowerment and politeness vs hidden disability

So an older gentleman with obviously cancer surviving wife beat me to a powered door out of the building. His wife probably had at least 10 years on me, but he may have assumed I'm much younger like people often do. Bless her heart, she shoved right through that power door without the button like it was soft butter. In my experience, powered doors are much more difficult to open than non powered doors if you don't press the button.

Welp, he saw me coming, snapped into polite male toward female mode, and stepped right in front of that power button and said "You first" with an outstretched gesture. He didn't push the door open, just stood there in front of the power button.

Of course, I'm put on the spot. I had to explain that I appreciate it, but I was in a car accident and can't push the door. It got even more awkward that his wife came back and opened the door for me while he froze up to process.

If you are near a power door and want to be polite, PUSH THE BUTTON.

I do not look like I have a disability. I have spent years with the neurologist in that building over a car accident that shredded soft tissue and left me as crippled as if I were 80 before I was even 20 years old. I look good for my age, yes, but I have spent years in physical therapy getting some of my life back. I depend on power buttons as much as anyone in a wheelchair.

I love that people still try to be nice, but I hope to help people learn to be even nicer. It's so easy to reach out and press a button. No one will pounce you for wasting electricity or looking like a wimp. You don't have to prove anything, and I shouldn't have to apologize and explain my life just to get through a door.

Let's keep evolving, guys. Get past the ablist thinking and use the technology. It's there for reasons and it's time to stop debating whether it's wasteful to use it.

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