I am totally fed up with this new custom of awarding the underpriviledged more than the reasonable. I mean, of course we all have the serious responsibility of eliminating all kind of barriers –physical, psychological, academic, labour–; in short, to guarantee equal opportunities for the handicapped.
By extension, we tend to include here all kind of groups susceptible of suffering any sort of abuse, either concious or unconciously. I am talking not only about disabled, but also children, the poor, the young, foreigners, especially from Third World countries, women, the elderly and so on.
I absolutely agree and support the need to protect people in severe risk of exclusion in any situation, but to reach a real even level. The problem is... what if the undertaken measures become so powerful and convincing that instead of securing equality of rights they provide the underpriviledged with more than the rest?
Theorizing is easy and not very down-to-earth. Let’s try to present some clarifying examples. Think of criminals. Here in Spain they’ve got a chance to rehabilitate. If they show cooperative skills and collaboration, they are offered a assembly-line kind of post, inside the prison. Inmates are not paid much –no more than 400 euros– but taking into account that they don’t pay for the “accommodation”or the “meals, and that there are around 6 million unemployed out there all over the country, maybe their reinsertion is a luxury we can’t afford.
Official posts are another field of great controversy. Exams to get a permanent job are hard, especially because the rate of applicants per post is considerably high. In these cases, some vacants are reserved for people with a certain physical disability. This is all very nice, but a lame person has mucho more chances to become a civil servant than the average guy. Preserving park spaces for reduced-mobility people is one thing, and offering them access to a post with over-exaggerated assets in proportion to the rest of mortals is a very different one.
We must tend to equality of rights and opportunities, not to over-award those with less possibilities, because at the end becoming a handicapped –if the disability is not very accused– seems better than having nothing to declare and benefit from. Solidarity sometimes turns into counter-abusing from the part of the weak. Be aware of that, and try not to be harm by the rules.