Tuesday, November 8, 2011

separate is not equal

After buying glitter tape and binder rings for a scrapbook project, a friend, my roommate, and I went to International House of Pancakes. One of the people who greeted us nodded her head to one of the waiters and said have them sit away from the other customers. This was because we had our well-behaved guide dogs with us. After being seated, it took awhile to order. We realized that absolutely no one had been sitting near us or had been placed in our section after we arrived.
The manager, the same lady who made the comment about us sitting alone, came over to ask if everything was all right. When my roommate said we were concerned that she and the staff weren’t informed on service animals, she said she knew the law, and IHOP held that same standard. In fact, another restaurant where she previously worked, there was a regular group of service dog users. We asked why no one was sitting near us, and she said someone was but changed her mind.
It was as if she were just talking at us and missed the point entirely. Separate accommodations does not mean equal access to services. It didn’t mean that for African Americans before civil rights, and neither should it for disabled people.

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