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The Problem with Standards -- Advocating Disability Awareness -- A Philosophy of Inclusion

Updated: 17 hours ago

A man standing beside a mansion

The Hidden Struggles of Content Creation

When it comes to work, including this very site, the problem with standards is not necessarily with the the people doing as best as they can, but with others who are not aware of the hidden aspects of their lives. Of course, this assumes that some people really do try to deliver the best result they can... Which is less than 10 percent of employees, according to Forbes.

Why can't some of them have a disability, by the way? Despite the fact that only less than a quarter of the disabled (According to Fast Company)?

Imagine a disabled content creator. Their disability may prevent them from reaching the same output or speed as an "average" person, as disability can hinder work. Yet, readers, followers, and customers might ignore or disregard these personal difficulties because they hold all workers and content creators to a universal standard. Hence why my philosophy on it is very ruthless, too, highlighting the increased, often unnecessary adversity disabled people need to endure.

And wheras people choose to be intimidated by struggle, we can, even as disabled, to confront them head on, gaining an opportunity at honing our spirit for greater strength!

Regardless, this universality of standards breeds unfair expectations that not anyone has enough determination to overcome. Imagine a content creator facing condemnation for not complying with standard content creation, simply because they have a disability or any other challenge that makes meeting average demands difficult:

However, why is the content provider expected to be at a disadvantage because of something beyond their control? Much of disability has to do with lack of accessibility. Increase relevent accessibility, and you can make some people's lives a lot more sufferable! According to the Social Model of Disability (Ulster University):

It is society or the environment that is disabling the individual rather than their impairment or difference. For example, videos without subtitles disadvantage anyone watching in a noisy environment, but they disadvantage deaf people all the time.
[For example] by raising awareness of the key barriers to information access and tackling these barriers at source, the [Ulster] University will make great progress in developing a fluid and accessible information landscape where information is accessible to all.

If the social model of disability is correct, shouldn't standards be adaptable to individual circumstances? Shouldn't we value the quality of work over, and understand that some people struggle more than others? Understanding Stephen Hawking's quote is important for this article:

By acknowledging the unseen struggles faced by content creators, we can move towards a more inclusive and understanding online experience. This can apply to any work, and even outside the professional world. This benefits everyone: Creators and workers who can focus on their strengths, and audiences and other consumers who gain access to diverse, high-quality content/services.

Why Disability Shouldn't Limit Your Voice

People do not choose to be born with or to acquire any disability or disadvantage throughout their lives. Likewise, people do not get injured for the intention of becoming acquired savants. Yet, disabled people get unnecessary hindrances and "glass ceilings" in their way, despite their potential. To quote a COBSinsights article:

Disabled people face a significant and enduring disadvantage in the labour market. They are over-represented in low-skilled and low-status jobs, are more likely to work in jobs for which they are overqualified, and have poorer access to career progression and training opportunities. They also report lower work-related wellbeing and lower job satisfaction than their non-disabled counterparts.

This dismissal across organizations, unncessarily ignores the unseen struggles faced by many, particularly those with hidden disabilities.

As a writer with on the autism spectrum I understand this frustration intimately. Being a bit "lighter" on the spectrum, I act almost entirely like a neurotypical as my education instructed me. However, my "neurotypical" behavior can contribute to people's confirmation bias, decreasing success of them understanding my hatred for most human sounds and my partial face blindness.

The response to such limitations can be disheartening, as well as tiring. I largely abstain from physical society because I've no desire to lecture people with basic info they can research themselves. Explaining my disability to justify falling short of perceived standards is a frustrating burden, and I derive no joy from it. It shouldn't be my job to constantly educate people about the invisible spectrum of disability. Blindness or wheelchairs are not the only qualifiers for one to be disabled in some way. Many seemingly "normal" individuals face similar challenges.

This insistence on universal standards is absurd, because it's like expecting all birds to fly, only to scold at the penguins. Humans and their experiences are diverse, and so are their uses.

Furthermore, communication limitations don't equate to bad writing, just like physical limitations don't make one a bad walker. As long as you communicate to an effective degree, and manage to reach your destinaton on time, there shouldn't be much problems, even if you may require the relevant "crutches" for each task.

The root of the problem is the "one size fits all" mentality. Anyone who deviates from the expected standard can be judged as inadequate, unless they are deemed privilaged, and therefore exempt. Hardships and disabilities are ignored or dismissed using the strawman's fallacy. The binary of social perception, then, becomes "normal/excellent" vs. "normal/awful."

Let's consider the possibility that unseen limitations might prevent someone from meeting expectations, despite the skill, or even genius, that they have. Obviously, these limitations don't necessarily imply a lack of skill or intelligence, but rather a hidden disabilities or special needs. When they are relevent to their struggle, they've no reason to be considered excuses. They may be "excuses" for bad behavior. They can be legitimate reasons for you to struggle climbing the stairs.

Disability is a vast spectrum. It's estimated that around a billion of global population is disabled, with population growth increasing its rate. Given that disability is not an active choice, and can come from genetics, condemnation should never be based on disability. That's regardless of how known or unknown it is in normative society.

All it takes is a moment to consider the possibility of unseen factors beyond someone's control, and to inquire about it. Knowledge is power partly because it can help reduce agony. Develop a learning mindset could help break stigma and increase accessibility, saving much strife in the process, caused by ignorance.

Despite limitations, I've written, renovated and edited countless articles, both by myself and by others. My journey, although shaped by disability, doesn't diminish the value I bring to the table. And in philosophy, it's the inclusion of ideas that matter, with people merely being their suppliers. Discard others for discriminatory reasons, ableism included, and you will hinder the productive exchange of ideas.

Let's move beyond rigid standards and embrace the diverse voices and experiences that disabilities bring to the world -- both the offline and the online ones.

I am genuinely exhausted from being blamed for things that are not my fault, such as being born with special needs. I understand the need to continously improve, and as such I sacrificed much sleep to turn Philosocom more and more into the vision I have for it. The last thing I want to do is to use my disabilities as an excuse to not bring my readers the content I believe they deserve by coming here.

Much of what need to do is raise awareness of the "hidden" disabilities that exist in humanity. In return these unjust condemnations will hopefully stop over time, as we stop being so judgemental over things we actually know little about, or have more to learn.

Bonus: Treat the Disabled Like Human Beings!

When approaching a disabled person, the focus should be on inclusion and respect rather than having a specific set of standards for people with disabilities. Here's a good approach:

  • See the Person First: Treat people with disabilities as individuals with unique strengths and needs, not defined by their disability. People are more than their disability, the same as they are more than their ethnicity or country of origin.

Mr. Nathan Lasher's Feedback

Since when is having standards a negative thing? I mean I create them for people once I get to know them. I know what their potential is capable of. If someone isn’t living up to their own level of standards then that is where I see problems.
I have first hand experience with pseudo intellectuals holding people to their own standards of how they think a job should be done.
People who think they are super smart all because they are good at a relatively easy job: “If it is this easy for me it must be easy for other people". The people who are good at simple jobs hold others to the standards that they should be good at as well. People hold other people to higher standards based upon how easy it is for them.
Content creation need not be complicated. Really all it is, is recording experiences and getting what is in your head out into the world. Think about it. If your content can reach and change one person's life then it has done its purpose. Content creation is a form of information exchange. Don’t worry about bad feedback from individuals who aren’t in your target market. The naysayers who are criticizing content which wasn’t intended for them. Remember to ignore the negative people who aren’t giving quality reviews of things. 
I don’t hold people to macro standards. I hold them to micro. Meaning I hold them to the standards I know they are capable of. I get a little surprised when I hear about someone, who I know can do better, struggling to complete certain tasks. Most of the time it isn’t because the task is hard. It usually has to do with them not understanding how to do it.
So, I find it better to just live with this bias and remember not everyone is as gifted as savants, and as such, people generally don’t understand everything there is to understand. In the case where I have no idea, I have an attitude.:“I have no idea yet let's figure this out!”
The problem with universal standards is that they assume everyone is of equal intelligence and ability. Remember that life is diverse and involves knowing how to do a lot. Be more realistic with people and if you see them doing something wrong remember it is in an individual case and you happen to see them doing something they aren’t as familiar with. Even if it isn’t a successful attempt, remember the most important thing: The fact that they tried.
Most people will scold people for their actions not being to the level of quality a person thinks they should be. They happen to catch them at times where they might be new to that particular thing. Where you must hold people to individual standards? Not everyone is going to be as good at something as you are, considering you have been doing it for way longer than that person. 
You should never see yourself as disabled. All disabilities are roadblocks, meaning you have to try another way to complete the action. If you are in a wheelchair you might use a regular person to help you reach stuff on the top shelves of cabinets. A wheelchair might require you to start shelving things lower. All the disability did was make you find another way to do the same action.

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Tomasio A. Rubinshtein, Philosocom's Founder & Writer

I am a philosopher from Israel, author of several books in 2 languages, and Quora's Top Writer of the year 2018. I'm also a semi-hermit who has decided to dedicate his life to writing and sharing my articles across the globe. Several podcasts on me, as well as a radio interview, have been made since my career as a writer. More information about me can be found here.

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