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Thursday, October 24, 2013

Reverse Discrimination and the Dilemma of Difference

This case is not specifically about autism per se, but it is a vivid illustration of the "dilemma of difference" that pervades disability issues.  In Phoenix, KSAZ reports:
The Apache ASL Apartments in Tempe on Apache Blvd near Loop 101 is one of the few apartments in the U.S. built specifically for the deaf.

A video phone lets residents ‘talk' with friends. Every unit accommodates a wheelchair. Blinking lights signal the doorbell, disposal and fans.

"It's nice to have a life that's equivalent to other people that are not deaf," says manager Linda Russell.

HUD -- Housing and Urban Development -- spent $2.6 million to help build the project because it helped the deaf.

But now the very federal agency that asked it be built to house the deaf says the complex is guilty of discriminating against people who are not deaf -- and is demanding 75% of the units be rented to those who are not disabled.

"To basically say there are too many disabled people here is just nuts," says Senator Jeff Flake.
See HUD's FAQs on Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act.