Home > Civil Rights, Disability Rights, Stupid Lawyer Tricks > Stupid Lawyer Tricks: ADA Defense Stupidity

Stupid Lawyer Tricks: ADA Defense Stupidity

An animated response to all the invective-filled, garment-rending articles about lawsuits against businesses that violate the ADA.  As with my earlier attempt, I think I succeeded only in cracking myself up.   Call it Animation Therapy.   Try it:  http://www.xtranormal.com

Couple of notes.  I love how the animated gestures are almost as awkward as the gestures I generate naturally.  On the other hand, I’m very disappointed that I could not make the automated voice render the word “law-nerd.”  This is a significant gap in the Xtranormal program.  And because I can overthink anything, I feel a tiny bit odd that my alter ego is African-American.  (Of COURSE she’s my alter-ego.  What did you think?)  Felt odd as in “in a post about civil rights what right do I have to speak from an African-American perspective?”  Truth is, of the characters available from Xtranormal in this set, I identified strongly with the obviously coffee-related superpower and did not think a minor difference in skin color should stop me.  In addition, my Caucasian choices were rather limited.  This one was not alter enough of an alter-ego:

This one perhaps TOO alter:

We’ve previously established that I’m no superhero in the kitchen.

And I basically didn’t know wtf this was:

So Super Coffee Woman it is!   Superpowers include:  high caffeine tolerance; overthinking; snark; wasting time she should be working playing with online animation programs.

  1. Dan
    January 1, 2011 at 12:37 pm | #1

    Go CoffeeGurl! Even a dumb musician can tell that these other lawyers, represented by Mr. Dweeb, are pieces of work. Go get ‘em, Cous!

  2. Ginny
    January 1, 2011 at 3:45 pm | #2

    I love your movies.

  3. Phil
    January 1, 2011 at 3:57 pm | #3

    Why is the lawyer portrayed as an able-bodied, white male? And what is with “dweeby-guy”? Why are you using a gender-specific pejorative to describe this character? You seem to be just as bigoted and prejudiced as the people you purport to rail against. Smarten up; you do everyone a disservice by propagating your own narrow-minded and sexist view of the world.

  4. January 1, 2011 at 8:58 pm | #4

    I wonder why I assume that an able-bodied, white male is upset about the rest of us enjoying what he describes as “propagating your own narrow-minded and sexist view of the world.” The history of ‘Western Civilization’ reflects a bit of narrow-minded and sexist propagation of a certain view of the world that has lead us into an economic melt-down currently and has not been a picnic for the rest of us to live with for centuries. I’m just sayin’ … lots of us are smarten’d up already.
    On the other hand, you have a valid point. Some of us do have strong negative stereotypes of some people who we might otherwise enjoy meeting over a friendly table with beautiful food. Please check in advance for accessibility.

  5. Phil
    January 2, 2011 at 12:25 am | #5

    Your assumption of an able-bodied, white male is in error. I’ve been living with a significant physical disability since I was a young child; and my experience has been that I have encountered more prejudice, stereotyping and ignorance from non-whites and women than I ever have from white males. The point is that racism, sexism and ableism are two edged swords; you can’t be taken seriously in opposition to them if you choose to practice them yourself

  6. January 2, 2011 at 8:44 am | #6

    I love this. I loved the first one better “I don’t care”. Thanks so much.

  7. Ginny
    January 2, 2011 at 12:45 pm | #7

    I don’t wonder that Ms Fox’s depiction of the average lawyer in white, male and not well informed about ADA law. If you look at the statistics below, you will see why. The lawyers opposing Ms. Fox in her litigation would be overwhelmingly white, male and from law firms practicing corporate or real estate law. Given the distribution of disabling conditions in the overall population, ADA lawyers would be representing women and minorities fairly often.

    I am a member of several minority communities and find the attitudes toward people with disabilities in those communities to be compassionate and supportive. Perhaps it is that families in those communities overwhelmingly personally care for their members who are disabled since both cultural influences and financial status make that more likely. See the website below. I am sorry that has not been Phil’s experience.

    To settle the issue, I would suggest that Ms. Fox characterize her legal opponents as sexless, colorless, alien creatures. Of course they would be hard to see.

    If any of you want to provide factual comments about this topic, go to the US Census Bureau website and compute away.

    http://new.abanet.org/marketresearch/PublicDocuments/cpsaat11.pdf

    According to this document on the American Bar Association website there were, in 2008, 1,014,000 lawyers in the US. Of that number, 34.4 % of that total were women. Of the total number of lawyers, 88.7% were classified as white.

    For more data, see:

    http://new.abanet.org/marketresearch/Pages/StatisticalResources.aspx

    http://www.census.gov/population/www/pop-profile/disabil.html

    “Disability

    JOHN McNEIL

    About 49 million Americans have a disability.

    Based on information collected from the Survey of Income and Program Participation (SIPP) during the last 3 months of 1991 and the first month of 1992, the number of persons with a limitation in a functional activity or a social role was 48.9 million. The number with a severe disability (unable to perform one or more activities or roles) was 24.1 million. These estimates exclude persons living in institutions.

    Disability rates vary by age, sex, race, and ethnicity.

    The overall disability rate was 19.4 percent, but the rate ranged from 5.8 percent for children under 18 years old, to 13.6 percent for persons 18 to 44 years old, to 29.2 percent for persons 45 to 64 years old, and to 53.9 percent for persons 65 years old and over. Among persons of all ages, the rate was 18.7 percent for males and 20.2 percent for females. Differences by gender are affected by differing age patterns. The longer life expectancy of women means that women make up a relatively large share of older persons with a disability (64.2 percent of persons 65 years old and over with a severe disability are women).

    Within the age category of 15 to 64 years, the prevalence of disability was low for Asians and Pacific Islanders (9.6 percent) and high for American Indians, Eskimos, and Aleuts (26.9 percent). The rate was 17.7 percent among Whites, 20.8 percent among Blacks, and 16.9 percent among persons of Hispanic origin.1 ”

    http://minorityhealth.hhs.gov/templates/browse.aspx?lvl=2&lvlID=10

    • Tim
      January 2, 2011 at 12:53 pm | #8

      “To settle the issue, I would suggest that Ms. Fox characterize her legal opponents as sexless, colorless, alien creatures. Of course they would be hard to see.”

      Well said (and hilarious).

    • January 3, 2011 at 5:46 am | #9

      For the record, Super Coffee Woman is Ms. Robertson, not Ms. Fox. Ask me how I know. (I’m her mom.)

  8. January 2, 2011 at 1:06 pm | #10

    Thanks for all the comments. Thanks especially to Phil for providing my first really seriously negative comment. I feel like a real blogger now! For what it’s worth, both of the characters are lawyers, one for the plaintiffs (my alter-ego, Super Coffee Woman), one for the defense (Dweeby Guy). I explained how I came to select my alter-ego in the post. Most of our opposing counsel are dweeby white guys, so that character is a statistically accurate representation of the goofballs who have made the absurd statements in the animation.

    Tim and I were so amused by the comment that we went back and counted. Of the stupid defenses in the animation, two were made by parties represented by women and two by parties represented by minorities, though in those cases, each party also had white male lawyers as well. The remainder were made — often over and over in different cases — by white men.

    Also for the record, my experience is that all genders and ethnicities are compassionate, clueless, and dweeby in more or less equal measure.

  9. Phil
    January 2, 2011 at 8:27 pm | #11

    I am really surprised at the level of discourse my post has engendered. By contending that the negative depiction of white males is justified because it is “statistically” accurate is completely indefensible. For example, I work with children suffering from fetal alcohol spectrum disorder. For a number of reasons the largest percentage of these children are Native North Americans. Would I be justified in characterizing all native people as abusers of alcohol simply because I can attest to some statistics that back up this stereotype? How is this any different?
    I’m not a big fan of derogatory characterizations regardless of the context. Labelling people as “dweeby” or “goofballs” is a thoughtless and demeaning practice. I am sure the lawyers you have been involved with have a host of un-sympathetic and belittling monikers they readily assign to you as well. Unfortunately language can have an enormous impact on both how we view others and how we view ourselves. Fostering and perpetuating stereotypes is wrong, I don’t care how virtuously you set yourself up to do it.

  1. January 28, 2012 at 8:36 am | #1

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 248 other followers

%d bloggers like this: