From my new column in Taki’s Magazine:
… In the 1990s, perhaps the most visible set of changes mandated by the Americans with Disabilities Act was the construction of a vast number of wheelchair ramps and other accessibility accommodations such as curb cuts.
When the dust finally settled, the ramps had proved useful to far more Americans than just the relatively limited number in wheelchairs. The new ramps around old staircases were a boon to mothers pushing baby carriages, workmen delivering heavy loads on dollies, and frequent fliers with the new wheeled luggage.
… Why didn’t we build ramps for mothers pushing baby carriages in the 1970s and 1980s? Why did moms benefit only as an accidental by-product of society’s concern for the new identity politics? To my mind, mothers pushing baby carriages should rank up near the top of society’s priorities. But instead their needs don’t seem to come up much. Mothers with babies simply aren’t seen in modern America as one of the recognized groups whose rights must be protected from discrimination, so nobody much noticed that they’d benefit from ramps to get around staircases.
Paradoxically, the fact that it’s normal and healthy to think that we ought to look out for mothers with babies is why we didn’t. In post-civil-rights America, new mothers didn’t seem enough like victims of oppression and stigma in the past to be given more accommodations to make their lives better in the present.
Read the whole thing there.