It's not just movie theaters, either. When I get on a public bus with my wheelchair, there is a grand total of two spots where I can sit. Both of those spots require that the bus driver ask anyone sitting in those seats to move and then fold up the seats to create space for a wheelchair. People are usually quite annoyed when they are asked to move. It's almost like there's no other spot for them to sit....oh wait, that's me! I don't know of any other minority group that has to force people out of their seats just so they can ride the bus.
And if I'm traveling with, say, my boyfriend, who is a fellow wheelchair user, the absurdity is doubled. Two wheelchair users, two wheelchair spots on the bus. You do the math. There is no room for error, no room for any other wheelchair users. My boyfriend and I have sat at a bus stop and waved two perfectly good buses on without us, because the bus already had one wheelchair user on board. On the flip side, I have seen drivers turn down other wheelchair users at a stop because they already had two wheelchair users taking up the spots. And I have felt an irrational squirm of guilt for taking up one of those precious spots.
Sound familiar? Black people didn't stand for being relegated to the back of the bus. They weren't simply grateful that they could ride the bus at all. They recognized what was happening as segregationist and discriminatory. And they made change happen. Have we become so complacent in the post-ADA generation that we fail to remember that we deserve the same rights as everyone else? Have we become hangers-on, clutching at the coattails of the able, thankful just to be breathing the same air as them?
The power of able privilege is the power of choices. You can sit in this seat or that seat. You can sit in the front of the bus or the back. You can go to that subway station or this one. You can watch this movie or that one, never mind if they have captions or not. You can read that book or this one, regardless of whether the book is available in an alternate format. You have the luxury of moving through a world that presents an endless array of choices to you.
We have fought for and won our rights. Now it's time for the post-ADA generation to take up the mantle of another fight - the fight for the right to have choices.