Activists for the visually impaired scored a victory last week when the U.S. Department of Justice ruled that Amazon's Kindle e-reader should not be used in college classrooms until the company creates a truly "blind-friendly" version (one is due this summer). Meanwhile, some commentators claim that barring the device from the classroom is unfair to sighted students. Is the Justice Department's ruling politically correctness gone awry?
The Justice Department overstepped its bounds: None of the schools involved in this case attempted to make Kindle usage "mandatory," says Todd G. at Student Stuff. So why is the government getting involved? By telling universities what they "can and can’t 'recommend' to students," the Justice Department is encouraging similarly frivolous complaints.
"The Kindle meets its toughest critics: the blind"
Don't discount the blinds' concerns so quickly: Advocates for the visually impaired make a good point, says gadget blog Geek with Laptop. Yes, Kindle "may go down in history as the device that brought digital books out of the realms of sci-fi." But the device "still has a long way to go" before it's perfect. And that won't happen "until someone learns to accomodate every reader’s needs and freedoms."
"Amazon Kindles up a little controversy"
Using Kindle could be a learning experience: Plenty of high-tech devices require special accommodations for disabled students, says Rico Mossesgeld at EveryJoe's Gadget Blog. Rather than take the Kindle away from sighted students, why not involve them in assisting their visually-impaired peers? That way, the allegedly "discriminatory" Kindle could provide a valuable learning experience for everyone.
"Using the Kindle in class hurts the blind"
THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER
- 43 TV shows to watch in 2014
- The latent sexism of the male marriage proposal
- Bush vs. Clinton in 2016 is the perfect way to make millennials hate politics even more
- This judge is the reason we're still fighting over net neutrality
- How to be the most productive person in your office — and still get home by 5:30 p.m.
- The hilarious hypocrisy of Republicans complaining about the imperial presidency
- After Ferguson: Stop deferring to the cops
- 10 things you need to know today: November 28, 2014
- The week's best photojournalism
- Is it now OK to have sex with animals?
Subscribe to the Week