Recommended Reading for January 30th

Warning: Offsite links are not safe spaces. Articles and comments in the links may contain ableist, sexist, and other -ist language of varying intensity. Opinions expressed in the articles may not reflect the opinions held by the compiler of the post. I attempt to provide extra warnings for certain material present in articles, but your triggers/issues may vary.

blind man at work in call centreThe Big Picture: At Work, Part II, Photo 24

Photo caption: A visually impaired man works at a hi-tech call center in Moscow, Russia on December 18, 2009. Once encouraged to take dreary factory-line jobs making electric plugs and curlers, blind people in Moscow now have a new option: working at a hi-tech call center. The center in northern Moscow employs almost 1,000 blind and visually impaired people, a bold experiment in a nation where people with disabilities can struggle to find interesting jobs – or indeed any job at all.

Photo description: The photo shows a man in profile, wearing large headphones, leaning close to three or four flat screen monitors. He seems to be typing. The monitor displays four words in very large font. The room is dim, so the man is seen in silhouette.

IP at Modus dopens: De-centering non-disability

At my university, certain kinds of reasonable adjustments are considered reasonably “standard” for disabled students. These are things like getting extra time on exams, or having your classes specially timetabled in accessible buildings.

Wait a minute, did I just say “extra time”? “Specially”? Compared to what?

Ricky Buchanan at ATMac: Accessibility and the iPad: First Impressions

So what’s new with the iPad which is relevant to assistive technology and use by people with disabilities?


The iPad is bigger. I know this is obvious, but the implications are that people motor control problems such as cerebral palsy may be able to use this device more easily than the smaller ones, as less very fine motor control is needed for many tasks.

[Also covered: External keyboard, Speakers, Simple interface, and the existing iPhone accessibility features.]

PortlyDyke at Shakesville: Watch Your Mouth – Part 3: Use Your Big-Kid Thesaurus

[…] — but there is one thing I deeply dislike — [Rachel Maddow’s] continuing use of the words “lame” and “lame-itude” as an idiom for “bad”. I even wrote to her about it (gently, civilly).

At first, I thought my reaction to her use of this term was me “just” being offended by the ablism demonstrated (which would have been enough) — but I realized later that another thing that grated on me was that she seemed to me to be using this ablist term in order to sound cool. There is just something about the emphasis she uses when she says it that rings to me of the 11th-grader who’s trying to get in with the popular kids. It seems out of place in the midst of her usual Rhodes-Scholar presentation, and it jars the hell out of me every single time. I want to say to her: “Rachel, you’re the first out news-lesbian headlining her own show on a major network. You’re cool enough already.”

Access for All: Nothing about us without us: the European parliament drives forward disability rights

On 27 January 2009, the renewed Disability Intergroup of the European Parliament and the European Disability Forum toasted the New Year in Brussels at a very well-attended event. The new President of the Intergroup – for the first time a person with a disability himself, – and the disability movement presented the Disability Pact to a hundred of activists and 20 MEPs from various political groups and nationalities.

stevefromsacto at calitics: How Low We Have Sunk

A homecare provider from San Diego told legislators yesterday how she and her client–a quadriplegic Vietnam veteran–were threatened and harrassed by a fraud investigator from the state.

The Consumerist: Continental Gate Agent Tells Passenger She Thinks Her Mental Illness Is Fake [includes description of anxiety attack]

She gets on the phone with reservations and looks at my papers – and then has the audacity to say that my doctor’s note looks like a fake and, since it was dated in December, it must be an old note and, therefore, not applicable anymore. She asks me what my disability is, since it’s not apparent to her, which, according to the ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act), she can not technically ask. She mentions to the reservations desk, in a low voice that I was not suppose to hear, that she doubts my disability.

10 thoughts on “Recommended Reading for January 30th

  1. Thanks for that, Caitlin. A good collection of links (though I agree, some sad and angrymaking).

  2. You’re welcome, Jennifer. 🙂 (Though the link has been corrected in the entry now, I see.)

  3. Would it be too bizarre to ask for a trigger warning for anxiety on that last link? The description of a panic attack was really graphic and almost triggered one in me, and I don’t have them very often.

  4. Rachel Maddow shouldn’t use the word “lame”–but only because it is ableist, not because it sounds like “an 11th-grader.” I think it’s kind of weird to criticize someone’s language because you think they sound too casual or too much like a kid, and not like a Rhodes Scholar. Rachel Maddow is a Rhodes Scholar, so she talks like a Rhodes Scholar by definition. I don’t watch her show so I’ve only heard her talk a few times, but if I remember right, she used words like “dude” that are on a similar level of casualness and stereotypical age group with “lame.” So “lame” isn’t the only “non-big-kid word” that she uses. She seems like a casual/”young” speaker in general.

    I know this seems like a tangent but (with the disclaimer that I’m not that familiar with Rachel Maddow) I think it’s ableist to associate word choice with mental age or intelligence level–“use your big-kid thesaurus.” In the Shakesville post, PortlyDyke talks about the different word choices she uses to fit in in certain situations. But not everyone can do that. For example, even though I know all the words other people are using in my classes, it’s hard for me to talk in the the “big kid” style that they’re using, and I often get mistaken for joking because the words or phrases that I use are too simple or blunt, even if the content of what I say is the same as what other people say. I’m sure that Rachel Maddow isn’t in the same situation as me, but I just don’t think there is a point to saying that certain words are “jarring” for an intellectual to use, or “sound like an 11th-grader trying to impress someone.”

  5. How disgusting. That woman at Continental should be fired for her treatment of Ms. Ferreri. It makes me sick to think of how many other people she has abused with her position. What a flaming asshole.

    Ferreri is actually an old online friend of mine, so seeing this here minorly blew my mind. This is horrible – I’m going to check in with her this week to see how she’s doing.

  6. Interesting comment discussion (with some fail here and there) at the link about the Continental fiasco about when disabilities clash – specifically someone who is allergic to cats being on the same plane with someone who needs one for psychiatric reasons. I find these kinds of questions interesting myself – sometimes my own disabilities clash with one another!

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