Recommended Reading

Since I couldn’t do a Rec Reading yesterday – my spoons were needed elsewhere – here’s a bumper edition for today.

Warning: Offsite links are not safe spaces. Articles and comments in the links may contain ableist, sexist, and other -ist language and ideas 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 material like extreme violence/rape; however, your triggers/issues may vary, so please read with care.

Thedeviante at The Deviated Norm: Today In: Things Any Disability Rights Activist Could Tell You

So, people are nosy assholes. Well, let me amend that. Many people think that your body (or your loved one’s body) is totally their business, the second that you (or your loved one) have something that sets you apart from “normal.”

Things that set you apart from “normal” include: being pregnant, having a visible disability, having an invisible disability (and telling people about it), being mentally ill (and telling people about it), being fat, oh, and getting one of the “big” sicks (including our good friend cancer).

Let me tell you a little story.

Nicholas Patrick in The Age: Australias disability laws need critical review

For some four million Australians and their families, a threadbare patchwork of state and federal laws, often ignored international conventions and, an all round lack of understanding make life more challenging than it already is. What’s needed is a complete review of the existing legal framework to ensure that people with disability live lives of dignity and can realise their potential to fully participate in Australian society.

Much newsprint and digital space has been devoted to such issues as wheelchair access on domestic and international flights, mental health in the Northern Territory, and, on Four Corners recently, the dire state of government support for parents of children with disabilities. Other cases, gaining less media attention, such as access to education and electoral rights for voters, are progressing through the courts.

Yet, for all the very real pain and injustice these stories draw on, they are only mountain peaks of public awareness. The state of legal rights for people with disability are, in fact, far worse than even these very serious cases might suggest.

Sarah Burnside at Challenging The Market: Sarah Burnside on market logic and welfare reform

Opposition Leader Tony Abbott drew media attention recently for proposing a “welfare crackdown”, to include compulsory work-for-the-dole schemes and higher threshold for eligibility for disability pensions. With respect to the latter, Abbott proposed a review by the National Audit Office to determine more stringent eligibility rules for the disability pension and suggested that recipients with “less serious medical conditions” be required to undergo annual medical reassessments and sit two interviews each year to “encourage them into employment”. Currently, 700,000 Australians receive the disability pension. Abbott estimates that around one-third of these people have conditions he would class as “less serious”. […]

Second, Abbott’s classification of muscular-skeletal and psychological/psychiatric disabilities as the categories within which “less serious” conditions might be found seems opportunistic. Muscular-skeletal conditions may involve chronic pain which is inherently difficult for external parties to perceive. Similarly, psychological or psychiatric illness is not readily identifiable by bureaucrats seeking to limit entitlements to government benefits.

The nomination of these categories suggests a certain lack of sophistication – if someone’s not in a wheelchair or holding a cane, they must be capable of work.

CBC News: Canada ratifies UN treaty for disabled rights

Canada has ratified the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities on the eve of the Paralympic Games in Vancouver.[…]

However, the convention is about much more than adding wheelchair ramps. It shifts the focus from institutionalizing those with disabilities to housing them in the community and allowing disabled people to challenge in Canadian courts, laws or policies that contravene the international law.

However, the signing did not go ahead without a glitch. The location of the news conference had to be hastily changed when organizers realized the original room was not wheelchair accessible.

NPR: Google Launches Closed Captioning For YouTube [Transcript included]

Google this week introduced closed captioning for the deaf on its YouTube video site. Ken Harrenstien, the lead engineer behind Google’s automatic captioning technology, says that as a deaf person he lobbied his bosses for years to introduce the technology.

WorldNewsVine: Disabled Nigerians Demand Their Rights to Vote

People with disabilities are proposing the creation of the National Commission for Persons with Disabilities Bill in the National Assembly of Nigeria. The proposal has been submitted and under consideration with the Federal Government of Nigeria for almost 4 years, yet nothing has been done by the lawmakers so far.

Speaking on stigma and discrimination against women with disabilities, the National Financial Secretary of Persons with Disability, Miss Bilkisu Ado Zango said that as long as the males in Nigeria are concerned “disabled women are corpses and the living have nothing do with the dead”.

“Women with disabilities face tipple the challenges men with the same conditions experience in Nigeria with regard to education and employment. The society in Northern Nigeria believes that women in general do not need to be educated. Disabled women seeking recognition; therefore might seem an impossible task; however, we believe that we will be able to break through.”

Wired: DARPA Pushes for Fail-Proof Prosthetics

DARPA, the military’s risk-taking research agency, is launching the next phase of its Revolutionizing Prosthetics program, which was started in 2000 with the goal of creating a fully-functioning, neurally-controlled human limb within five years.

BBC: DVD offers crime prevention advice for deaf people

The DVD was devised by Kevin Childs from Gwent Police, who had spent time working with deaf people in the area. He teamed up with the British Deaf Association and made the film featuring two deaf lead characters in various crime prevention scenarios. The film will now be distributed to forces throughout the UK.

Insp Childs said after working with local community groups he had concluded the main challenges were a lack of suitably accessible crime prevention literature and lack of engagement with, and access to, police officers. The DVD offers a variety of visual aid options for users which can be switched on and off as needed, including signing, subtitles in a variety of languages and a facility for lip reading.

ruthtamari at Life Changes: Personal Leadership & Being the Difference

My dream and vision for Toronto, Canada is that the city will be accessible by anyone who uses a wheelchair, scooter, walker, crutches, cane or assistive device. Every curb, entrance, washroom, subway, bus, theatre, restaurant and building would be accessible by everyone. Wouldn’t that be an amazing city to live in? One thing that is sure to promote healthy living, healthy aging, healthy communities and inclusion is having access to whatever you want to do and wherever you choose to go.

SF State University News: Anita Silvers honored for lifetime achievement

Anita Silvers, professor and chair of the Philosophy Department and a nationally recognized advocate for disability rights, was awarded the 2010 Quinn Prize from the American Philosophical Association (APA). […] Disabled by polio as a child, Silvers is a leading advocate for equality for persons with disabilities. Her papers and books have contributed to the legal interpretation of the Americans with Disabilities Act, enacted in 1990. Her groundbreaking and acclaimed monograph, “Disability. Difference. Discrimination: Formal Justice” (1998) is widely cited in legal affairs. “Americans with Disabilities” (2000), which she co-edited with Leslie Pickering Francis, anthologizes essays by other leading philosophers, as well as legal theorists, bioethicists and policymakers on the moral foundations of disability law and policy.

6 thoughts on “Recommended Reading

  1. Having a “less serious condition” or whatever doesn’t mean you’ll be working. You have to be hired. As much as I would love to walk into a business and say, “Hey, I’m working here now, so you have to pay me, kthxbai!” it just doesn’t work like that. I’ve been in and out of various programs that are supposed to help me find a job, but nothing ever panned out for one reason or another. (I can only say I was outright discriminated against once, and that was a pretty bizarre situation. I’ve also just had a streak of bad luck.) I don’t need to be shamed into working, because I would’ve been working a long time ago were wanting to work all I needed to have a job. I need someone to give me a bleeping job already.

  2. The crime prevention DVD for deaf people actually sounds like a really cool idea– on several counts. I particularly like the fact that they realized that, although signing is the primary communication of deaf culture, not all deaf people are able to sign or to fluently understand sign– and so they offer captioning and even lip reading as options.

  3. OMG, I’m having a fanboy moment here because…. my blog post! is in your linked readings! I love you all so much!

    (Is that enough exclamation marks? Because I can totally do more!)

    Seriously though, FWD is awesome. I wish I could be half so awesome as you all manage to be.

  4. yeah, canada can ratify whatever the hell they want while slashing the actually essential services PWD rely on right now. This ratification means shit on the ground when i cant get my pre-made orthotics anymore (which are the reason i can walk right now), when im going to have to live with rotting wisdom teeth bleeding fucking pus into my brain for another three years, when folks with HIV/AIDS dont receive their measly $20/mo for fresh water, when diabetics cant get glucometers, among all the other cuts which will have lasting, real, irreversible impacts. This ratification means precisely shit.

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