Recommended Reading for Wednesday, 21 April

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 and links are provided as topics of interest and exploration only. I attempt to provide extra warnings for material like extreme violence/rape; however, your triggers/issues may vary, so please read with care.

A stack of Braille and large print recipe cards for what appears to be salsa; part of the recipe is covered but ingredients like cilantro and papaya are visible.

(Photo by Flickr user cobalt123, Creative Commons license.)

The Winston-Salem Journal: Against Their Will: North Carolina’s Sterilization Program

They were wives and daughters. Sisters. Unwed mothers. Children. Even a 10-year-old boy. Some were blind or mentally retarded. Toward the end they were mostly black and poor. North Carolina sterilized them all, more than 7,600 people.

For more than 40 years North Carolina ran one of the nation’s largest and most aggressive sterilization programs. It expanded after World War II, even as most other states pulled back in light of the horrors of Hitler’s Germany.

Contrary to common belief, many of the thousands marked for sterilization were ordinary citizens, many of them young women guilty of nothing worse than engaging in premarital sex.

This is an amazing multipart series which unfortunately they decided to make inaccessible via Flash/frames. For those who can access it, it is well worth a read.

pocochina at The Raging Prosecutrix: It’s just like Christmas! Another round of feminist generational sniping!

Both articles flagrantly miss the most important point which can be gleaned from the article – CRAPPY GODDAMN REPORTING, which is a part of the knee-jerk non-liberalism of the media in general and anti-feminist backlash reporting to be specific, which ends up compounding the issue the reporter was pretending to highlight – and instead focus on that ever-popular group which just has it so fucking good in the world, older women.  Both posts include a blatant call for the middle-aged women running organizations to step aside, solely because they are older, and therefore completely incapable of relating to or respecting younger women.

Jessica Yee guest posting at Feministe: Making the connections: Sexual Violence in Native Communities

The other important reason I can’t ignore the incidence of violence is because as an Indigenous person I come from a culture and a people who believe that EVERYTHING is related – and we take that teaching seriously. So moreover I can’t say, “well sexual health and violence is over here, but you know the environment department is over there” because if I continue to do that, SOMEONE is always going to lose out and as a young person I have a responsibility to the upcoming generations to make sure we don’t do that.

An update on the case Annaham mentioned last week: Los Angeles Times: Disabled mother of triplets, Abbie Dorn, visitation rights

Lisa Helfend Meyer, Abbie Dorn’s attorney, argued that Paul and Susan Cohen, Abbie’s parents and conservators, have a right to make decisions on her behalf; stripping them of that ability leaves Abbie without anyone to speak for her.

Other court cases have upheld conservators’ rights to determine medical care for people who have been declared incompetent, including terminating feeding tubes, an action that hastens death.

“If a conservator can do that, then why shouldn’t a conservator make a decision to pursue visitation?” Meyer asked. “It’s a fundamental right. Abbie is alive. She is entitled to pursue visitation. If she is denied the opportunity, she is denied equal protection under the law.”

Irina Nelson at The Scottish Sun: Blind fury (got to love the headline, right?)

Sally Clay, 30, claims she was told by two doormen in Dundee that her special cane was “too dangerous”.

But when plucky Sally read the riot act she says they then told her and her friends the Underground club’s insurance “did not cover blind people”.

Anthony Lane at the Colorado Springs Independent: Pueblo doctor sees no rest for the needed in Haiti

So the situation is dire, with the rainy season starting and hurricane season still to come. And yet Smith, 55, is already starting to see a replay of the cycle he has observed in nearly 10 years of doing medical work in Haiti.

“You get a lot of attention,” he says, “then it kind of dies down to those of us who got hooked for more of a long-term relationship.”

About s.e. smith

s.e. smith is a recalcitrant, grumpy person with disabilities who enjoys riling people up, talking about language, tearing apart poor science reporting, and chasing cats around the house with squeaky mice in hand. Ou personal website can be found at this ain't livin'.

9 thoughts on “Recommended Reading for Wednesday, 21 April

  1. In the “Against Their Will” internet page, I just read the article that is quoted here. The article criticises the fact that there were also “normal people” sterilised and the racial imbalance, but various quote, that are not questioned at any point, mention the cases of sterilisations of people with mental illness or learning disabilities as cases where the forced sterilisation was justified.

  2. As it says in the disclaimer, I link things because I think they are of interest, not because they are perfect. Yes, there is some profoundly problematic framing in that series. There’s also some really good work in there, including explorations of ableism and the role it played in forced sterilisation.

  3. Appearently, in North Carolina, homosexuals were also sterilized. Is it me, or does that seem redundant? I know a lot of GLBT people would like to have kids, (or have some already) but most of them aren’t interested in doing it the old fashioned way.Which would have been the only option up to the ’80s.

  4. I’m sorry if my words could be understood as criticizing you for linking that page. My hands are hurting, so I kept the comment as short as possible, which obviously wasn’t a good idea. The article just enraged me and I wanted to describe the problems, but I didn’t feel safe enough to mention it in a place I do not know. (I know that commenting here is preaching to the choir, but I don’t feel ready to do anything but that yet.) Is the comments thread an acceptable place for discussing the articles linked, or should it be reserved for other links?

  5. Ah! I’m sorry, Lounalune, we’ve had a lot of people lately who seem to comment in these threads primarily to complain about what is being linked, rather than to discuss it, so I’m a bit sensitive, as you can see. This is absolutely a place to discuss what’s going on in that series, especially since it’s kind of inaccessibly laid out. I suspect that one of us may also be writing about it because there’s so much to unpack, in which case that comments thread will be a good place to talk about it too.

  6. Now that this is cleared up…

    In the triplet’s case, anyone noticed how Dan’s lawyer’s arguments describe Abbie as an object? She discredits her mode of communication and talks about having “access” to her.

  7. The thing with Abbie Dorn really upsets me because I feel like if kids aren’t exposed to people with disabilities at a young age, then it can take a lot more time and effort for them to be comfortable around pwds. If they grow up with very little exposure to people like their mom, her kids may well have a negative reaction when they find out about her and/or meet her (which would be horrible for her as well as for them), but that could have been, and probably still can be, avoided by just letting them spend time with her at a younger age. I can’t think of any good reason to keep them away from her.

  8. Yeah, the reasons for keeping them away from her seem pretty ridiculous to me. Keeping it a big secret from them until they’re “old enough” will only teach them that disability is something to be ashamed off and hide.

  9. I don’t believe that she doesn’t understand what’s going on–but for argument’s sake, even if she didn’t? They should STILL be able to meet her. How scary and weird would it be to learn in your teens, or as an adult, that your mother has been alive and you don’t remember meeting her? Or what if she dies and they find out they could have spent time with her? It’s so obviously in their best interests to grow up being familiar with their mom.

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