Recommended Reading for April 23, 2010
This is going to be a quick one from me as I’m out of town right now, attending a Graduate Student Conference on Disability Studies, because my life is awesome. I can’t wait to tell everyone all about it, at length.
Disability Blog Carnival 65: Balance is up at The River of Jordan! The posts are, as always, varied and wonderful.
When my great-aunt says she’ll pray for me, she’s not saying it because there’s something messed up about me that needs fixing. She’s saying it because she prays for the people she loves. The person I encountered today wasn’t saying it to everybody she passed. She probably saw a person using a mobility scooter and thought something like “disabled person = in need of healing”.
What would healing look like for me?
Tributes have been paid to David Morris, much-loved and respected disability campaigner and mayoral adviser, who passed away yesterday (Sunday), aged 51.
Mr Morris, who was on secondment from his role as Senior Policy Advisor on Disability to the Mayor of London, had been working with the London Organising Committee of the Olympic Games (LOCOG) as External Access and Inclusion Coordinator.
In the end, the name was the same atop the wheelchair division of the Boston Marathon yesterday, but for Ernst Van Dyk it hardly was a typical triumph.
The South African won for a record ninth time, but it was his toughest victory yet. Van Dyk had to surge over the final 2 miles to overtake American Krige Schabort to finish in 1:26:53, a mere 3 seconds ahead of Schabort.
When I read your essay you seemed to define promoting cultural diversity by “encouraging people to write about other cultures”. Certainly Buck was encouraged and rewarded – she received a Pulitzer in 1932 and a Nobel Prize in 1938 “for her rich and truly epic descriptions of peasant life in China”. If writing about the Other were such a truly prodigious feat, then surely Vikram Seth should be bestowed with more renown for not one, but two books, set entirely in white people western land?
But transcultural traffic is hardly such an egalitarian affair. You say: “That there is a small but growing awareness of the literature of other cultures is, in my opinion, a liberty that only occurred because of humanity’s continued struggle for “enlightenment” but this flies in the face of a vast body of historical evidence that cultural currency has been a tool of capitalist trade and colonial enterprise. Furthermore, by whose standards are you defining awareness of such literature “small”? There are many Indians who will tell you about Rustam and Sohrab, about Laila and Majnu–stories not actually from our subcontinent. And as Fatemeh Keshavarz points out, Iran has a long history of translating books into Persian.
Follow-up on the Clitoraid post earlier this week: Clitoraid responds to their critics, but key questions remain unanswered
Clitoraid have officially responded to questioning of their organisation and the controversial ‘adopt a clitoris’ fundraising scheme (a summary of discussions to date on this topic can be found here).
Not every disability can be healed. I learned long ago that being “incurable” and being well are possible. But don’t go looking for this anomaly in the rule book. In effect what you need to do is break the rules that have long been established for how to think of being well. I am for instance the best blind sailor in my family. Never mind that I’m the only blind sailor in my family. I did in fact teach my sighted wife how to dock a boat. There’s no rule book for this.
In the coming months my children will come to know the terms disablest and able-bodied privilege, because it has become clear to me that while they are empathetic of my personal circumstance because they love me, they are not aware that this very same empathy needs to be extended beyond our little family. Not only do the differently abled have a right to take up space (a struggle they have seen first hand), we deserve not to have our lives mocked for the purposes of entertainment or to deliver a cruel retort.
In a recent poll done by the Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation, wheelchair users were asked :
What do family, friends, and strangers do to you when you are using your chair that annoys you?
Well, a new group of people has joined this fight. Rather than being autistic-adults, parents of autistics, or researchers, this group has little personal contact with actual autistic people. Instead, it is one group of pro-life people wanting to use autism as proof of why abortion should be outlawed – never mind that it has no basis in fact!