Wikipedia and Disability

Earlier this week, Netmouse contacted me and let me know that she and some other people had pulled together a Wikipedia article on Laura Hershey, which has now passed Wiki’s notability test. She invited others to come in and edit the post for clarity and any additional information.

I find Wikipedia to be an interesting tool with regards to ableism, disability theory, and awareness building. One of our regular commenters, Julie, brought my attention a while ago to Wiki’s Disability Portal, which includes links to concepts like Ableism (which includes disableism), Pejorative Disability Terms, and a discussion of the North American ideal of People-First Language.

I also must admit to having leaned pretty darn heavily on Wikipedia during International Day of Disabled Persons, which was Friday. I spent part of the day linking people to Wiki articles on Disability Rights Activists including Laura, Gabby Brimmer, Chai Feldblum, and Paul Longmore (whose article is orphaned and needs some Wiki-edits for more link love). You can see an incomplete list of Disability Rights Activists as well.

I know I’m not alone in being aware that there are people who still insist – despite all evidence to the contrary – that disability rights activism sprung into existence the moment they were first irritated by someone saying “He, that’s ableist”. I like that editors at Wikipedia have worked hard to develop the disability portal, and that Wikipedia’s policies about editing mean that anyone can edit to expand and clarify disability-related articles.

1 Comment

  1. I’ve given up on one aspect of Wikipedia however, which is removing some of those Pejorative Disability Terms from various entries. There’s a small but concerted group (some of whom are those whose objections have caused the “neutrality disputed” banner on the terminology entry) take it upon themselves patrol and revert edits meant to remove such terms. Change “after the accident, X was wheelchair-bound” to the entirely correct “after the accident, X used a wheelchair” and the change is likely to be undone within hours. I’m sure there’s probably some protocol to stop that, but it’s not worth the spoons for me to pursue it any longer. If anyone would like to take up the cause, though, there’s plenty to be done.