Recommended Reading for February 3rd

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 material like extreme violence/rape; however, your triggers/issues may vary, so please read with care.

Beneditta Ngina Gathecha: Between Disability and Womanhood: The Everyday Struggles and Triumphs of a Kenyan Woman, Disability Studies Quarterly, Vol 29, No 4 (2009)

Setting off on my journey to school in the cold twilight of 5.30am I would always be late, arriving at 9am or 10am. I never would escape the beating from the teacher on duty for lateness; disability was not an exception to curricular requirements. I would sneak away from school by 3pm to be home before night fall.

chaoticidealism at Reports from a Resident Alien: The Cure Question

So the autism cure question is theoretical, but it’s increasingly becoming symbolic. It’s really not the prospect of a cure that’s being discussed when people talk about it; the real question is something more along the lines of, “Should we accept or even treasure having autism; or should we fight autism and accept only the person we would be without it?” It’s a question that is fundamental to our identities as autistic people. […]

To focus on a cure when there is no cure is a very good way of saying, “We don’t want autistic people in our community; we don’t want to have to deal with the hassle; we don’t want to have to deal with people who are different. We just want them cured so that they will be like us.”

Princess Malphaba at Life is Short…So Am I…: Life is a Highway

I signed up for Driver’s Ed when I was fifteen (the age of driver’s ed.) I wanted to take it with all my peers even though at this time I didn’t have a car. I knew that this would make it challenging for me to get “my hours” in on the road, but after talking to the school they told me to enroll and we would “get the ball rolling.” There was no ball. It did not roll. It came to a screeching halt. Halfway through the class portion, the teacher took me out to sit in her car to “assess” what I might need for adaptations. As one would predict, my legs came to about the end of the driver’s seat and I couldn’t see over the steering wheel.

“Hmm, yea that’s going to be tricky.” She said. And class continued.

The Independent UK: The house that mends coppers: A haven for injured police

As a rehabilitation centre, Flint House puts itself on a par with the MoD’s Headley Court. But as demand soars, it is struggling for funds. […]

The centre says it is struggling to cope. Despite a £1.14m government grant to fund an extension, police claim the state is not doing enough to support them when they are injured in the line of duty. Kevin Knight, a police officer from Coventry who has stayed in the facility four times, said last week: “If you are injured on duty it is like the soldiers being injured in Afghanistan. There shouldn’t be a limit to what the Government does for people in that situation.” […]

The centre is presently funded almost entirely by regular donations from 67,000 police officers.

Dan Kennedy at the Guardian: Wiping out human variation

Following the examination, she sat us down and began speaking in her best concerned-doctor tone of voice. “I want you to know,” she said, “that there really wasn’t anything you could have done about this.”

What she meant – and what we instantly knew she meant – was that there would have been no way of, and no reason to, screen for achondroplasia ahead of time. No way to terminate the pregnancy and try again, and to hope for something that she believed, or that she assumed we believed, would be better.

The Vancouver Sun: Library access for blind in danger

The Vancouver teacher is one of 800,000 Canadians, including 112,000 British Columbians, whose access to library services will be compromised if the federal and provincial governments refuse to take over the responsibility of providing library services to them.

“I have thought for a long time library services for the visually impaired should not be provided by charity. I pay taxes just like anyone else and should be able to use the library.” […]

“We can’t continue to operate library services as a charitable entity,” said John Mulka, CNIB’s executive director in B.C. and the Yukon. “It’s not right. Canada is the only G-8 country that does not publicly fund any library services for people with vision loss.” He said the CNIB wants the federal and provincial governments and the Northwest Territories to go into partnership with them to provide library services for the blind and visually impaired.

Ensuing debate on the CNIB/library issue in the Times Colonist:

Dave Obee column: CNIB off base in bid for government cash

John Mulka: CNIB Library needs government support

Graeme McCreath: CNIB should not be running library service

Doris Belusic: Blind people are not wards of charities

Donald Walls: CNIB strives to fill gap left by public library

4 thoughts on “Recommended Reading for February 3rd

  1. Thanks for doing this every day! I truly enjoy it and am very grateful 🙂
    (Although I do need to stop reading the comments after articles… it’s just asking for trouble and pain. Silly me.)

  2. I disagree with the interpretation of the geneticist’s comments in the Guardian article. I think he was trying to address the fact that parents do commonly blame themselves if something happened to their baby in utero, or if there is a genetic abnormality picked up antenatally.

  3. Sacha, I think the author of the Guardian piece probably knows that, but that kind of reaction is still deeply ableist, as was the geneticist’s way of dealing with the situation. Even though a lot of people may feel those things, it still all comes down to ableism. And while I don’t mean to impugn an entire profession, I do have to say that I am deeply suspicious of the motives of most geneticists. The whole industry thrives off of ableism.

    Agreed completely, Assiya. The links here are great; the comments from other sites too often are not.

  4. It’s interesting to hear a different perspective about geneticists. The most disability-positive doctor I ever worked with (exluding other doctors who are themselves disabled) was a geneticist.

    I recall her asking a teen with osteogenesis imperfecta how he felt about any future hypothetical children of his also having OI. He said he didn’t want that, and only then did she mention there were screening options available. It was a nice change from what I usually get from health care professionals, which generally assumes everyone needs to prevent any potential genetic condition. She also is one of the few doctors I know who is aware of adaptive technology and non-medical resources in the community.

    Maybe we can clone her?

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