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.

Eyesight to the Blind [Problematic language in title – see Rainbow’s comment]

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 paid to David Morris

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.

Wild Ride for Number 9

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.

An Open Letter to Charles Tan

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).

On Being Well

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.

Disability as a Game

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.

Top 10 Things That Annoy People in Wheelchairs

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?

The Virus-Ridden DNA of Aborted Babies

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!

8 thoughts on “Recommended Reading for April 23, 2010

  1. “Able-bodied people parking in handicapped spaces. (So what if you have the tag!) 38.6%”

    how do they think someone got the tag if they’re “able-bodied?”

  2. AWV, I have no idea. I don’t like to speculate – I don’t know how the poll was done or what its purpose was – but I suspect it’s at least partly that hierarchy of disability stuff. I’m not sure, though.

  3. It may be that the “you” in that is “people with disabled parking permits who cannot use the reserved spaces because someone who does not have a permit’s car is in the space” and not “people with disabled parking permits who are assumed to be currently non-disabled because they don’t use wheelchairs.” It could be a hierarchy of disability thing also but I thought I’d posit an alternate reading.

    One reason it came to mind is recently I wasn’t able to use the disabled parking spaces because currently non-disabled people without disabled parking permits were using the reserved parking as a drop off-pick up zone for their kids. I actually told one of them off — I was kind of pissed at having to park down the way and walk because of these people. “I don’t need to be lectured,” said the person using the disabled parking as a loading zone.

    “Obviously you do or your car wouldn’t be here.”
    .-= kaninchenzero´s last blog ..For trouble Who has to Grade Papers =-.

  4. I know that links in these round-ups always come with a warning so this comment isn’t intended to question or criticise the inclusion of any link here, I just wanted to ask a question about one of the articles and thought this was the best place to do so.

    In the article ‘Eyesight to the Blind’ (about experiences with strangers offering to pray for the recovery of PWDs), I’m confused by the title, the author does not state that they have a visual impairment and visual impairment is not mentioned in the article so I can only assume that the title refers to the ‘blindness’ of the stranger who offered to pray for someone she didn’t know and whose situation she was unaware of. If this is the case it’s another example of sensory impairments (usually blindness or deafness) being used as synonyms for ignorance which is very offensive and yet I see this metaphor used all the time in ostensibly safe spaces where any attempt to raise the possibility of this type of language as being problematic is met with disbelief. Maybe I’m the only person who finds this offensive but I’d love to see it questioned alongside other ableist language more often in places other than this, even in places which are PWD friendly.

  5. Hi Rainbow – I’m sorry, I hadn’t seen your comment until today (I’ve been away). You’re right – I read that post very quickly and assumed the writer was blind (because of the praying for the blind title) and didn’t think much of it other than that.

    I think the post is good, but yes – the conflation of ignorance with blindness is very problematic. I’m sorry for not paying more attention when I put it up, and thank you for letting me know.

    I think you’re completely right that this sort of language always needs to be challenged.

  6. Hi Rainbow and Anna:

    Thanks for the comments on the post title “Eyesight to the blind”. Actually, that interpretation (of blindness and ignorance) hadn’t occurred to me — it wasn’t what I intended at all.

    I was thinking of the attitude of the person who spoke to me, who seemed to think that “healing” meant “restoring” sight to blind people, “curing” mobility impairments, which is a very traditional JudeoChristian biblical paradigm. The title is a biblical quote — Luke 4:18. It’s that view of disability that I was trying to respond to and critique, not endorse, in my post.

    You’re absolutely right, though and I definitely should have thought that it might be interpreted as referring to ignorance by anyone who didn’t recognise the quote. I’m really really sorry about that, because you’re right — it’s just out and out offensive.

    I’m going to add a note to the original post to clarify this (I think it would be a bit sneaky and dishonest to just change the title and pretend it didn’t happen). But massive thanks for highlighting the issue. And as I say, it wasn’t what I intended at all, and I’m really really sorry.


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