Disabilities


Zuzu opens her stay at Shakesville up with a nice takedown of the continuing calls that Hillary must step aside. Like her, i tend to think that Hillary has the right to stay in, and hell…the earned media isn’t exactly hurting. It would be well and good for both the Democrats to adopt a more positive tone, so that the winner isn’t quite so bloodied up, but they’re not exactly lightweights. As long as McSurgy can’t get a media cycle to save his life, we’re good.

She closes that post with a swipe against McGovern and Eagleton, the former being one of the voices trying to get Hillary out.

She writes this of Eagleton, who was revealed to have had shock therapy for depression. That news helped sink the McGovern ticket.

So not only did Eagleton smear McGovern anonymously during the primary, he then accepted his offer of a VP slot knowing full well he had an explosive and disqualifying secret. Nice, huh?

My emphasis added.

Zuzu?

Forget you.

It was an explosive secret. But not a disqualifying one.

There is a difference between being unfit for public office and unelectable.

I suppose FDR never should have ran, eh?

as it was in the beginning…

-sly c

Advertisements

The Discrimination Bunny!

Don’t you worry, it won’t stop.

Off of the gross story where a dude has bought his 15 minutes of sexist fame by suing a woman who won’t sleep with him for agism

We get a reprise of the disabled people and sex workers story:

“First of all, autism does make you not the same as people without autism. That’s a fact. That’s why there’s a special name for it.”

Oh. Snap. I almost forgot that some people are “special.”

Now, autism and Asperger’s hurt the ability to learn *social skills*.

Am I an anti-Aspie bigot because I’d rather lose my virginity in a loving relationship than with some guy who can’t even be my friend let alone my lover?

Meanwhile, will George feel entitled to a taxi-driving job if he loses his eyesight too?

*blink*

Uh…ablist says whaaaaat?

Oh, it’s on.

Mina, you’re not an an anti-Aspie bigot because you’d “rather lose [your] virginity in a loving relationship than with some guy who can’t even be my friend let alone my lover”. You’re an anti-Aspie bigot for believing that Asperger’s makes it impossible for a person to be a real friend. It is challenging for Aspies to build friendships not because we don’t truly care about and love other people but because we communicate in different ways from neurotypicals and neurotypicals, smug and secure in your notion that we are diseased and challenged, refuse to meet us half way.

Was George’s comment indicative of some degree of male privilege? It’s hard for me to judge since I can’t access the link (thanks to China’ Great Firewall) for context, but statements such as his often are. However, I really wish that feminists could refrain from making these sort of gross, inaccurate generalizations about those of us on the autistic spectrum. Please educate yourself and stop making autistic women feel as out of place in feminist space as we often do in Aspie space.

That’s from ekswitaj. She pretty much has this mina character dead to rights. It’s just plan sloppy ass thinking going on here, but she seems willing to give mina some level of reasonable doubt.

Not I. I’ve got a bad feeling on this one, and i think you’ll agree.

Mina’s response…

I don’t believe Asperger’s makes everyone with it impossible for a person to be a real friend. Remember, “some guy” doesn’t mean “everyone with [insert name of condition].” 😉

So she wasn’t slurring everyone on the autism spectrum, just *most* of them. Oh, well in that case…that’s awesome. Smilies!

I’m sorry this was so quote heavy, but it’s the best sad laugh i’ve had all week. How many different ways can a person express their contempt for people unlike themselves in the space of a feministing discussion thread?

Keep counting, because folks like mina rarely stop.

-sly

Edit: She didn’t stop. Apparently, those damn immigrants who speak different need to know their place too. Wow.

It also reminded me of the way my mother assumed not sharing a native language with me was a substitute for actually getting the words right when she wanted me to do chores (for example, as if I should have raked the leaves and done the dishes when she told me “sweep the floors”).

Am I slurring all or most ESL speakers if I’d rather get clear instructions at work than have some boss who wants me to do something and can’t pick the right words for that something?

Remember, “clear instructions at work” doesn’t exclude all instructions from ESL-speaking managers and “some boss who wants me to do something and can’t pick the right words for that something” doesn’t include all ESL-speaking managers. It’s the same way “a loving relationship” doesn’t exclude all relationships with Aspies 🙂 and “some guy who can’t even be my friend let alone my lover” doesn’t include all Aspies.

Liza Sabater, who ought to know better, goes for the fail with her current entry.

this image fails at constructive discourse

I shouldn’t have to explain why this is wrong. So I won’t.

But thanks for making me sick.

-sly

The SO and I had been talking about some of this stuff for a while…when you teach in a troubled school in a tough part of town, you face kids with emotional and behavior issues. So autism and other “EBD problems” had been discussed.

But I started talking about the Judge Rotenberg Center, and her mood changed. Sharply. What had been an animated conversation turned very soft as I explained what went on there, and how so far, it has been impossible to stop the brutality.

Finally, she said something welcome but unexpected.

“I think I just realized why it’s so important for you to read those blogs.”

More than once, I had been reading and she had begun to close my computer, not so subtly reminding me that I could be paying attention to her and not that. And it sometimes had grated her that I’d been willing to spend our limited time together doing work that wasn’t strictly necessary. I doubt I have a total free pass here, (nor am I seeking one) but it was a reminder that this information, these connections…matter.

I’m going back to school…and it’s tough on me right now. I’m listening to other people introduce why they care about classes that talk about marginalization and what’s wrong with the world. And I’m struggling to fight back the overwhelming sense of cynicism I feel about such declarations, about them, their motives, and ultimately….my own.

Back to the happier bit. We reprised this discussion later, when she was telling me about how a class she was taking (at a progressive school of education) had shown a video from Autism Speaks. And I went full bore in to “Not This Shit Again” mode and started showing her some stuff at ballastexistenz that challenges that kind of rhetoric.

She recognized it immediately. “This was the other source they used for the class.”

I’m still angry as hell that a school that claims to be at the vanguard of education would even give “equal time” to such viewpoints…in a show of the continued downfall of objectivity into amoral neutrality…but I was just so relieved that one of these online voices that I hear had made it into the world on its own.

This is why I read. After everything, I still have the crazy idea that it’s not too late to change the world. Perhaps I’m most drawn to this story in particular in proving that is that it has nothing to do with any of the mumbo jumbo that I have picked up as the language of my profession. I don’t mind speaking in post-modern, but I still have a soft spot for Orwellian honesty.

So I just wanted to say thank you.

You’re why I read.

-sly

The anti-telethon blogswarm is up, and y’all should go read.

I’m still going at shakesville, trying to explain why eugenic selection is a bad thing. Turns out, it’s a pretty hard sell.

Some of the brilliant arguments I’ve gotten so far include…

But….it’s HARD!

As if the worthwhile was ever easy. The whole argument at hand digs me so much because it assumes the status quo, and moves from there. Ethics is the imaginative and theoretical practice of constructing a just world, from drawing board to implementation.

And we have an accredited member of the field go an assume that disabled children are a burden? How tediously boring, how utterly lazy! If i wanted warmed over prejudice, I’d have stuck my head out a window. Perhaps I was mistaken, but I thought their job was to work for a better world, not settle for the shit we’re in now.

And while I have spent much of my time in refutation of additional and related arguments that have come up, I wanted to be clear that I think the original article reflects poor scholarship. I’m not worked up because I’m scared of the brilliance of Prof. Lindemann’s argument. My reaction is along the lines of: “Oh, not this shit again.”

Occluding one’s field of inquiry so that all we can look at is all predetermined is just bad thinking. Of course, mothers should not be obligated or coerced into a relationship of care that they don’t want to enter. Duh. But the entire argument hangs on a “can.”

“Because this care can consume even more of the mother’s time, energy, money, and emotional stamina than would the care of a healthy child, and because many seriously disabled children will never outgrow their need for it, women should not be forced into the special relationship that requires them to provide it.”

Oh, no, this isn’t about sending a message that we’re a burden. At all.

It “can” be more difficult to raise a child in all sorts of circumstances. But apart from eugenic movements, there have been few proponents of recommending abortion in these situations. It’s the “ism” not the person. You don’t solve the problem of a person, you solve the systems and prejudices that make their life difficult or marginalized. Ask why it is, not wash your hands.

“If everybody sprang up out of the ground full grown, like mushrooms, as Hobbes famously fantasized, then the care of people with disabilities would presumably be impersonally provided, perhaps by a state-run health care system or by private organizations instituted for this purpose. ”

This, her further hypothetical, is even less imaginative. Even in the allegedly perfect world of Hobbsian self-independence, persons with disabilities are still being “cared for” by grey buildings and the charitable-industrial complex. Well, pardon me, but fuck that. I didn’t show up for the beatific vision to see a land of institutionalization.

Everyone requires things to live. Painting your necessities as normal, and our necessities as burdens is a normative decision. An unjustifiable normative decision. We all require care. We get sick, we age, we become disabled, we are born that way. We all require care, and either as a society we can face that reality, or we can wallow in our delusion of autonomy, letting the whole world sink around us. We proclaim the immorality of those who flounder right up until the moment that our heads disappear beneath the waves. It’s wasteful. It’s stupid. And it’s immoral.

We can give to each other what we need to live lives of moral agency, physical dignity, and social relation. Or we can keep the status quo.

How’s that for a binding relationship of care?

-sly

That’s not eugenics. It’s choice!

Holy shit, this is immoral.

As I wrote of Singer previously, when you travel down this path, you have to ask if the world is made for you. Is the world comfortable for people like you? Is it safe? Is it just? If the world is made for you, then perhaps it makes sense to turn it away from the lives of others. But if it is not, then i suggest that you join all of us for whom it is not made, and make as much common cause as you can.

Throwing up terms such as “clouded”, “frustrated,” and “un-realized” to describe the lives and potentials of those with disabilities, Singer engages in a dilettante’s defense of genocide, a casual argument for the annihilation of countless people. What is a frustrated life? To be queer in a straight society? A woman under pressure from a patriarchal culture? To be a person of color in a white dominated world?

Living as a person in a “world system whose major economic impulses and cultural investments are directed away” from you? (Bhabha, LoC, as always) This world is not made for a person with disabilities, and the structure of the assumptions of society enforce an exclusion that is both casual and active. The stairs to a courthouse bar access just as much as the prejudice one might encounter within. This world is not made for a person with disabilities, and I will tell you that this is a choice. Is the world made for you?

The rest of this post is from what i commented there.

First, let’s blow the “it’s the mother who bears the burden” argument away. It’s hardly her sole domain, and it’s insufficient to mention parents who aren’t the birth mother…assuming that there is one.

Further more, since when was the responsibility of a child solely the domain of parents? What parent of a able bodied child doesn’t get tax breaks, the offer of public education, opportunities for insurance for their child. etc.. I’ve been in NYC this past week, and there are billboards all over about the summer meals program, to let parents know that food subsidies are available at public schools for their kids. As insufficient as many of these supports are, they reveal a recognition how ever slim, that the work of raising children is communal. No child may be left soley at the discretion of those who raise hir. The existence of a child is one of stewardship, the guard and watch of one who will become a agent and self unto their own.

So why don’t we offer respite care? In home nursing? Support for caregivers?

That certain lives are marginalized or made difficult is not an ontological fact. It is a social reality created by the choices we make and don’t make.

There are plenty of genetic conditions that America makes difficult…but with most of them, we have at least begun to realize that there are social choices afoot. Incorrect ones, that assign difficulty and stigma unjustly.

Disability is social. Not medical.

We could choose to make it easier to live for these people, support their families in loving them.

We choose to call them burdens, and call their lives expendable.

What does that say?

-sly

The other morning, i got in a bit of a….disagreement…with another driver over who had right of way. I think the “green” light in my direction should have clarified that. Or the “red” light in his. But after following me to my parking lot, he screamed all manner of obscenities at me, and told me that i should fear for my safety. He also called me gay, which i really rather enjoyed. Otherwise, i might forget.

I did my best to ignore him, but I’m starting to think I should have laughed. What better to let him know that such threat and vitriol was worse than useless?

Note: This is where i lost a whole chunk o text. So bear with me, as i try to reconstruct my argument. I was reading over another round of the rad fem/trans stuff, and was finding my blood pressure rising. Heart and Mandolin were going a few rounds, as it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end, amen.

I tried to even imagine a way that one could stay on totally pure theoretical ground, and discuss why gender is fixed…i can’t do it, and i’m pretty sure that the creation of a fictive category implies harm to those so determined, but sure…let’s give it a whirl. Let’s say they could.

But even then, we’ve got a track record here. The discussion doesn’t stay in a imaginary and pure theoretical moment. It moves to conclusions, associations, allusions, supports, inferences, and hypothesis. And we’ve seen them to be hateful to queers of all kinds.

All because everything is being described in term of m/f. If that’s the only language you speak, you have to have an essentialism to fix your categories. You can obfuscate it all you like by claiming that it might be biology, it might be common experience, it might be yada, yada, yada. You have to fix your categories. Or it wouldn’t make sense to commit to m/f as a sufficient description. You have to have a tribe to have a tribe that bleeds, see? And if Heart hasn’t used that phrase herself, she’s still on record with material that posits a certain mojo to womens and something else to men.

Guess who you’re sharing the dance floor with now?

Sorry. if you can’t bracket gender, you’re going to end up needing to make a description of how you differ from the other kinds of essentialists you’re contesting with. And so far as I’ve seen…it’s all pretty thin sauce.

Which then leads us back to the defenses of why the rhetoric must go on. If you like, read what Heart is claiming as a history of trans oppression of rad fem communities…a bunch of it boils down to some queer folks not wanting to see a movie. Yup. We don’t want to see Gendercator. Ouch. That’s pretty harsh.

I commented over at Feline Formal Shorts on the issue
Heart in particular is committed to a victim status as proof of her moral superiority. WOC are oppressing rad fems, gay men are oppressing rad fems, lesbians who enjoy SM are oppressing rad fems, MOC are oppressing rad fems, sex workers are oppressing rad fems, transgender women are oppressing rad fems, transgender men are oppressing rad fems…

The list continues. What isn’t separated is injury from status. Someone might hurt me, but still be socially disadvantaged over all. If i get robbed on the street by a radical feminist (pretend!), i still have my dudely privilege to help me recover. It’d be a pretty lame argument to translate this personal experience into a theoretical understanding of the opressive nature of radical feminism. Or even if some of them shouted me down over expressly political matters. Extrapolation from anecdote is not going to give you a wall to wall universally applicable theoretical apparatus.

And most of us have conflicted status…a mix of privileges and disadvantages. But as long as their bet for moral authority is placed on coming out dead last in the power calculation…they won’t own up to the power they do have. Disguising that takes effort…mostly the kind of flailing we’ve come to know and love like this mess.

Kactus also notes over there that we shouldn’t assume that online representation of radfem causes does the movement justice, and that’s a fair proviso. But as far as I’ve seen it expressed by such folks as Heart, it’s something that I can’t be arsed with.

Does it look het-centric? Does it sound transphobic? Does it need my time and energy?

Yes. Yup.

No.

-sly

PS: Since writing the original draft, i’ve heard something along the lines of Heart getting DDOS’d. That, of course, is about the worst way one can deal with conflict and is asstastical. Boo.

Next Page »