Weekly Reading List

Illustration of two shelves of multicolored books

I had company yesterday, so I'm a little late with this week's list ...

Trump's not just racist and sexist. He's ableist
David Perry, L.A. Times - October 17, 2016

Since almost none of the information in David Perry's piece is new to me, what I appreciate the most about it is what he says about "ableism" itself, both the word and the phenomenon. "Ableism" doesn't have nearly the instant recognition that "racism," "sexism," or "homophobia" have in mainstream, non-activist culture. So while it's important in the long run to call ableism ableism, it's also important to explain what that is if you're writing for a mass audience. David does that here, with real-world examples, provided, unfortunately, by a real-world Presidential candidate.

Let's Talk About Trump's Ableism
Drake Baer, Science of Us - October 17, 2016

Drake Baer cite's David Perry's article, and expands on it by arguing that Trump's ableism stems from deeper roots than just juvenile taunting or opportunistic attacks on an opponent's health. He really seems to believe in innate superiority, which is a key component of ableism, even when it's not explicitly admitted.

Graduation Rate Climbs For Students With Disabilities
Michelle Diament, Disability Scoop - October 18l, 2016

I feel the same way about improving graduation rates for disabled youth as I do about reports of better employment figures for disabled adults. I'm happy to hear it. I believe it could very well be true. But, I need to see more than a few monthly reports to believe any of this represents a positive trend. It's not that I am biased towards bad news. To me the problem is that I don't really know what actions and strategies actually lead to more employment and higher graduation rates. There are some obvious, common-sense approaches. It's also possible that any changes, good or bad, are entirely due to much bigger factors like the general state of the economy and long term demographic shifts that have little or nothing to do with disability policy.

Let people with disabilities tell their own stories
Kaitlynn Milvert, Indiana Daily Student - October 16, 2016

The title of this piece is the central issue in so many critiques of disability writing from disabled people ... from outlets like "The Mighty," to TV shows and movies about disabled people, to disability-themed campaign ads. We need more disability stories in general, but most of all we need more disability stories told in the first person ... "I" and "we," rather than just "her" and "they."

You don't have to give my child free donuts
Ellen Seidman, Love That Max - October 5, 2016

For the kinds of people who give out free donuts to disabled kids, there's probably no nice way to explain why it's not always welcomed. Ellen Seidman does a really good job of it though, and her aspirations as a "special needs parent" very closely mirror what disabled kids, youth, and adults want for themselves. We want to tell our own stories for sure. But every now and then someone does tell our stories more or less right, and in a way that might even be more accessible to less informed audiences.