Weekly Reading List

Picture of two shelves of multicolored books

I have been reading a lot of election articles, which I tend to work over through my #CripTheVote involvement rather than here in my Weekly Reading Lists. That’s why I didn’t post one last week. I haven’t stopped reading other things though. Here are some interesting disability pieces I read over the last week:

The little girl who crawled up the Capitol steps 25 years later: Jennifer Keelan and the ADA
CP Daily Living - July 24, 2015

This is a fascinating and, frankly, rather depressing followup to a famous incident in the disability rights movement. I say sad only because of how difficult life has been for Jennifer and her mother, after they gave so much for our movement. The core of the story stands though as a rare example of a genuinely “inspiring” story of disability that doesn’t rely on sentimentality, condescension, or low expectations.

Teaching Self-Advocacy
Anna Stewart, Esme - unknown date

In some ways, the advice here is pretty basic, standard self-help fare. But it’s mostly really good advice, and probably revolutionary to a lot of families with disabled kids.

A Woman On A Bus
Dave Hingsburger, Rolling Around In My Head - March 13, 2016

Boy it’s hard to describe how “positive” things non-disabled people say to disabled people can be depressing to us, even sort of ableist. Dave does a great job describing those contradictory but completely valid feelings we have in so many of those fleeting, everyday encounters. It’s better than being ignored or degraded, but it still gets wearing after awhile.

I’m Disabled, but My Body Still Belongs to Me
Karin Hitselberger, Claiming Crip - March 11, 2016

This article didn’t turn out to be about what I thought it was going to be about. Karin is talking about the unspoken deal we supposedly have with people who give us fundamental everyday help we really do depend on. The deal is that they help us live a life by providing raw physical assistance, and part of the “price” we are supposed to “pay” is allowing our helpers to be, or feel like they are, our supervisors as well. Not having assistance at all is much worse, of course, but it’s really, really hard and rare for disabled adults to find sound personal assistants who really, completely treat us as fully sentient adults.

Cuts 'will see 200,000 disabled people lose £3,000 a year'
Anushka Asthana, The Guardian - March 13, 2016

Scrap fit-for-work tests for disabled, says Government adviser
Press Association, The Daily Mail - March 11, 2016

So far, we have been fortunate in this election year here in the U.S. not to have to content with major assaults on our most basic income support programs … in particular, Social Security Disability and SSI. Rand Paul tried to make a thing out of it early on, when he tried to tap into voters’ doubts about who is “really” disabled and whether SSDI might be wasteful in some fundamental, structural way. In the UK, the issue has been much more explicit and has moved from campaign issue into full implementation. What frightens me most of all is the prospect of budget-cutters teaming up in some faux bipartisan way with those of us who would like to see these programs reformed to encourage employment. That seems to be what’s happened in the UK, and it’s not going well at all. Maybe it’s self-serving, but my instinct is that redesigning Social Security to encourage more disabled people to work should end up costing more, not less. It’s hard to imagine anything like that happening here anytime soon.