Weekly Reading List

Two shelves of multicolored books

Heavy reading from last week, with something a bit lighter at the end ...

Experts say probation understandable for woman who killed disabled daughter
Tony Briscoe, Chicago Tribune - May 18, 2016

4 years in prison for suburban woman who killed disabled daughter
George Houde, Chicago Tribune - May 19, 2016

When I read the first headline, I was dumbfounded. I am fully aware of how popular media gives a huge benefit of the doubt to the perpetrators when people with disabilities are killed by members of their own families. It’s definitely a strong media bias, which is probably both driven by popular sentiment, and supports and validates it. But I was surprised to see the idea stated so explicitly … that it’s “understandable” for a mother to kill her “disabled daughter.” Of course, I was also legitimately worried that the woman would get probation. She didn’t. She’s going to prison, for 4 years, which will almost certainly amount to less because I don’t see this woman misbehaving behind bars. But yeah, she’s not “getting off,” and it seems like her crime has been at least properly categorized. It’s one of those disability issues that I keep trying to sort out, and I’ll probably have more to say about this in the near future.

Why The U.K. Government Has Failed The Disability Community
John McArdle, Newsweek - May 22, 2016

This is an opinion piece, not a news report or an objective feature story. However, I happen to agree with what it says about disability policy and attitudes in the U.K. today, based on what I have read and heard from a few disability activists I know through social media. The best thing about this piece is that it does function as a good summary and explainer of what has been happening in the U.K. these last few years. It’s not just morally repugnant, but actually pretty remarkable and frightening how thoroughly a single population in an advanced Western country has been screwed, more or less deliberately. The only thing missing is any real exploration of how the Conservative government has rationalized all this. I assume that they at least have or had some kind of theory in mind about how disabled people would be better off with benefits cuts and more hurdles to jump in order to keep their reduced benefits. I’m pretty sure it had something to do with a twisted version of the idea of “disincentives.” That’s why I think it’s critical to dig that out, because here in the U.S., disability activists often criticize “disincentives” in our benefits systems, and rightfully so. But if we push to hard and fail to explain ourselves, we could find ourselves one day without disincentives, and without any benefits, either.

Appropriation in the Disability Community: We Are Our Own Worst Enemy
Vilissa Thompson, Ramp Your Voice - May 18, 2016

What Vilissa Thompson writes about here may be the one domain of disability culture that makes me feel like a newbie … full of intense instincts and bright ideas, that I really need to be chipped at, shaved, carved, and maybe a bit shattered by the realities outside my own head. In other words, I don’t fully get all of this. But that’s okay. Just because I don’t completely understand every aspect of intersectionality, just because it’s relatively new to me, doesn’t mean I have to oppose it. I mean, pretty much all of disability rights thinking was new to me once, despite being disabled from birth. And most of it was a less than perfect fit for me, at first. Ideas grow on you, and Intersectionality is growing on me, too. If you’re uncomfortable with this stuff, relax. It’s supposed to be at least somewhat uncomfortable, and that doesn’t mean its wrong. In fact, your discomfort may be a signal that that there’s something there worth knowing.

"You’re Carrie, Y’Know?”: 7 Ways My Nondisabled Friends Get it Right
Carrie, Autostraddle - May 17, 2016

This is a rare thing. It’s a lighthearted disability awareness listicle that bypasses entry-level etiquette, and encourages a slightly deeper level of understanding about disability identity and the kind of social acceptance disabled people actually want.