Weekly Reading List

Two shelves of multicolored books

The Accessible Stall Episode 004: Identity and Microphones
Kyle Kachadurian and Emily Ladau, The Accessible Stall - May 7, 2016

I usually don't talk back to podcasts, but I couldn't help myself with this one. Kyle and Emily make a great podcasting partnership because they have almost polar opposite approaches to disability, yet their friendship is obvious and genuine. I find myself agreeing with Emily most often, while remembering what it was like to view disability in some of the ways Kyle seems to view it. I also like that Kyle and Emily leave the questions they discuss open, and don't try to tie them up in a perfect bow. There's a lot of affirmation in disability culture. This podcast has that, too, but also some tricky and meaningful debate.

New talk show hosted by a non-verbal woman with severe autism is utterly awesome
Walter Einenkel, Daily Kos - May 4, 2016

To be honest, some residual ableism in me caused me to question whether the interview questions coming out of Carly Fleishmann's computer were hers or composed by someone else. It's just a nasty little thought I had for about 2 seconds ... exactly the kind of ugly doubt that turns healthy skepticism into pig-headed ableism. However, one look at Carly's body langauge, especially her eyes, and I was absolutely convinced that this show is the real deal. She may well have some help to prepare ... or maybe she does it all herself. It's clear to me that these are her ideas either way, and she's obviously fully invested in every question, and completely engaged in Channing Tatum's answers. They have great chemistry, too, and Carly's charisma is more than a match for Channing's. I can't wait to see who she interviews next.

How Disability Mega-Charities Lose Their Way
David Perry, The Establishment - May 5, 2016

The Easter Seals re-branding David Perry writes about here isn't the worst that I have seen. It strikes me as mostly standard corporate iconography ... saying everything and nothing simultaneously. The slogan, however is bad. It goes beyond blandness into suggesting a distinct anti-disability ideology. But mostly what I see is evidence of highly-paid P-R consultants who had no understanding or background in disability thinking and experience. I think it's also possible that the slogan was deliberately included to represent how a certain portion of Easter Seals' consumer base actually views disability ... as something to be fought or at least struggled with. Though it is a rare point of view in disability culture and activism, it's not at all uncommon in the wider disability community. I hope David does meet with the executives of Easter Seals and is able to find out what they actually did to get authentic input from the disabled people they serve, and how, exactly, they "lost their way."

Sadiq Khan, disabled Londoners must be your first priority
Patrick Olszowski, The Guardian - May 9, 2016

Reading this article it struck me again how hard it is to tell when a politician's talk about disabled communities is a sincere commitment, and when it's just paying ritual rhetorical tribute to one of a hundred competing constituencies. Parts of this article suggest that the new Mayor of London really does mean to make specific disability policy changes a top priority, while other parts sound more like well-meaning boilerplate than actual commitments. That's why I think that whenever possible, disabled voters should push for candidates and elected officials to add numbers and timetables into their promises for change. How many more accessible houses and apartments will be made? How many more buses will be accessible? By what date? In any case, it is encouraging to see that disability issues apparently featured rather strongly in London's mayoral race.

District denies senior with learning disability the chance to walk during graduation ceremony
Brendaliss Gonzalez, ABC 7 Denver - May 8, 2016

I am honestly quite surprised that this girl isn't being allowed to walk with her class ... and I am not sure what I think about it. I get why the district won't just give her a diploma when she's half a credit short, but she's not asking for that. She's only asking to be with her classmates at commencement, surely a minor concession to the rules, when her situation is entirely due to illness and disability that everyone knows about. It seems like the kind of thing where social privilege might ordinarily play a role. She's a nice girl, well liked, from a "respectable" (white, middle to upper middle class) family. People in the school would be motivated to make it work for her. Or, maybe she isn't well liked. Maybe her family isn't well off or highly regarded. Maybe her family is poor. Maybe they are chronic complainers (i.e., advocates). Or, maybe the district has adopted this no exceptions policy precisely because they want to avoid situations were the "nice" kids are told no problem, while the "troublesome" ones are told to try again next year. Is it really feasible in situations like this to decide on a case by case basis? At the same time, is it really necessary to be this petty about the rules?