Three years ago in Disability Thinking: Quote / Unquote
It’s hard to believe now that only three years ago, it was a revelation to me that well-meaning people say stupid things about disability that they assume are really insightful, and that most people agree. That’s why I keep doing Throwback Thursday. It’s important to remember what it’s like to think about disability before you understand key things about it. I really think that a lot of the conflicts we have within the disability community … what to call what to call ourselves, what is and isn’t ableism, whether disability is an identity to embrace or just an inconvenience … boil down to people being at different points on their personal timelines of disability understanding.
Two years ago in Disability Thinking: The AV Club Looks At Intellectual Disability Portrayals
Speaking about perspectives evolving over the course of my disability thinking timeline … I still think that the line between realistic and offensive portrayals of disabilities isn’t as bright or as sharp as we tend to think. But at this point I’m pretty much convinced that non-disabled actors should not portray disabled characters, which means of course that disabled characters should only be portrayed by disabled actors. If that makes movie producers’ lives more difficult, and prestige actors’ careers slightly less interesting, well, things are tough all over. I’m not prepared to say never, but I would suggest starting with a ten or fifteen year moratorium. Cast only disabled actors for disability roles during that time, and at the end, let’s see where we are. Under a new normal, it might be okay for a non-disabled character to try a disability role, as an exception. Now it’s the rule, and it doesn’t even work very well.
One year ago in Disability Thinking: On Social Security Reform
I am surprised at how little Social Security Disability programs have come up in the election so far. Maybe that’s because a lot of the heat and panic have drained away from the debt and deficit issue. The deficit isn’t as bad right now, and besides, I think a lot more people realize that in the last 20 years or so, the federal debt hasn’t really been that harmful. It’s mostly a philosophical or partisan political issue. Still, that weird situation still exists, where two different groups with vastly different agendas both want to “reform” Social Security. Deficit hawks and disability activists both want the system to change, but they have completely different concepts of how it should be and what the goals of reform actually are. There may be some legitimate overlap between the two approaches, but right now each side barely knows the other exists. I think that’s a dangerous environment in which to talk about Social Security “reform.”