Weekly Reading List

Picture of two rows of multicolored books

Why Autism Training for Law Enforcement Doesn't Work
Kerima Cevik, The Autism Wars - August 26, 2014

Obviously, this blog post has been around for awhile, but I only saw it and read it a couple of days ago. It makes the strongest case I have seen so far that better police training isn't the answer to police killings of racial minority and disabled citizens. I really struggle with this. For one thing, I used to do disability awareness training for a local police academy when I ran the local Center for Independent Living. It's not pleasant to think that my efforts might have been futile. Second, I still think that training can reduce these incidents. A few cops not shooting because they remember some training about autism, cerebral palsy, or Deafness would be a good thing. But, I have come to accept that the problem isn't that police officers don't know enough about specific disabilities, it's that broader police culture has been especially adversarial and punitive for many years now. And one thing that mindset does is overwhelm any other impulses officers might have to wait, be cautious, ask questions, listen, and take the time to assess situations before pulling their guns. That's a much bigger and different project than teaching them to temporarily suspend their usual mode just for suspects who have certain disability conditions.

Quebec comedian ordered to pay $35,000 to disabled boy he mocked
Bertrand Marotte, The Globe & Mail - July 21, 2016

I am thinking about this from, like, 18 angles. It's disgusting that the comedian went after the disabled young man. I suspect the comedian is, on some level, a real asshole ... something like a Twitter troll without Twitter. Also, Mr. Gabriel was in the public eye. He was at least somewhat famous. Plus, he was famous for what we in the disability community would probably call "inspiration porn." It's not the worst thing in the world, but I can imagine a comedic attack that would satirize the practice in a way that would be absolutely worth protecting as free speech with a legitimate message. I suspect that Mr. Ward is using that to defend himself, but probably wasn't being quite so deep and consciously subversive about it. You can question the practice of putting young disabled people up there to elicit uplift, without condemning or attacking the person, who may or may not have had the full choice to be there or control over their depiction. Finally, I find it fascinating and not completely comforting to note that in Quebec, you can sue people for making fun of you, even when it's not actual slander. Part of me thinks that's great, part of me not.

Engaged disabled couple would lose benefits if they wed
Rita Price, The Columbus Dispatch - July 24, 2016

Every so often, the "marriage penalty" gets a small flurry of attention, but it never seems to stay a top-tier issue in disability activism. I'm not sure why. Maybe we're still in an ADA-era where advocating for benefits isn't as cool as fighting for civil rights. Maybe it doesn't affect enough actual people. To me, if nothing else, it seems like exactly the kind of common-sense injustice that non-disabled people can easily understand, so it should be easy to fix, politically. It isn't as fundamental as long term care or, increasingly, not being shot by police, (see above), but it's low-hanging fruit. And the thing about low-hanging fruit is that it's easy to knock down. So why don't we do it?

Useful iOS & Android Apps | Appcessible.org

Care.com: Find Child Care, Senior Care

These two links aren't for reading, they're for browsing and exploration. The first is a site highlighting mobile apps for people with disabilities. The second is a site where you can find personal care help, or offer personal care services. I don't know if either site is really good or useful, but I think sites like these could be and should be extremely good and useful. If they aren't, we should all be demanding sites like this that are.