Weekly Reading List

Picture of two rows of multicolored books

Things about disability I read last week …

Americans with Disabilities Act
American Association of People with Disabilities - 2015

Last week was the 26th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act. Here the AAPD offers a beautiful review of the history of disability rights in America, emphasizing the disability activism that led to the ADA, and has continued ever since the law was passed.

My Son With a Disability Deserves the Same Opportunities as Everyone
Carol Glazer, Time - July 26, 2016

There’s nothing new or radical in this editorial. It presents the bare bones structure of the disability rights perspective on disability. It’s a package of ideas that are mostly already accepted by people who are at least minimally aware of the modern understanding of disability. It is written by a parent whose son has a disability … still the most widely accepted, high-credibility messenger on disability for a general, non-specialized, Time Magazine audience. Yet, while the message is obvious, even a bit weak from a disability activist perspective, it’s at least accurate, and still news to most readers who probably haven’t thought about disability for more than ten consecutive seconds at a time. There are good reasons for disability activists to be tired of parents appointing themselves to be our our public mouthpieces. But if they’re going to continue being part of the conversation, it really helps when they at least say the right things, as Ms. Glazer does in this article. She gets it.

Why I Decided to Stop Writing About My Children
Elizabeth Bastos, New York Times - July 29, 2016

I only realized that the writer’s children aren’t disabled after my third reading, because the journey Ms. Bastos describes tracks so well with one of the biggest complaints disabled people have right now about “special needs parents” who go very public about their experiences. Maybe the fact that she can’t lean back on this “advocate” role helped her not only confront her past habits, but confess them as fundamentally wrong. Disability, I think, provides an excuse to parents who might otherwise lay off revealing their children’s private lives in public forums. They have this extra sense of mission, like their confessionals are some sort of public service, and not, fundamentally, selfish or needy. And it all does seem to start with this notion that babies aren’t people, that children are two-dimensional creatures, and yes, that disabled children never gain that third dimension. Every “special needs parent” blogger needs to read this and get radically, bravely honest with themselves, as Elizabeth Bastos has done.

Charles Kinsey's Story Is About Race. It's Also About Ableism.
Finn Gardiner, Manuel Díaz , Lydia X. Z. Brown, Sojourners - July 27, 2016

I don’t want to get into the habit of calling every other hard-hitting editorial I read about disability issues “the best thing I’ve ever read” on whatever subject is at hand. Still, this one is uncommonly great. It covers a very wide range of totally related and very much “in the news” phenomena, and does so with just the right mix of activist terminology, (to be accurate), and plain language, (to be understood). You don’t have to be a university-level sociology student to understand this piece, but if you are, you won’t find it over-simplified. Unlike many such writings, I can also easily imagine some white, privileged, conservative folks finally being persuaded to take these problems seriously … especially some of the (I suspect) many disabled people who have not yet fully accepted that police violence is an issue that affects them, too.

See Around Britain app to help disabled people plan trips
BBC News - August 1, 2016

Here is yet another smartphone app that hopes to provide comprehensive accessibility information for people with disabilities. This one focuses on photos, which is a little different from the crowdsourced accessibility rating apps we usually see, like my favorite, AXSmap. Incorporating photos does seem like a natural progression for this model, since smartphones all have cameras now.