Weekly Reading List

Two shelves of multicolored books

Lots of great reading last week …

EDITORIAL: Killings reflect deeper issue of how society sees disabled people
The Asahi Shimbun - August 29, 2016

It took awhile to for the Sagamihara killings to penetrate any part of the public consciousness, other than as another “bizarre tragedy in foreign parts.” A few disability writers and activists have tried to wake people up to the heinousness of the crime, and the frightening and fairly common mindset at its core. It’s good to see one of Japan’s most prominent newspapers do an editorial on this. I like what it says, and it means something extra somehow that it’s presented as an institutional opinion, not one columnist’s personal view. Institutional ableism needs, above all, to be recognized by institutions.

Another Letter to Young Cripples
Bill Peace, Bad Cripple - August 24, 2016

I could have written a blog post like this, comparing my life growing up with disabilities in the ’70s and ’80s, grateful for things that have changed, objectively or the better, but also in some ways for the worse, unintentionally or not. I, too, sometimes feel like the “younger generation” of disabled people spend too much time fighting what I sometimes thing is “trivial,” while so many major, material injustices remain. I’m not sure I agree with all of Bill Peace’s points, or what they mean, but I feel like I get something of where he’s coming from. Of course, on one level, it’s just the inevitable feelings of nostalgia and age-induced disapproval everyone from every background and identity develops sooner or later. That doesn’t means these are invalid feelings. Maybe it means that whatever else they are, they are common and unsurprising.

I’m Raising a Kid With Microcephaly. Here’s What the Media Gets Wrong
Elizabeth Picciutto, The Daily Beast - August 24, 2016

Elizabeth does a great job of providing some context and nuance to what sometimes seems like an all-or-nothing standoff between total disability positivity and a more catastrophic view of disability. It is possible to experience life with disabilities as generally happy, and disabled kids as a gift, just as all children are gifts … while also reasonably hoping that fewer people have to have disabilities, and fewer parents have to have children with disabilities. It’s also important to understand that when we talk about disability as a scourge, it is, in fact, “a punch in the gut” to disabled people and the families that love them. It would be really nice if we could talk about both sides of disability with some sense of proportion and sensitivity.

Why the Olympics and Paralympics are still separate events
Will Heilpern, Business Insider - August 17, 2016

I’m not sure what I think about the idea of merging the two Olympics … which to me mainly means adding Paralympic sports to the roster of sports in the Olympic Games. Aside from the “logistics,” it seems to me the main “con” to merger is that fewer disabled people would probably end up being able to compete. The corresponding “pro” is that it would be another step away from viewing sports … or anything disabled people do … as therapy. It may be therapeutic, but at it’s best, it’s competition for it’s own sake. It’s the thing disabled athletes do, not a preparation for something they might do, or become. This article hasn’t convinced me either way, but I think it’s an important step to discuss the idea.

Vogue Brazil digitally removed limbs from actors to promote the Paralympics and completely missed the point
Jenée Desmond-Harris, Vox.com - August 27, 2016

I read the justifications given for why it was okay for professional models to do Paralympic promotional photos that are altered to make them look disabled. Once you’ve done something like that, it’s got to be hard to say, “On second thought, that was really messed up and I shouldn’t have done it.” Still, you have to work hard to make it okay. This is one of those bad disability-related practices that deserves no response other than, “Really?!”