I’m “That” guy on Facebook: Disability Edition

I think we can all share a collective eye roll and groan at facebook arguments.  But, today, I’m “that” guy that started it.  I couldn’t help myself with this one.  Something about the framing  this issue  as if it’s ethical really grossed me out  I had to respond.  I climbed up on my (high) horse and jumped in.  I felt I needed to share it with you.

Here’s a “screenshot” of the fb post.  It’s not really a screenshot, because the button wasn’t working on my computer.  So instead you get a second hand photo of it from my phone.  If you can’t read it, it says “A nice piece about what seems like it’s on the horizon, but is actually starting us in the face.”
And the article is here at this link:
And here’s what I had to say:

This piece is not nice at all. This piece is ableist garbage. It’s so funny (not really) how ethics when it comes to disability always focuses on the question of when it’s ethical to kill someone who has a disability. I know another word for that concept: Eugenics.

This article reeked of idea that disability is something that is awful, something to be ashamed of, undesirable. Notice the language of the piece “
Unfortunately, at this point in history, most extremely premature infants grow into children who experience a lifetime of cognitive or physical disability” and “…the fetus is defective” as well as “ …sometimes horrible defects slip through…” referring to people who are born with disabilities. All of these sentiments indicate that living with a disability is a fate worse than death! Literally, the argument is that someone is better of dead than having a disability!! There is even garbage in this article trying to essentialize and naturalize this cultural idea of what “healthy” and “normal” bodies are (which as we (should) know is a socially constructed concept) when the author writes “Miscarriage…is one of nature’s mechanisms for stacking the odds in favor of healthy children” even though later in the next paragraph Tarico writes a totally contradicting statement “…sometimes a healthy fetus gets rejected from a healthy mother…” So it seems that nature “rejects” all sorts of different fetuses- no matter if they are “healthy” or not.
This article is awful. Absolutely awful.

Let’s instead think about how to develop social supports for families of kids with disabilities. How to make sure that people with disabilities will always have the services they need like PCAs, PTs, OTs, etc… Let’s focus as well on how to adapt the environment better so it fits all types of bodies not just ones that are considered “normal” and “healthy”. Because it’s not bodies and minds that are disabled, really, it’s environments that cannot accommodate them.

I‘ll leave you with some Rosemaire Garland-Thomson, because she’s really a lot more eloquent than I am and right on the mark with how to consider disability/medical ethics.

The emphasis on cure reduces the culture tolerance for human variation and vulnerability by locating disability in bodies imagined as flawed rather than social systems in need of fixing…..preventing illness, suffering, and injury is humane social objective. Eliminating the range of unacceptable and devalued bodily forms and functions the dominant order calls disabled is, on the other hand, a eugenic undertaking.” (Rosemarie Garland-Thomson)


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I want you at my birthday party!

I’m turning 25!
You know what that means??  I want you to come to my house and celebrate!
We’re getting a small keg like last year, so bring a few dollars to contribute to the cost.

The Party will be at the Adjacetarium which is right in the heart of Davis Sq.
265 Elm St. Apt. 3
Somerville, MA 02144

The Party is on SATURDAY JANUARY 24th 2015 starting at 8:30pm.

Guests of Honor will by the lovely Hayley and Hannah, if you haven’t met them, now’s the time!

If you want to give me a birthday present bring some extra bucks because anything that doesn’t go to the keg will go to my tuition fees. I’m getting a M.Ed in O&M and some monetary help would be grrreatly appreciated.

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Braille Without Borders

Sabriye Tenberken and her husband, Paul Kronenburg are really amazing. They started a school in Tibet called Braille Without Borders. Blindness in Tibet is very stigmatized- which is true in the USA too, but in Tibet it’s a bit different. The general attitude is that those who are blind have bad karma or are possessed by demons. They’ve done something bad in a past life and are being punished with the curse of blindness…something along those lines. Or so Rosemary Mahoney reports in For the Benefit of Those Who See.
After Braille Without Borders got on its feet Tenberken and Kronenburg opened another school in Kerala. The mission of this school is to help “social visionaries” from all over the world achieve their dreams. That is, any person that has a revolutionary idea that needs a little help or training to achieve their goals could be accepted. Maybe the person applying is from a region without any formal place that children who are blind can be educated and the applicant wants to learn ways to establish funding to build a school, get materials, etc… All participants have some idea that improves the lives of the people in their communities and they need a little help push it into reality.
What an amazing couple, Tenberken and Kronenburg.
Check out the Kanthari school.


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“…the absence of much of minority scholarship was attributable to its poor quality, and to the lack of productivity of minority scholars. Scholars of color were urged stop complaining and simply to write Of course,the discussion that followed was animated. But more important than what was said was what was assumed-namely, that the arena of academic discourse was functionally open to any scholar of merit who sough to enter it.” Introduction page xxvi in Critical Race Theory

Without examining issues of race and redefining discourses that surrounding ideas of race there will be no proper framework to work within when trying to articulate problems. Problems of race cannot be “solved” without forging new ways to think about race- this does not include a popular consciousness of liberal ideology, i.e. colorblindness. Lack of attention to race, the denial of its existence, does not lead to any solutions. This ideology ignores the privilege that can be attributed to one’s race, while ignoring the devastating consequences of others positions.

It must be acknowledged that not everyone has the same access to language, to speak, or to say. One must pay attention to everything subtle and try to encourage voices not always apparent or speaking in an unfamiliar way.

On a seemingly unrelated note, I think deaf culture can benefit from some of the structures, the newly created language, that those who have done and are doing Critical Race Theory have forged.

EDIT: I am missing out on a lot of really good literature that has forged a bridge between critical race theory and deaf culture as noted by a commentor below.  I’m working on education myself on what this discourse offers.  Check out this person’s comments.


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7 senses

I found out that most people in my field think of the body as having 7 senses.  Yes sight, hearing, taste, touch, and smell. But, also proprioception and vestibular.  Proprioception being able to determine where your body parts are in space and vestibular the feeling of balance.  You may have heard of vestibular before in relation to pilots who get screwed around in the air because the fluid in their ears became disoriented.   That’s all to do with the vestibular sense.   Cool, huh?

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copy draw

I really enjoy copying drawings.

Tell me why Picasso became a bunny though??

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Basket of Blue


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