The Chapman Family and Some Thoughts on Our Conditions

I woke in the small hours of the morning and felt the blue planet working in the first light. Felt my heart beating with its Zen obedience. Felt sand in my eyes. Thought about the moment in Huckleberry Finn where Jim tells Huck about what its like to be ridden by a witch all night like a horse. It was 4 a.m..

I turned on my computer and went to the blog of William Peace, one of our best disability rights bloggers in my humble opinion. Over at Bad Cripple I read before dawn about the plight of the Paul and Barbara-Anne Chapman family. Bill Peace has written about their experience of discrimination at the hands of Canadian immigration authorities and I urge you to read what he has to say.

Briefly: the Chapman family has twice been denied entry into Canada because they have a disabled child.

Remember that it was before dawn when I read about this matter. I recall that I was looking for something like confirmation. That is, I’d hoped that by reading Bill’s blog I might find some pre-sunrise lift. And that’s exactly what I found though not in the way I’d imagined.

People with disabilities are routinely denied rights of access; rights of inclusion to be more precise about the matter.

Just last evening I was talking with a friend who knows a doctor who is trying to build an eye clinic in Tanzania because (as I currently understand the matter) women with cataracts are perceived by some to be "possessed" or to be witches as it were, and apparently, so I’m told, its considered to be an appropriate measure to murder these blind women.

I sat at my computer in the pre-dawn roseate light and I found myself grieving for the human race.

Yes, like a Jim in Twain’s novel, we are ridden by the forces of enslavement. Oh I do not say this lightly.

Canada’s argument for keeping the Chapman’s out of the country is that their daughter might well require medical and social resources.

If you parse that argument to its core, what it means is that they don’t accept the Chapman’s daughter who has a disabling condition to be eligible for citizenship.

Ergo: she is the equivalent of the enslaved person who is at best a kind of property.

The "broken body" lacks true economic utility. It should be kept in a warehouse.

I’m sure that Canadian immigration officials would recognize Adolf Hitler’s assertion that the disabled are just "useless eaters."

I was fully awake after reading Blind Cripple. By God I was talking to myself before the sun was up.


Disability and Language: a NY Times Article Review

This comment was left on a post by William Peace on his blog, Bad Cripple.   Therextras wrote " Thank you for an excellent expose of a typical media dissemination of
language and attitudes we would like not only to reform but squelch. I
hope you sent some response directly to the newspaper." 

Team [with]tv would like to second that remark.

Here is an excerpt from William’s post. 

Monday, May 12, 2008

Disability and Language

Yesterday a long article appeared in the New York Times entitled
"Taking a Chance on a Second Child". The article was written by Michael
Winerip, a Pulitzer Prize wining writer. Mr. Winerip is a seasoned
reporter, graduate of Harvard University and a gifted writer. Yet a day
later I remain stunned and outraged by the language Winerip used. The
article in question is about Jordana Holovach, her son Jacob who is
severely disabled, and her decision to have a second "healthy" child.

tone of Winerip’s article is shocking. Each and every mention of
disability is overwhelmingly negative. The language is antiquated,
insulting, and devalues the life of a child and by extension all
disabled children and adults. Among the snippets I found particularly
appalling include the following:

In referring to Ms. Holovach’s son: "And as much as she loves that boy
and as hard as she’s worked to make him whole…she felt snake bit"

Ms. Holovach’s son is "confined to a wheelchair".

Holovach’s son was responsible for her divorce: "Her first marriage
ended in divorce under the strain" and "Jacob was a big reason".

Before Ms. Holovach’s son was born "they were successful people" (note tense).

Oh don’t stop here.  Keep reading, there is more….

Then stop by Patricia E Bauer’s blog for this additional link.

Cross-posted on Blog [with]tv

Why We Can’t Say Certain Words Anymore. Like "civil rights".

William Peace has written a compelling post about “wheelchair dumping” over at Counterpunch.

He wonders why Americans don’t see abuses against people with
disabilities or crimes against the poor or the elderly as civil rights

The answer is essentially economic: Ronald Reagan taught Americans
that anything having to do with “minorities” costs money. If a thing
costs money, why by God it must be coming out of the pockets of the
middle class.

(The analogy with Fascist Germany’s public insistence that people
with disabilities were “useless eaters” who cost the ordinary German
pocket money isn’t terribly far fetched.)

In turn, after three decades of this commonplace Reganite
sensibility, Americans can no longer afford to use the term “civil
rights” because the very utterance is a disavowal of the comfortable
assumption that social equity costs too much and will rob the suburbs.

This is why Americans only use the term “civil rights” in a
historical context. We only required civil rights in the “old days”
before the GOP fixed everything.

That’s my “take” but have a look at William Peace’s excellent essay.