So, yesterday I was on a meeting for a future casestudie. I visited Katarina and Mattias from the border of the organisation Young visual impairments in the west of Sweden and Gothenburg.
We discussed different normcreative campaigns and to think “outside the box” We talked about preconceptions and how the socialty is designed for the ablebodied, about unaccessible situations and products, family life, sex and new imagined futures.
We talked about to meet up in a creative workshop to brainstorm together with a larger group from the organisation this spring.
To be continued.
sourze from Diversity is beautiful journal
The term ableism refers to “a particular understanding of oneself, one’s body and one’s relationship with others of humanity, other species and the environment, and includes how one is judged by others”. Ableism reflects the value and promotion of abilities such as productivity and competitiveness over empathy and kindness. It has historically been used by certain social groups to justify their higher status in relation to “others”, to justify a hierarchy and exclusion. The preference for “speciestypical normative abilities” might lead to the discrimination against people with disabilities as less able. This notion rejects the so-called variation of being, the biodiversity, the acceptance and accommodation of the people affected.
Most interestingly, ableism does not only refer to the obvious, to people one might automatically associate with. In fact, sexism is partly driven by ableism as it favours certain abilities and at the same time labels “the biologically fragile, emotional and incapable” woman as not having them. Like sexism, racism (claiming that some ethnic groups are less intelligent, i.e. less cognitively able than others) and other -isms are driven by ableism.
The Swiss organisation “Pro Infirmis” started the rather spectacular campaign “Because who is perfect?” in order to raise awareness for body diversity and the lack of representation of people with disabilities. Five persons with different disabilities were used as models to create mannequins that reflected their bodies. The mannequins were displayed in shop-windows next to the “perfect” mannequins. Here is a four-minutes clip (in Swiss German with English subtitles).
Wolbring, G. (2008) The Politics of Ableism. Development, 51, 252-258
“What we did for civil rights in the ‘60s, we forgot to do for people with disabilities.”
– Rep. Patricia Schroeder (D-Colo.) said of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990
On Monday, March 12, 1990 disability rights activists descended on the U.S. Capitol demanding the passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) which would give equal rights to people with disabilities. The ADA was passed by the Senate the year before but as finding complications getting through the House of Representatives. Over 1,000 protesters came from 30 states to protest the Act’s delay.
Disability activists participating in the “Capital Crawl” on March 12, 1990.
Disability activists participating in the “Capital Crawl” on March 12, 1990. Photo Credit: Tom Olin/Disability History Museum
After the day’s rally and speeches, over 60 activists abandoned their wheelchairs and mobility devices and began crawling the 83 stone steps up to the U.S. Capitol Building. During which people were loudly chanting “What do we want?” “ADA!” “When do we want it?” “NOW!” Other activists remained at the bottom holding signs and giving encouragement to the crawlers. “I want my civil rights,” Paulette Patterson of Chicago stated as she was inching her way to the top. “I want to be treated like a human being.” Eight-year-old Jennifer Keelan was famously taped [as seen in the video above] while crawling up the stairs. “I’ll take all night if I have to,” she firmly stated. The second-grader from Denver suffered from cerebral palsy and decided to partake in the crawl after joining ADAPT (Americans Disabled for Accessible Public Transit). She was inspired by her friend Kenny Perkins who passed away in January 1990. As Jennifer reached the top she stated, “I’m doing it for Kenny.” Michael Winters, a leader in the Independent Living Movement, later wrote about event and the reaction people had to the crawl. “Some people may have thought that it was undignified for people in wheelchairs to crawl in that manner, but I felt that it was necessary to show the country what kinds of things people with disabilities have to face on a day-to-day basis,” Winters recalled. “We had to be willing to fight for what we believed in.”
Senator Tom Harkin had authored and introduced the ADA to the Senate, delivering part of the speech in sign language so his deaf brother could understand. If it passed, it would outlaw discrimination based on physical or mental disability in employment, access to buildings and public and private transportation as well as other issues. The ADA had four goals for people with disabilities: equal opportunity, full participation, independent living and economic self-sufficiency. “We’re not asking for any favors,” asserted I. King Jordan, the first deaf president of Gallaudet College for the deaf. “We’re simply asking the same rights and equality any other American has.” Within four months, the Act passed in the House. On July 26, 1990, the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 was signed into law by President George H.W. Bush. On signing the measure, President Bush said, “Let the shameful wall of exclusion finally come tumbling down.” The Act that Senator Tom Harkin and the disability activists worked so hard to pass had finally become law. The “Capitol Crawl” had an effect on the passage of the ADA. Several Senators felt “inconvenience” by the “stunt” and it reportedly pushed them to approve the Act. At the time, the event was not widely known to the public since the media failed to shed much light on it. But to present-day disability activists, on the other hand, the “Capitol Crawl” is seen as one of the single most important events that finally pushed for the passage of the ADA into law. In 2010, the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 celebrated its 20th Anniversary. Senator Harkin penned an article about the legacy of the Act for The Huffington Post:
The 19th of April, 2015 at the inaugural event for DisArts Film Festival David Michell interviewed the actor Mat Fraser (who played Paul the Illustrated Seal in Season 4 of American Horror Story: Freak Show) who made some significant comments on “cripping up” as a non-disabled actor to play roles based on disability experience.
Crip Culture Talks Back
By David Mitchell & Sharon Snyder
This video brings together influential voices in disability rights and disability studies to document an emerging disability culture. A mix of performances, interviews, dramatic readings, and activist footage, Vital Signs features well-known disability rights advocates, poets and performance artists, and disability studies scholars.