Facebook needs to engage in meaningful discussion about hate speech against people with disabilities. The scale of crimes against people with disabilities, as well as suicides by people with disabilities, is escalating and fostered by hate speech and photos posted on Facebook, which are currently categorized as merely “humorous” even when reported as hate speech by disability advocates. Facebook needs to review its Community Standards with disability advocates in a face-to-face meeting and publicize the results of the discussions. This is a matter of public policy in that Facebook’s direction on this issue can guide global policy on hate speech and disability. Facebook, be a global leader on hate speech against people with disabilities by learning that much of what is now simply perceived as “humor” involving people with disabilities needs to be reframed as hate speech.
Please signal boost.
Writing Resistance is a new writing and art project for multiply marginalized sick and disabled folks. We work to center the most marginalized people in our communities by building a space for creativity, mourning, affirmation and resistance through art, writing and performance. We celebrate bitterness, love, anger, healing, defiance and survival. For more information on Writing Resistance go here »
We are looking for writing and art (drawing, painting, photography) for the FIRST EVER Writing Resistance zine! We are only accepting submissions from sick, disabled and Deaf folks and people who are on the receiving end of ableism and/or audism. We are most interested in the submissions of people who are multiply marginalized in order to center the most marginalized folks in our community. All ages can apply.
Submissions are due Friday, March 15th.
- All final decisions on what will be published will be made by March 22nd, and folks will be contacted shortly after that. We do not intend to scrutinize the work of anyone who submits, but we may not be able to publish it all, and would like to stay in line with our mission of centering multiply marginalized folks and people who experience ableism and audism in ways that don’t often get talked about or shared.
- Submissions that need trigger/content warnings should be noted in this form.
- Works that are racist, classist, transmisogynist, sexist, femmephobic, queerphobic, cissexist or otherwise oppressive, will be dropped so fast. And, if any pieces are included in the final zine that are any of these things, we’ve fucked up, and will pull them.
- Please submit pieces that are relevant to YOUR OWN experiences.
- For writers, we encourage you to submit work of 2 pages or less, however we are not strict on this, but we may ask you to edit down your piece depending on the length of other folks pieces and volume of submissions.
- For artists, your art maybe resized to scale to fit into the zine, or we may ask you to submit a differently sized piece if selected. Please submit an image description with your piece that can be published in the zine. For tips on how to write an image description, read this.
We have until December 14 to get 25,000 signatures on it. You need to live in the USA, and you should seriously sign, signal boost, tumblr bomb, anything you can. Lives are on the line- lives of people like me.
Okay, I am judging you for the fact that this still needs 23,000 out of 25,000 signatures, Tumblr. What the fuck.
Um, do people not understand that this so so people with autism can get life-saving organ transplants, instead of given a death sentence on the grounds that our lives are inherently worthless?
Do you think this doesn’t happen to young adults?
Do you think this doesn’t happen to children with various developmental disorders?
Do you think this doesn’t happen to adults with Down’s Syndrome?
“Contraindicated.” That quite literally means that they considered saving a cognitively impaired person’s life HARMFUL.
!!! YOU DO NOT NEED TO LIVE IN THE USA TO SIGN THIS !!!
It ask for state/zip code but these are NOT mandatory fields!
^ Oh, didn’t know that! I was always like, crap, whitehouse, why can’t I sign?
MOVE IT, PEOPLE. I DON’T WANT TO BE NEXT.
In 48 hours, my young daughter will appear before a court in Pakistan, under blasphemy laws that carry the death sentence. My innocent girl has struggled her whole life with mental disability — and shouldn’t be punished. I ask you to help save my daughter. Sign this petition to President Zardari to support my call for protection for religious minorities:
Last week an enraged crowd threatened to burn my daughter alive, and in 48 hours a judge will decide whether she goes free or stays in jail. Rimsha is a minor with mental disabilities and often isn’t in control of her actions. Yet local police here in Pakistan have charged her with desecrating the Koran, and we are afraid for her life.
Right now she is being held in a maximum-security jail, and in hours, she will face the court under Pakistan’s anti-blasphemy laws, which can carry the death sentence. We are a poor Christian family witnessing mob fury over my daughter’s case, and many other families have faced similar intimidation forcing them to either flee or live in fear. But the international attention on Rimsha’s case has emboldened Pakistani Muslim leaders to speak out against this injustice and forced President Zardari’s attention.
Please help me keep up the global outcry on my daughter’s case. I urge you to sign my petition to President Zardari to save Rimsha and demand protection for us and other vulnerable minority families. Avaaz will share this campaign with local and international media, watched carefully by all the politicians here:
An angry mob demanded the arrest of my daughter after a local imam started inciting people against her, claiming she had desecrated the Koran. Some then threatened to kill her and burn down the houses of Christians in our community. I pray that at her hearing on Saturday, the case against her is dismissed and she can come back to live with us.
Our family is in grave danger, as even talking about the blasphemy laws in Pakistan can be deadly — last year the Pakistani Minister for Minority Affairs was killed after asking for the removal of the death penalty for committing blasphemy. It’s such a sensitive situation that many of our Christian neighbours from our Islamabad slum have had to flee their homes.
We respect the religious rights of others. We simply hope for the safety of our daughter and our community and wish this had never happened. We are happy that the Ulema Council, an umbrella group of Muslim clerics and scholars here in Pakistan, spoke out, saying: “We don’t want to see injustice done with anyone. We will work to end this climate of fear.” With your help, we can not only free Rimsha but make this incident the beginning of a greater understanding between communities in Pakistan. I ask you to sign this petition, and share it with your friends.
With hope and determination,
Misrek Masih with the Avaaz team
PS: This petition was started on Avaaz’s new Community Petitions site, which lets anyone, anywhere, start a petition on issues that are important to them. To start your own, click here: http://www.avaaz.org/en/petition/start_a_petition/?bv17431
Pakistan court postpones bail decision for girl accused of burning Quran (CNN)
Father of Pakistani Christian ‘blasphemer’ girl appeals to President (Telegraph)
Pakistan blasphemy case Christian girl ‘is 14’ (BBC)
Pakistani Muslim leaders support Christian girl accused of blasphemy (Guardian)
Pakistani Christians, fearing backlash, flee community after girl is accused of blasphemy (Washington Post)
Pakistani president wades into ‘Down’s Syndrome’ blasphemy case (Christian Science Monitor)
folks with disabilities, no matter the kind, please pass this around! get the word out, in case there are other folks that are unaware of the addon since it could be of great help for accessibility throughout the incredibly inaccessible internet.
so in my attempts to replace the now thoroughly fucked and now money-subscription-based Readability project, the page/addon meant to alter web pages to actually make them readable, i found a neat little addon this morning for firefox that is completely free.
behold, Blank Your Monitor and Easy Reading [link is to the official Mozilla addon hub, not third party].
Blank Your Monitor can change the colors of the pages you’re viewing to anything you configure them to with the click of one button, or by hitting Ctrl-Alt-B. the options to alter these colors are located in a drop menu next to the addon button.
Easy Reading allows you to change the colors for specific portions of text, be it through highlighting them and hitting Ctrl+Alt+Z or clicking Easy Reading in the righthand menu, or hovering over them with your mouse if you have that option enabled. this one is especially important to me bc i have a hard time picking out text to follow in paragraphs, as sometimes i accidentally read words from other lines and getting sentences mixed up as a result. this feature can be helpful not just for folks with visual impairments, but also cognitive disorders and conditions such as AD/HD [i learned my habit of highlighting specific portions of text to read from someone with AD/HD and it’s been a godsend]
note, tho, that the project’s last update was from november 2011. so it may not work for everyone, depending on their installed version of firefox, and i do not know if they are still actively updating it. but if it does work for you, dear god is it amazing. technically the options available through this addon are available in firefox itself, but it makes the configuration and ability to switch between the settings significantly easier since all you have to do to switch is hit the button or use the hotkeys.
here are some similar tools for chrome users!
Please understand that being disabled/sick doesn’t mean I’m not still a human being. I have to spend most of my day being very careful what I do, and if you visit I might not seem like much fun to be with, but I’m still me stuck inside this body. I still worry about school and work and my family and friends, and most of the time I’d still like to hear you talk about yours too.
Please understand the difference between “happy” and “healthy”. When you’ve got the flu you probably feel miserable with it, but I’ve been sick for years. I can’t be miserable all the time, in fact I work hard at not being miserable. So if you’re talking to me and I sound happy, it means I’m happy. That’s all. I may be tired. I may be in pain. I may be sicker that ever. Please, don’t say, “Oh, you’re sounding better!”. I am not sounding better, I am sounding happy. If you want to comment on that, you’re welcome
Please understand that being able to stand up for five minutes, doesn’t necessarily mean that I can stand up for ten minutes, or an hour. It’s quite likely that doing that five minutes has exhausted my resources and I’ll need to recover – imagine an athlete after a race. They couldn’t repeat that feat right away either.
Please repeat the above paragraph substituting, “sitting up”, “walking”, “thinking”, “being sociable” and so on … it applies to everything that I do.
Please understand that the effects of chronic illnesses and many disabilities are variable. It’s quite possible (for me, it’s common) that one day I am able to walk to the bathroom and back, while the next day I’ll have trouble sitting up. Please don’t attack me when I’m worse by saying, “But you did it before!”. If you want me to do something, ask if I can and I’ll tell you.
Similarly, my illness/disability may vary suddenly, meaning I may need to cancel an invitation at the last minute, if this happens please do not take it personally.
Please understand that “getting out and doing things” does not make me feel better, and can often make me worse. Chronic illnesses/disabilities may cause a secondary/reactive depression (wouldn’t you get depressed if you were stuck in bed 23 hours a day for years on end?) but they are not caused by depression. Telling me that I need some fresh air and exercise is not not correct and probably not appreciated – if I could possibly do it that, I would.
Please understand that if I say I have to sit down/lie down/take these pills now, that I do have to do it right now – it can’t be put off or forgotten just because I’m doing something else more exciting. Illnesses and disabilities do not forgive their victims easily.
Please understand that I can’t spend all of my energy trying to get well from my incurable chronic illness/disability. With a short-term illness like the flu, you can afford to put life on hold for a week or two while you get well. But an important part of having a chronic illness or disability is coming to the realization that you have to spend energy on having a life while you’re sick/disabled. This doesn’t mean I’m not trying to get better. It doesn’t mean I’ve given up. It’s just how life is when you’re dealing with a chronic illness/disability.
If you want to suggest a cure to me, please don’t. It’s not because I don’t appreciate the thought; and it’s not because I don’t want to get well. It’s because I have had almost every single one of my friends suggest one at one point or another. At first I tried them all, but then I realized that I was using up so much energy trying things that I was making myself sicker, not better. If there was something that cured, or even helped, all people with a certain illness or disability then we’d know about it. This is not a drug-company conspiracy, there is worldwide networking (both on and off the Internet) between people with similar and different chronic illnesses and disabilities, if something worked we would know about it.
If after reading that, you still want to suggest a cure, then do it if you must. Preferably in writing and accompanied by the scientific papers that prove it works. But don’t expect me to rush out and try it. I might not even reply. If I haven’t had it or something like it suggested before, and it sounds reasonable, I’ll probably take what you said and discuss it with my doctor.
Please understand that getting better from an illness can be very slow. And getting better from an invisible disability might not happen at all. People with chronic illnesses have so many systems in their bodies out of equilibrium, and functioning wrongly, that it may take a long time to sort everything out, if it ever happens.
“My studio practice has, for sometime, centred around finding ways to understand and represent my embodied experience as a wheelchair user, opening up profound issues about methods of self-representation and the power of self-narration in challenging the nexus of power and control that created the ‘disabled’ as other.”
copyright Susan Austin
As someone with a disability, one of the things I often hear is assumptions about performance. Usually it’s no one who knows me, or an overheard conversation, maybe it’s a scrap of overheard conversation or a side-note in a newspaper editorial.
What I hear is fundamental lack of understanding on the topic of coping. I’ve heard it from doctors, I’ve heard it from therapists, I’ve heard it most of all from people simply conversing.
When you’re doing - anything, no matter what it is - and you have a disability, there’s this tendency of assumption on the part of others that even if it comes back later, for now, your disability is gone. Poof. Vanished. Sure, while you’re lying in bed that afternoon due to stress and exhaustion you’re disabled, but three hours earlier, out grocery shopping, they see you and you’re fine so what gives?
Here’s what gives. I can’t speak for all, but for most disabilities there’s a cost of coping. There’s a cost of maintaining, of pushing back symptoms long enough to do sometimes even the most basic of things. When you’re getting your groceries you aren’t just getting your groceries, you’re also managing your energy and stress levels, monitoring your body, and yes
The unseen cost of coping is what most people without disabilities don’t understand. That even when you appear to be asymptomatic, there’s a cost. That the ability to cope doesn’t necessarily mean you’re any less disabled, not when that hour long grocery trip costs you hours, or days, in recovery. So the next time you ask your disabled friend, or family member, or client, or patient, or student, why they can’t just do whatever it is you want them to do because you saw them at the grocery store the other day so they’re obviously capable of coping?
Please just remember that we pay for coping, just like we pay for not coping. The cost may be hidden to you, but it’s not to us.
(bolding by mod)
I have a couple of thoughts about this… (1) Yes. There is usually a great deal of hidden physical and/or cognitive effort involved with coping with a disability. In my case, part of the difficulty is directly related to the nature of my disabilities and another part is directly related to the ableist nature of the society. (2) People have fluctuating impairments (aka uneven, variable, inconsistent impairments). It should be assumed that they do. It should be assumed that whatever the disability, there are going to be moments during the day, during the week, during the month when it gets worse, and also it should be assumed that the disabled person is the absolute best judge of when those times are. Everyone from friends to family to employers seem to have a really hard time comprehending that coping uses up cognitive/physical resources, and that because of the amount of cognitive/physical resources expended (and other reasons), one’s overall degree of disability can vary.
The Power of Disability Justice
Disability justice activists are engaged in building an understanding of disability that is more complex, whole and interconnected than what we have previously found. We are disabled people who are people of color; women, genderqueer and transgender; poor and working class; youth; immigrants; lesbian, gay, bisexual and queer; and more.
We are pushing for an understanding of how ableism affects all of our movements for justice. We are drawing connections between ableism and other systems of oppression and violent institutions. We are pushing for a more nuanced and fierce interrogation of the medical industrial complex and understandings of health, wellness and healing that aren’t rooted in ableist notions of bodies and what is considered “normal.”
We are trying to understand how we can build organizing and community spaces that are mixed-ability, cultivating solidarity between people with different disabilities. We are working to move together, as disabled people, through a world that wants to divide us and keep us separate.
Disability is not monolithic. Ableism plays out very differently for wheelchair users, deaf people or people who have mental, psychiatric and cognitive disabilities. None of these are mutually exclusive, and are all complicated by race, class, gender, immigration, sexuality, welfare status, incarceration, age and geographic location.
1. Mainstream feminism hasn’t even accepted race as a factor for analysis yet.
We are still having race problems; the Slutwalk sign fiasco is notable. Mainstream feminists like Naomi Wolf and Jessica Valenti getting away with barely mentioning intersectionality (or non-white authors) in their work is another. Or, you can just open up the pages of Ms. Magazine and see how very white it is. When Women of Color are mentioned, we are tokenized or have colonial and racist ideas projected onto us. Two decades ago, Elizabeth Spelman’s Inessential Woman critiqued mainstream feminism for hoisting sexism over all other oppressions, and even suggesting that it was the “root” or precursor to all other oppression. That was in 1988, and people still think this is the truth.
If feminism can’t even handle racism against Black people— a racism that has been consistently studied and tracked, and which has an overarching narrative in the West, then it’s no surprise that it can’t handle disability, which has no overarching narrative and which has only come to public awareness and study in recent decades. Feminism can barely handle a rigorous analysis of oppression against Latin@, Asian, and Middle Eastern peoples as they intersect with sexism. Even fewer people have questioned colonialism or even know what it is; one example of this is how there are still white feminists out there who see the hijab as something “oppressive” and Muslim women as people in need of their “rescue”.
All too often, people with disabilities are pressured to feel gratitude for things that are their basic human rights — subsidized housing, support services, inclusion in the community, basic acceptance and respect. Some people think that disability is a drain on the economy and an imposition on others. They don’t want to be reminded of the prevalence and inevitability of disability in any society, in any person’s experience or family. In response to this deep discomfort, they try to impose conditions on anything ‘given’ to people with disabilities — conditions like passiveness, submissiveness, limited demands, and constant thank yous.
We have to demand the things that are essential to our lives, equality, and quality of life. We must refuse to feel gratitude for these, except the normal level of gratitude that anyone might feel for living in a time and place that still supports human life. We can’t succumb to feelings like embarrassment or shame regarding our needs, even if those needs are more extensive than the average person’s needs. That will only reinforce and perpetuate our inequality, and the pulling away of vital state- and federally-funded support services.
Gratitude is natural and healthy, but should never be obligatory. Identifying and sharing our real sources of gratitude is a good counter-balance to the tendency for self-destructive gratitude.