On ableist language, the words we
use and alternative discourse
First posted on the Facebook page of Radical DISability, expanded and maintained here.
This is a work in progress of a collection of links on ableist language, with the most recent additions on the top of the page.
When we give up ableist language we leave room for actual analysis and discourse. Ableist language is essentially supremacist, so if we’re really fighting for social justice, stigmatizing people with cognitive, physical or emotional DISabilities not only perpetuates the marginalization of DISfolx, but also obscures the real problem with what every behavior or ideology we’re calling out. For example, when we say “Stupid White Men”, we not only disparage people with cognitive DISabilities, we also give capitalism, imperialism and institutional racism and sexism, a pass. We fail to provide real analysis, and instead resort to lazy name calling. When we CALL IT WHAT IT IS, instead of using ableist slurs, we actually provide the possibility for deconstructing systems of oppression instead of simply rebranding bigotry to fit one’s own entitled supremacy based on superior intellect or ability.
Stay tuned. More to be added in the future!
Cross Generational Trauma: a resource of links
(Work in progress. I especially need links regarding restorative justice. Also, please post your favorite links on this issue.)
Links on the ongoing exploration of cross generational trauma, something that has impacted my lineage and my life tremendously and must inform our activism and policy as we try to create systems of support and determine reparations. Some links posted for future reference. Please feel free to comment on the links and critique their premises. Some basic concepts to consider as we recognize and explore recent evidence that it’s not just socialization and psychological behavior that explains the cross generational transfer, but that the trauma actually is in our DNA.
- The wisdom of our ancestors– what has been lost, stolen, forgotten and abandoned– language, customs, wisdom, healing, is also in our DNA. We embody in our cellular memory all the hurt, but also all the love and knowledge of our ancestors.
- It stands to reason that it is not just victims who carry the DNA memory, but also the perpetrators. They two carry with them– entitlement, power, abusiveness, violence, guilt. Their inheritance isn’t just the monetary inheritance of centuries of theft and enslavement and exploitation, but the entitlement of and power gained from the abuses inflicted on our ancestors.
- That is, power and powerless carry with us, into each subsequent generation this relationship of owner and slave, colonizer and colonized, Abuser and abused, Victimizer and Victim.
- I reject the rejection of the term victim. The assertion by many that we choose to be victims, we perpetuate the systemic and cultural tendency to blame the victim, either for their victimization in the first place or in their healing and response afterward. By thinking we, individually can step outside of this history without collective work and collective healing and accountability is to side with oppression and perpetuate abuse. Blaming the victim is the religion of systemic and cross generational trauma. Another term for victim that can be used, is “target” and the term “survivor” is also acceptable, but with the understanding that there is nothing more moral about being a survivor than having not survived. It is NOT a choice. To privilege survivors over those who were massacred is to embrace essential white supremacist ideologies of fitness and worthiness.
- I reject the idea that soldiers are victims. Soldiers are perpetrators. If perpetrating violence is traumatic, then that’s easy– stop perpetrating violence.
- Trauma is insidious– it can make us lash out at the what triggers us, which may NOT be what caused the trauma or the flashback at all. Like the child who dives under their chair when a plane passes over head, miles from the location of the trauma of war, where passing overhead planes meant the dropping of bombs, those of us in communion, where spaces are actually safe, are not the source of the trauma, just because we are the location of the trigger. It is the work of our PTSD healing to learn to recognize the difference between danger, and the flashbacks that come up when we are safe.
- I also want to point out that POST Traumatic Stress Disorder, may not be accurate. Much trauma is not only in the past, the distance past and our DNA, but is ongoing. It is exceedingly difficult to recuperate from ongoing trauma because the wounds are not only fresh, but are constantly being reopened.
- Terms like “Children of the Holocaust” and “Post Traumatic Slave Disorder” are headlines here, for the much larger body of work on trauma among Jews and African Americans, respectfully. I use those terms because they also reflect the narrative within those communities, even where the issue of cross generational trauma may be greater than the scope that term may imply.
- Too often because of its scope and intensity, 6000 years of who Jews are and what we’ve done and what’s been done to us gets encapsulated in the 6 years of the Shoah, and now in Israel. As if aside from 6 years of being the victims of genocide and 60some years of being the perpetrators, is the sum of all we are. (That’s not the narrative, the narrative is that there is some redemption and deliverance for the years of suffering, via Zionism).
- The Shoah (Holocaust) came out of years of abuse and genocide– expulsions, crusades (where many Ashkenazi Jewish towns were massacred by the invading armies on their was to the Holy Land), pogroms, pogroms, pogroms, ghettoization, more expulsions, humiliations, incarcerations, segregation, discrimination, etc. Jewish trauma, specifically in Europe, reaches back hundreds of years. For Jews who were not in Europe, the Shoah impacted them in Northern Africa, and the trauma for non-European Jews was most experienced as colonization in the particular geographies of location. The Holocaust studies on cross generational trauma can inform the larger discussion on cross generational trauma, but it is not an isolated event. That degree of racism doesn’t just pop up like a camping tent and disappear just as quickly. The study of Holocaust survivors and their children is very important to this discussion on cross generational trauma, and it provides a very clear and distinct set of data, but there may also have been a predisposition to those genetic changes and the other changes that were passed on to children, due to the centuries of abuse and a much slower genocide, particularly for European Jews. (And by European Jews I am referring to Jews who were geographically in Europe, which would predominantly be Ashkenazi and Sephardic Jews, but would also include many North African Jews and Middle Eastern Jews, in Europe.)
Children of the Holocaust
(And other Jewish traumas, but this was the title of the book that started the current discussion on cross-generational trauma)
Post Traumatic Slave Disorder and Cross Generational Trauma in African Americans
“The Truth is that disability has been with us, in us since the beginning of time. Disability has held and kept us. It is in our marrow, in our blood, our sweat and tears. Disability does not make us less than, it makes us who we are. Ableism and anti-Blackness are the enemy. Disability is our kin. While the world has convinced itself and the Black community that disability is a bad word and a bad circumstance. It is neither. Disability and Blackness is pride. Disability and Blackness is innovation. Disability and Blackness is brilliance.
Native Americans and DNA evidence
- “They began to question their parents’ honesty. Unsettled, Bernarda sought therapy; the counselor suggested she was suffering from generational trauma. Her cholesterol skyrocketed. She went on medication. Then, for two years, she went blind.This may be the stuff of allegories, of parables.This may be an appropriate response to the maggoty underbelly of deception that belies North America’s modern creation story.What the sisters found after Bernarda’s vision returned, and they focused on family lineage in earnest, was no French connection. Instead, poring over birth records, marriage licenses and death certificates across five Mexican states, they uncovered a genealogy that packs the continent’s post-Columbian history of exploitation, racial violence, and shame into a tale of a hundred-plus years of cruelty and denial.”
Forgiving the Unforgivable: Geronimo’s Descendants Seek to Salve Generational Trauma: TRAVELING TO THE HEART OF MEXICO FOR A CEREMONIA DEL PERDÓN
- Trauma May Be Woven Into DNA of Native Americans http://indiancountrytodaymedianetwork.com/2015/05/28/trauma-may-be-woven-dna-native-americans-160508
- Indigenous Knowledge Lives Within Indigenous Languages http://www.realpeoplesmedia.org/new…
- The Theory of Historical Trauma Among Native Americans http://tpcjournal.nbcc.org/examinin…
- Trauma and Resilience in American Indian and African American Southern History http://www.amazon.com/Resilience-Am…
Native, Indigenous cultures and healing trauma. Eduardo Duran, PhD
Childhood Trauma, particularly ongoing trauma and violence
General Research and Cross Cultural Considerations
Expanded Research: Beyond Jews, African Americans and Native Americans. (New material)
Responses and Resources for healing:
(What it is and what it isn’t)
Meditation and Healing