Category Archives: Resources

DISability Word Matters

EMMA’S LEXICON

This post is under constant construction (and deconstruction) as nuanced language is needed to define experiences and identities as our perceptions shift and change. This is a rewrite of a post from many years ago, for example.)

DISabled (formerly Dis-abled): One who has a non-conforming body or mind, that others are able to dis  without fear of social consequence. she is dis-abled.

DISability (formerly Dis-ability): the ability to be dissed without fear of any social consequence for the offender due to a due to a physical, cognitive or emotional non-conformity. she has a dis-ability.

I capitalize and emphasize “DIS” in order to begin to deconstruct the way we think about DISability. To begin to look at it as something that society imposes on a person or a group of people, not a condition inherent in that person or group. Derivatives would include: DISmiss, DISparage, DISrespect, DIScourage, etc.

ENabled: the opposite of DISabled. Someone who has those qualities, characteristics, identities, capacities that are considered favored and are accommodated without consideration. People who don’t use wheelchairs for example, don’t consider having chairs provided for them at gatherings or events, as a special accommodation to their particular needs. Public staircases, maintained at public expenses, or any other public accommodation that is routinely provided to them without special consideration isn’t considered, is accepted as a norm, while those accommodations for people who are DISabled are seen as burdensome or at best, special and exceptional.

Medical Model of DISabilty—the idea that the person has a condition that needs fixing, changing or curing and that any problem the person has with society is due to their own condition or impairment.

Social model of DISability–  Distinguishes between impairment (the condition) and DISability—social exclusion.  For example, I am totally capable of participating in conferences, classes, and forums,  as a speaker,  an audience member, a student and as one of the organizers. But if there were steps (a social/physical construct) into the facility, I would be prevented from attending. It is not my impairment that would prevent my participation, but rather, the social construct of stairs, a decision that architecture takes priority over diversity.

PWD– Person with a DISability.

PWOD-Person without a DISability. I don’t like the term able bodies, because it implies that dis-ability has to do with impairment, and not social exclusion. It also ignores mental and cognitive dis-abilities.

Acceptable Marginalities: Words and phrases that contribute to the marginalization of PWDs:  Retard Stupid Schizo Crazy Nuts Idiot Dumb Deaf  (turn a deaf ear) Blind (the justices were blind to the issues raised in the case.) Lame

These terms are used quite freely to describe and insult people who are not PWDs. The use of these terms assumes and perpetuates the marginalization and the acceptability of marginalization of PWDs. Example of similar types of marginalizing language are “That’s so gay.” Or the use of the term black, to denote something bad—black magic, black idea, black mood, black humor, black mark, black sheep, as well as the way men will call each other girls or ladies when insinuating that their friends aren’t man enough.  Words matter or we wouldn’t use them.  https://inbedwithfridakahlo.wordpress.com/2016/11/13/word-matterswords-matter/

Word Matters/Words Matter:

On ableist language, the words we
use and alternative discourse

Also posted on the Facebook page of Radical DISability
https://www.facebook.com/notes/radical-disability/word-matterswords-matter-on-ableist-language-the-words-we-use-and-alternative-di/1746544745582960

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.

 Links

Alternative Discourse

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

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.
  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. I reject the idea that soldiers are victims. Soldiers are perpetrators. If perpetrating violence is traumatic, then that’s easy– stop perpetrating violence.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. 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 it 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).
  10. 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.)

Topics:

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

Childhood Trauma, particularly ongoing trauma and violence

General Research and Cross Cultural Considerations

Responses and Resources for healing:

Restorative Justice

(What it is and what it isn’t)

Meditation and Healing

Bearing Witness

If 30 is the new 20, and 50 is the new 30, is dis-ability the new 65?

Google Demographics and YOU

how accurate is google with your demographic information? on me, it was wrong both in gender and age, making me a man, almost a generation older than i am now. given that there’s not a whole lot age specific in my google searches, and i share a lot of interests with people a whole lot younger than me, i figure it’s my searches on illness and dis-ability that ages me, that puts me in this obsolete demographic. i get how they would mess up on gender, though i’m just as likely to google women’s clothing and housewares as i am to google home repair, organic gardening and television and film action/dramas. i don’t know which gender would get credit for photography, college classes, education and human rights. (except dis-ability rights– ghettoized with geriatrics)

check out how google sees you, and let me know.

http://www.thestar.com/business/article/1121693–here-s-how-to-find-out-what-google-knows-about-you

www.thestar.com

The search engine giant may know less about you than you think. Its ad preferences track your online behaviour, but can it predict your demographics?

Moving Forward

I hadn’t realized it’s been a half a year since I last posted to this blog.   I keep three other blogs, and while I’ve made a few posts on those sites, and I did create a new page: “Resources for Accessibility” to this blog. (see the menu at the top of this page); it’s been a slow year for me as a blogger, and I haven’t made any new posts, here  since December.

I’ve been spending a lot of time on facebook– where, in addition to my private wall, I also have 2 organizational walls– DragonflyHill Urban Farm, and Cafe Intifada, and I’ve started tweeting, too. So, so much social media, and perhaps I haven’t needed to blog as much. Been venting my frustrations there. Regardless,  I do need to come back to bed with frida, not that she missed me. But I hope my readers have.

We’ve also been busy fixing up our home– DragonflyHill Urban Farm, busy with urban farming. I’ve been taking classes in photography and have a very serious and extensive work in progress I’ll be posting to the web sometime soon. And life’s been hard. very hard. We’re coming out of several difficult years and I THINK we can see the light at the end of the tunnel, and I’m hoping it’s not the train!!!!

I do expect to be doing a lot more writing in the coming weeks. Some of the topics you might expect to see include:

The Clientization and Infantalization of Dis-ability— the tendency of health care providers, friends, family, co-workers and others, including activists to see PWDs (people with dis-abilities) as clients to be cared for, and not peers to be respected, empowered and nurtured. Along with clientization comes infantilization– seeing PWDs as little children and putting us in our place. (this becomes especially acute for women PWDs, who are apparently expected to be good little girls.)

Emma’s Lexicon: A guide to the terms I use and their meanings, including PWDs. dis-ability, dis-abled, as well as words to address issues of imperialism, colonization, occupation, social justice and radical healing.

Radical Healing:  How to heal in community, how to provide systems of support, how to build community, and at the very least, what NOT to do.  I’m also looking at the role social networking: blogging, Facebook and twitter can have in breaking down the isolation of illness and dis-ability. I’ll also look at how these venues can also be abused by bullies and perpetrators to increase marginalization and victimize targets of abuse.

Resource Pages:  Pages that provide resources on a specific topic.  For example, see our page on Resources for Accessibility. (See links above)  Other pages include resources on Accessible urban farming, healing trauma, etc.

On my other blogs look for posts of essays, stories and poems including much writing on racism, sexism, movement building, infiltrators in the movement, blacklisting,  building community, white supremacy, etc. As well as a variety of resource pages on political figures, issues, etc.

And look forward to my new web page of my photography, something that has been in the works for some time.

To find me on the blogosphere and the rest of the web go to:

https://inbedwithfridakahlo.wordpress.com/navigating-emmalandia-links-to-emma-rosenthals-web-presence/

disability etiquette and full inclusion!

to assure a dis-ability affirmative space for all events, avail yourself of this important leaflet, (download link below)  and then do the outreach. people with dis-abilities don’t show up to events in l.a. because events are dis-ability hostile and indifferent.

make sure all venues (including the bathroom and the stage) are accessible (a temporary ramp is very inexpensive!)

choose an identified monitor to assure continued accessibility and to resolve problems as they arrise through out the program.

and most importantly, add the following statement to all publicity for your events:

this event is wheelchair accessible and dis-ability affirmative. if you need additional accommodations please contact us 72 hours prior to the event.

(and then be ready to provide sign language interpretation and other accommodations as needed.)

this isn’t just the responsibility of government and business entities.

lack of inclusion is a violation of the human rights the left and community organizations claim to support.

we need to take the responsibility to find the resources so that we are true allies building full and complete movements for social justice.

http://www.unitedspinal.org/pdf/DisabilityEtiquette.pdf

For more information on accessible event planning:

https://inbedwithfridakahlo.wordpress.com/2009/09/30/guide-to-accessible%20event-planning/

Guide to Accessible Event Planning

THE RESPONSIBILITY FOR ACCESS LIES WITH THE EVENT PLANNERS. IT IS NOT THE RESPONSIBILITY OF THE INDIVIDUAL ATTENDING THE EVENT.

The issue of disability rights is often either ignored within the larger human rights dialogue or treated with outright hostility. Too often events are either held in inaccessible locations, or the way space is used, in otherwise accessible locations, rendered inaccessible. Additionally, often individual attempts at participation are greeted with out right hostility and ridicule by many individuals who consider themselves to be advocates of (more worthy?) human rights causes. If we are to build a strong movement that is truly democratic, truly representative and truly uses all the resources, skills and expertise of our community, it must be fully inclusive. if inclusion is not a collective responsibility it is delegated to the individual to assure her own participation, to adjust to the larger constructs, rather than have the community make the adjustments and accommodations. Often participation is totally impossible. IF YOU WANT TO KNOW IF YOUR EVENT IS DIS-ABILITY FRIENDLY AND ACCESSIBLE– IF WE AREN’T THERE, IT ISN’T!!!! Conversely, just because a few of us ARE there, doesn’t mean the event is accessible or safe or inclusive. It just means a few of us found a way to access a portion of the event, on their own.  Some wheelchair users for example, are very athletic and can climb stairs. Their presence at an event doesn’t mean we’re all welcome, safe or included.

Attached is a guide book, published by the City of Los Angeles, for making events accessible. I would add that

1. Progressive communities need to begin (BEGIN!!!) the dialogue on inclusion.

2.All events have a designated accessibility coordinator to make sure aisles remain clear and unblocked and to support people with dis-abilities, should problems arise.

3. Ridicule and humiliation of people with dis-abilities be treated like all hate speech, and that appropriate action be taken to assure events are not hostile environments.

4. Where “special” entrances are necessary, specific signage and staffing must be provided so that people with dis-abilities have the agency to come and go with the same liberty as all other participants, not having to wait until someone becomes available to assist them.

5. Add the following statement to all publicity for your events:

this event is wheelchair accessible and dis-ability affirmative. if you need additional accommodations please contact us 72 hours prior to the event.

(and then be ready to provide sign language interpretation and other accommodations as needed.)

6. My biggest pet peeve, are otherwise accessible venues where the stage is not accessible. IT IS A VERY STRONG REMINDER– “YOU ARE WELCOME TO BE HERE, BUT WE DON’T FEEL THAT YOU HAVE ANYTHING TO SAY!”

http://ens.lacity.org/dod/indexpage/dodindexpage169433612_11152005.pdf

FOR MORE RESOURCES ON ACCESS AND PLANNING FOR INCLUSION:

https://inbedwithfridakahlo.wordpress.com/resources-for-accessibility-links-and-downloads/