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Zephyr | 20:34 UK time, Sunday, 8 July 2007

I feel like a kindergartner when it comes to this disability rights movement stuff. It seems like every other disability blogger out there knows way more than I do. I haven't read one single website or book about disability rights or history. All I know is what I've gleaned from other bloggers, Ouch!, news stories and such. My knowledge is woefully inadequate.

I hope you'll all have a little patience with me if I use the wrong words sometimes. I'm only now finding out that calling someone a spastic or a spaz is equivalent to the N-word, at least in the UK. Even if I don't mean it in a bad way, like 'Hey, so-and-so is spastic' the same way I call myself arthritic. Am I gonna get yelled at for that? It was just an example!

If I use words that are offensive or inaccurate, don't hesitate to call me on it. I can take it. The same goes for ablist statements. I'd far preferred to be called on being ablist than have people let me carry on being ablist. It hurts like hell to know I did something ablist, but at least if I know, I can change it.

Since I don't know much about the disability rights movement and our history, can Ouch! readers bombard me with some web links and book titles, please? I tried searching my library, but I had no idea what to look for. Many thanks.

• Visit Arthritic Young Thing
*May contain adult content*


For books, try No Pity by I think Joe Shapiro. Focuses on the US disability community.

Also google terms like "independent living centers" and track down the history of that movement. Independent living centers tend to focus on people with mobility impairments and frankly haven't done that much for people with other types of disabilities. And some of today's ILCs are now run by the government and (so I've been told) have lost their activist/advocacy roots. But they're still an important part of the disability rights movement, at least in the US, because back in the day they put forth this really radical notion (well, it was radical back then)that people with mobility impairments who needed care support should not have to be limited to living in nursing homes or hospitals -- it was possible to live independently out in the community with the appropriate support system.

I recently wrote about language and how we choose to refer to other people and ourselves in my blog (i'm a relatively new blogger). If you're interested, check it out at:

You'd be surprised how quickly it's possible to end up sounding like you know WTF you're talking about in disability rights. :)

Book-wise here are some I've gotten along well with; while some are about one specific disability, the theory does apply to others.
John Hockenberry: Moving Violations
Douglas Biklen: Autism and the Myth of the Person Alone
Kenny Fries: Staring Back

You might try putting searches for "disability rights" or "disability studies" into Amazon... That way you'll be able to see excerpts and know which titles will be most interesting to you. :)

Some sites & blogs:

Ballastexistenz (Amanda Baggs)

Ragged Edge

UC Berkeley's History of the Disability Rights & Independent Living Movement

The New Civil Rights (History)

Blogging Against Disabilism Day 2007 (great for links, blog posts, etc.)

Disability Blog Carnival (great for links & posts; new topic is given each month)

The Independence Myth

Getting The Truth Out

The Gimp Parade (check out her link list!)

Thanks, mogymania!

  • 5.
  • At 07:02 PM on 16 Jul 2007, Kenny Fries wrote:

Keep at it.

Try reading my new book, The History of My Shoes and the Evolution of Darwin's Theory, for a new perspective.

Kenny Fries

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