Film and lit crit about disability

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"Inspector Lewis" -- Point of Vanishing (Masterpiece Mystery! -- PBS)
Colors of me, Me
capriuni wrote in crip_crit
Tonight (on most stations -- check local listings, etc.), there's going to be a repeat of "Inspector Lewis," where the plot revolves around a family whose teenage daughter becomes paralyzed in a car crash, and the action is driven by the different family members' reaction to same -- including the daughter's reaction.

The first time it aired, I got to wondering how the way this is dealt with reflects the difference between Britain's predominantly Social Model of Disability, and America's predominantly medical model.

So... you know, if you have 90 minutes or so to spare sometime this week, maybe you could check it out so I have someone to talk to about this?

(cross-posted from my own journal)

Edited to add: Spoilers may appear in comments. Read at your own risk.

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Good point about "person with blackness"; maybe that's why the term tends to irritate me? I think it depends on the context, and what other words it's being teamed with. "Person with AIDS" is far preferable to "AIDS victim", for instance.

"The disabled", on the other hand, is definitely undesirable as it elides the person altogether. Similar, RNIB now stands for "Royal National Institute for Blind people" rather than "for the Blind". I can't put my finger on how it works semantically, but putting "the" in front of a disabled group always seems to disempower that group.

I agree that banning the word "disabled" is daft; yes, it's problematic, but it's still one of the best terms around and it remains useful. It's certainly better than smug jokes such as "differently abled", which frankly I just find insulting.

Incidentally, while the social model is undeniably useful, it also causes problems. I am not disabled because people refuse to make accommodations for me, although that makes matters worse; I am disabled because I have a massively debilitating medical condition which affects all aspects of my life. People can make disability accommodations until they are blue in the face and I will still be hugely disabled, unable to do the vast majority of things. This would be the case even if disability accommodations reached standards currently unimaginable.

People can make disability accommodations until they are blue in the face and I will still be hugely disabled, unable to do the vast majority of things.

True. And that's where the distinction between "impairment" and "disability" becomes blurred. "Impairment" being the limits of your abilities in a simple, value-neutral way, and "disability" being how much your impairments impinge on your role in the world at large.

There's a societal attitude out there that says that to be considered an equal citizen in your community, you must be able to do X, Y, and Z. And if you can't, then you'll be kept to the periphery and treated as a charitable afterthought.

My current favorite blog (Since April of this year I think) is Rolling around in my head. Its author has worked as an advocate for folks with cognitive impairments for many years, and four years ago, became physically disabled himself. So he's seen the Disability Rights fight and social implications from both sides. He's also a very good writer.

Actually, I wasn't thinking about my role in the world at large, I was thinking about how my disability affects me personally. If I can't shower when I want to or read a book for pleasure or make myself a meal, that's about me, not how I interact with the world, and that's definitely about disability. Frankly, I find the idea of moving the focus to purely how other people respond to me to be taking it away from me and how I am disabled, and thus disempowering me. My disability is primarily about me, not about other people, and this is not just because I am so ill that I am almost entirely socially isolated. As far as I am aware, this is true of the vast majority of disabilities.

Quote: and this is not just because I am so ill that I am almost entirely socially isolated. Unquote

What if we lived in a world where even seriously ill people were remained integrated into their communities?


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