accessibility rights

i’m so excited to go to vietnam with my mom bc i know how hard she’s worked my whole life and how hard it’s been for her to be away from her own family and that it means the world to her to go back and see her own mom who is sick and for me to see my grandma again because she knows she won’t get another chance to go unless something bad happens. i’m glad we could take this trip together now that i’m an adult and can appreciate it more for everything it means to both me and her. 

Disabled people’s lives are not tragedies.
Parents and carers are not “heroes” for loving disabled people.
Disabled people’s private moments should not be shared without consent on your “warrior mom” blog.
Disabled people are not your pity hires, dates, or friends.
Disabled people do not exist to be saved or spoken for by non-disabled people.

Treat disabled people with respect and dignity.
Treat disabled people like people.

4

Economic security can’t be achieved without reproductive freedom.

In order for women to participate as full citizens in society and have the same economic opportunities, we must have paid family leave and access to affordable birth control and abortion care.

Things I want white mentally ill people to acknowledge (that is if they genuinely care about wanting to be allies. Those that are blatantly racist will ignore this regardless of what I say, lol): 

  • yes, mental illness can and does affect everyone. but no, the way mental illness is diagnosed and treated does not fall along equal lines. like physical health and physical medical care, it is delineated by race, class, and gender, which means people of color, particularly working-class people of color, have the least access to mental health care and resources. 
  • yes, ableism is a problem, and we need to avoid it at all costs, but calling out and criticizing racism is not ableist. assuming that all people of color are neurotypical is both racist AND ableist. finally, using mental illness as an excuse to be racist is rife with ableism itself because you posit that mentally ill people are inherently going to be bigoted (and you also ignore the intersection of race and mental health). 
  • on that note, using your mental illness and past traumatic experiences as political currency is awful, especially when you’re using it to justify your own racism. people of color making jokes about white people is not ableist. people of color refusing to engage with your racism is not ableist. people of color calling you out for your racism is not ableist. people of color using terms that are specific to their racial/ethnic groups is not ableist. people of color prioritizing each other is not ableist. finally, pretending that only white people can be victims of trauma is incredibly racist. 
  • acknowledge that because of white supremacy, people of color are at a higher risk for mental illness and trauma while also contending with little to no federal help or attention and with under-diagnosis. acknowledge that culturally and racially specific programs for mental health are necessary because the way kids of color deal with mental health is very different from how white kids deal with it. culture is very much a part of mental health and mental illness. 
  • sociological and academic terms like “white guilt”, “white sociopathy”, “white anxiety”, and “white delusion” are NOT ableist terms. those are very specific terms used to describe systemic phenomenon - that white people do not see people of color as human, and thus are unable to empathize with us, they project their own guilt onto us in often violent ways, and they manifest their inherent hatred and fear of us in violent ways. you cannot be a good racial ally if you hate these terms or think that they don’t apply to you. i hate to break it to you, but they apply to all white people. 
  • on that note, but opening your mouth and screaming “ableist! this information is inaccessible!” the minute a woman of color uses specific sociological terms to describe racism is fraught with racialized misogyny. women of color have to do far more to succeed in academic spaces whereas white people, and yes even white mentally ill people, don’t have to contend with those obstacles. and obviously rhetoric should be accessible - that is absolutely right - but blaming women of color for using terms that rich white neurotypical men came up with and popularized is ridiculous. especially because women of color are not taken seriously whether they’re being angry and “unacademic” or whether they’re being academic and “pretentious”. 
  • if you don’t see the trauma enacted by white supremacy as an actual form of trauma, you’re racist. things like weathering and intergenerational trauma exist and those are specific forms of trauma caused by RACISM. 
  • cry-typing when you’re called out for being racist, saying that you don’t have the “spoons” to talk about or learn about racism, saying that posts about racism cause you “anxiety” or “trigger” you, blatantly ignoring vile acts of racism because “um sweetie i don’t have to discuss this because my mental health is more important than your marginalization”, “being racist is my coping mechanism” or contrasting and juxtaposing yourself as “fragile/naive/soft/innocent/gentle” against “mean/aggressive/snobby/pretentious/scary” people of color is incredibly racist. white people have been conceptualizing people of color as scary and brutal and aggressive for centuries. congratulations on reinforcing your own racist socialization by dressing it up with some faux-progressive sjw mental health rhetoric! 
Fandometrics In Depth: Feminism Edition

Tumblr has always been a place where feminists could connect and speak freely. And as Tumblr has grown, so have the allied communities and the size of the conversation. From 2013 to 2015, year-over-year growth in the number of original posts tagged #feminism increased at an average rate of 4.22%.

That changed in 2016. As Tumblr discussed the US presidential election and its impact on women’s rights, access to healthcare and the importance of consent, the rate of original posts tagged #feminism grew 20%, five times the growth of the previous three years. Looking at the entire ecosystem of Tumblr tags, original posts and reblogs about #feminism accounted for triple the amount of conversation it did in 2015.

Originally posted by somethingincrediblyright

2016 also saw a change in Tumblr’s understanding of what feminism means.

The term intersectionality describes the overlapping systems of oppression at play in society—it’s the idea that gender inequality, racism, class status, and other injustices are inseparable from one another and can’t be studied in isolation.

Between 2014 and 2016 there was a modest increase in engagement around #intersectionality. Original posts increased 13%, while searches increased 44%. But then came the Women’s March. On January 20th, 2017, engagements around #intersectionality spiked 5191% from just two days before. Since then, the whole tone of the #feminism conversation on Tumblr has changed.

In 2017 so far, people are talking about intersectional systems of oppression 21% more than they have in the last four years combined.

Originally posted by micdotcom

How does that change in tone manifest itself? Here’s a sampling of posts that have gone viral since the March:

Continuing the conversation

If you’re interested in joining the feminist conversation on Tumblr, there are tons of places to start. In addition to the #feminism and #intersectionality tags, you can head to tags like #wage gap and #pro choice to learn more about specific issues. There are also dozens of Tumblrs that dive deep into the conversation:

  • Feminist Frequency (@femfreq), a place to talk about feminism in gaming
  • Celebrating Amazing Women (@celebratingamazingwomen), which highlights women who have changed history on their birthdays
  • Whovian Feminism (@whovianfeminism), which looks at inequality through a fannish lens
  • Empower. Volunteer. Unite. (@ucf-now), the official Tumblr of the University of Central Florida’s National Organization for Women chapter, and
  • Action (@action), our hub to help connect you to the resources you need to become an agent of change.

Tina Fey has a message for Trump-voting white women: “You can’t look away”

  • A stinging 53% of white women voted for Donald Trump over Hillary Clinton in the 2016 presidential election, including 44% of college-educated women. Comedian Tina Fey does not think those women get to walk away from what’s arguably a garbage fire that they helped light.
  • At the American Civil Liberties Union Stand for Rights benefit on Saturday, Fey spoke on behalf of the ACLU’s Women’s Rights Project. She slammed Trump for his sexual assault track record, and specifically targeted the Trump administration’s attempts to restrict women’s reproductive rights and access to reproductive care.  
  • “A lot of this election was turned by kinda white college-educated women who now would maybe like to forget about this election and go back to watching HGTV,” Fey said. Read more. (4/2/2017 4:01 PM)
"It's not just about wheelchair access"

I think that in disability discourse, wheelchair users face some fairly unique pressure to pretend not to be disabled. At the same time, wheelchair users are treated as the ultimate symbol of disability. In combination, I think there is very little space in which wheelchair users are allowed to talk about their actual experiences and needs. (Even in disability rights space.)

To some extent, all disabled people face some version of this. The thing I think is somewhat unique to wheelchair users is pressure to be the model of successful accessibility. There’s a misconception that accessibility is basically a solved problem for wheelchair users, and that we need to expand that model to all disabled people. This goes alongside a related misconception that the purpose of accessibility is to make disability irrelevant.

Wheelchair users face intense pressure to enthusiastically pretend that wheelchairs and ramps erase disability. This goes alongside pressure to have exactly the kind of disability that fits the story that others want to tell. The story goes: “Wheelchair users can’t walk. Wheelchairs and lifts and ramps solve that problem. If we had ramps everywhere, wheelchair users wouldn’t be disabled anymore.” The reality is much more complicated.

People get very angry when wheelchair users contradict this story. Wheelchair users are often not allowed to have access needs that don’t fit the story — and they’re also not allowed to have *abilities* that don’t fit the story. This anger is so intense that it’s dangerous for wheelchair users to stand and walk in public places. People also get angry at wheelchair users when a ramp is too steep, when it’s blocked, or when they insist that the existence of a lift isn’t good enough, they need to have the key so that they can actually *use* it. There’s not much room in the wheelchair access success story for talking about these realities.

There’s also not very much room in this success story for talking about the realities of growing up with a mobility disability. Children still grow up manhandled by therapists and pressured to learn to walk at all costs. Children still go through repeated surgeries aimed at fixing them. Children still get taught to allow adults to hurt them and touch them in ways that would be regarded as abuse if they were typically developing. Children are still pervasively excluded from educational and recreation activities and expected to bear it with a smile. Ramps and wheelchairs didn’t fix that, and accessibility advocacy should not make those things unspeakable.

The success story has even less room for talking about pleasure. Harriet McBryde Johnson said it better than I could, so I’m going to quote her:

“We need to confront the life-killing stereotype that says we’re all about suffering. We need to bear witness to our pleasures. …

Throughout my life, the nondisabled world has told me my pleasures must be only mental, never physical. Thinking to help me, it has said my body is unimportant. I respectfully disagree. For me, the body—imperfect, impermanent, falling apart—is all there is. Through this body that needs the help of hands and machines to move, that is wired to sense and perceive, comes all pleasure, all life. My brain is only one among many body parts, all of which work through one another and cooperate as best they can.”

McBryde Johnson, Harriet. Too Late to Die Young: Nearly True Tales from a Life (p. 255). Henry Holt and Co.. Kindle Edition.

Treating wheelchair users as a symbol of disability successfully erased has the effect of silencing wheelchair users. I think that a lot of us have been complicit in this silencing, and that we need to address this in disability culture. Partly for the sake of better solidarity with wheelchair users; partly because the silencing is hurting all of us.

I think that all disabled people face pressure to see ourselves as characters in a story about accessibility. Sometimes we’re expected to write the story. Sometimes we’re seen as characters in a story someone else is writing. Sometimes we’re supposed to believe that the story has already been written, and that all we have to do is get people to read the book.

I think that wheelchair users face particularly intense pressure to pretend that the story has already been written and has a satisfying ending. That’s not something any of us should envy. It’s not privilege. It’s silencing. And I think we need a lot less silence and a lot more solidarity. It doesn’t have to be this way, and it isn’t always this way. When we have space for honesty about the realities of disability, our communities are a lot stronger.

Wheelchair users are not a collective accessibility success story. Wheelchair users are people. None of us are stories. We’re all people. No amount of accessibility is going to make our bodies and brains irrelevant. Disability rights advocacy shouldn’t be about erasing difference. The point is not sameness; it’s equality. Accessibility is about building a world that treats us all as fully human, differences and all.

theverge.com
The New York Public Library just uploaded nearly 200,000 images you can use for free
The New York Public Library just released a treasure trove of digitized public domain images, everything from epic poetry from the 11th century to photographs of used car lots in Columbus, Ohio from the 1930s.
By Andrew J . Hawkins

Over 180,000 manuscripts, maps, photographs, sheet music, lithographs, postcards, and other images were released online Wednesday in incredibly high resolution, and are available to download using the library’s user-friendly visualization tool. It’s a nostalgist’s dream come true.

Being “disabled” means more than just being “physically incapable.” Yes, I’m capable of keeping track of my to-do list and of doing things. But I’m incapable of doing so efficiently, and I am incapable of doing so at all without expending significantly more energy than the average person expends on doing so.

Thus, I’d like to propose a more capacious definition of disability. Something like this: One is “disabled” with regards to a particular task when the effort one has to expend to perform that task is higher than the effort the average non-disabled person would require for the task (and that society generally sees as appropriate to the task, given the non-disabled person’s effort level).

Asking about relative levels of effort is essential, I think, not only for combating our own internalized ableism, but for interrogating whether public spaces and social goods really are “accessible” for disabled people. If I have to travel all the way around the block to  my school’s one barrier-free entrance, while my classmates can just duck in the nearest door, I’m expending considerably more effort. If I have to travel to the fourth floor to use the only accessible bathroom while everyone else can use the toilet on whatever floor they’re occupying, I’m expending considerably more effort. I may no longer be incapable of participating at all, but I still cannot participate equally.

We need to do better than “can’t.”

—  Autistic Academic, in “Disability and Can’t,” with one of the best definitions of disability I’ve ever seen. 
Harry Potter and the Dissertations of Phenomenal Curiosity

Neither Harry Potter nor JK Rowling need any kind of introduction, much less here on Tumblr, so we can pretty much rush ahead. Suffice to say, Rowling’s is a series of books so magical and transportive that when it was adapted for the silver screen, Duke Humfrey’s Library at the Old Bodleian was enlisted to play the reading room and the Divinity School became Hogwarts’ hospital wing. 

Today marks twenty years since the first publication of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, the book that started both a literary phenomenon and pop culture tidal wave. By way of wishing The Boy Who Lived a happy birthday, we decided to take a look at the Bodleian Libraries’ archives, collections and catalogues for all things Potter. Maybe the most amazing thing we found was the volume of dissertations that Harry Potter has inspired or influenced in just two decades.

Bodleian readers have access right now to over 165 different dissertations that name Harry Potter in their titles, and over 4,000 more that reference the Potter books or films as part of their arguments.

Here are just a few of these dissertations titles, chosen almost at random, to give you a hint of how many academic thoughts Potter has become entangled with along the way.

  • The Hero’s Journey Through Adolescence: A Jungian Archetypal Analysis of Harry Potter.
  • “All was well”: Harry Potter in the medievalist tradition.
  • Harry Potter and the moral spectrum of care: Using feminist care ethics to analyze morality.
  • Boarding a train: An exploration of the afterlife in Harry Potter.
  • Transfiguration maxima!: Harry Potter and the complexities of filmic adaptation.
  • A flawed father: downplaying fatherhood through the character of James Potter in Harry Potter.

By comparison, the same search for Star Wars yields only 31 dissertations, and Buffy the Vampire Slayer only 22.

When it comes to casting entrancing enchantments on the brightest and the best, it seems like the boy wizard is in a class of his own.

Hi Tumblr! Got a question for Gavin Grimm?

Gavin Grimm is an 18-year-old youth activist fighting for equality for transgender students. After his school board denied him access to the boys’ restroom on the basis of his trans identity, Gavin, with the support of his family and the ACLU, sued Gloucester County School District for his right to access to the restroom like every other boy in his high school. His case made it all the way to the Supreme Court this year, and is currently back down before the 4th Circuit Court.

Gavin will be on Tumblr to answer your questions in an Answer Time right here on @action on Friday, June 23 at 12pm ET / 9am PT

Submit your questions for Gavin to our Ask Box now!