Common Sense Ableism and Velvet Eugenics

Yet the cultural impulse to assume that people with genetic variations are in a constant state of suffering, and that it blights our lives, is so pervasive that it is even internalized by some with genetic conditions themselves.

Such genetic determinism is a new form of eugenic thinking grounded in what the communications studies scholar James L. Cherney calls “common sense” ableism, a belief system that allows people to simultaneously deny any commitment to distasteful eugenic principles while also holding them up. Common sense ableism permits, even encourages, such injurious attitudes.

Utilizing genome manipulation tools and performing genetic selection is tantamount to engaging in what Rosemarie calls “velvet eugenics.” Enforced by laissez-faire commercialism, rather than by the state, velvet eugenics seems like common sense, yet it hides its violence and inequality behind claims of patient autonomy and under a veil of voluntary consent. Ultimately, market-driven velvet eugenics embodies a similar goal of purging unacceptable human variations that campaigns to eliminate the supposedly unfit and inferior have held in the past. Both enact a mandate to exclude people with disabilities from coming into the world.

Source: The Dark Side of CRISPR – Scientific American

“Common sense ableism” and “velvet eugenics”. I like those terms. They capture so much. “Common sense ableism” is a deadly fixture of COVID responses.

Via: Aspie Neanderthal Master Race – The NOS-Letter

You should totally subscribe to Sara Luterman’s “need-to-know neurodiversity and disability rights newsletter”, “The NOS-Letter”.

4 thoughts on “Common Sense Ableism and Velvet Eugenics

  1. Sara Luterman’s writing about meeting and debating Peter Singer was SO good! I’m a bit stuck on the fact that he was not surprised, shocked, OR embarrassed about their “handicap” accessible aka service elevator at Princeton?! If for no other reason than to acknowledge that as an issue and FIX it for incoming students, staff, or visitors. Keep pressing on Sara and Ryan; thank you for your insight!

  2. I took a class at Harvard medical school, and the only way into most buildings for the physically disabled, was a very hidden and not well marked service elevator, accessed through a basement (the only disability exit was in the basement of one building). Surprisingly, non of the professors, or students saw the problem. This is the medical that Charles Krauthammer attended before, and after an accident left him a quadriplegic.

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