“Care is an organizational structure needed to keep our nation running.” “Care work makes all other work possible.”

Care is an organizational structure needed to keep our nation running. It’s, by definition, infrastructure.

Source: Molly Doris-Pierce on Twitter

Putting care—not just care work, but care—at the center of our economy, our politics, is to orient ourselves around our interdependence.

Source: The Year That Broke Care Work | The New Republic

care work makes all other work possible

Source: Care for All Agenda

I added those quotes to my Just Sayin’ collection in a new section on care.

I love how the Biden administration is centering care and pushing for HCBS (Home and Community Based Services) funding, especially after an administration that centered cruelty and left the HCBS system on the brink of collapse.

President Trump and Sen. McConnell’s relief bills contained no funding for HCBS, leaving the system on the brink of collapse. The most recent relief bill, the American Rescue Plan, contains $12 billion for HCBS, and advocates weren’t even certain the money would be in there until late in the process. Historically, home care and disability services in general simply haven’t been a priority, under Democrats and Republicans. Under President Joe Biden, that appears to have changed, as $400 billion is more than any of the advocates I spoke to had hoped for or expected.

Source: Biden Plan Would Allow People Needing Care to Stay at Home – The American Prospect

Deinstitutionalization and HCBS services are the biggest priorities of the neurodiversity and disability rights movements. That $400 billion is desperately needed.

Interdependence and care are good framing and good centering. Design is tested at the edges, where care is most needed. This $400 billion is a very welcome recognition of all that. Cheers to all the advocates and policy workers who got us to where this is even a possibility.

I’ve been rabbitholing, lately, on eugenics, particularly on what I call the cradle-to-grave eugenics of our current systems, contrasting that with the bioarchaeology of compassion and care. During my journey, this line jumped out to me as a disabled and neurodivergent parent of disabled and neurodivergent kids:

“[O]ur system punishes you for not practicing eugenics by not providing a social safety net.”

By not providing care.

When care is not infrastructure, when we are not oriented around our interdependence, we generate ableism and eugenics.

But if you’re killing an entire person to get rid of a non-communicable health condition, maybe think on why you’d feel the need for that. Is it for the good of the child? Is it for the greater good? How do you define that? Maybe it’s because our current system places greater value on a certain type of person? Maybe it’s because our system punishes you for not practicing eugenics by not providing a social safety net.

Source: Neoliberal Eugenics 1: Selective Abortion – Leslie’s Blog

What will future archaeologists of our care make of us? Let’s unlearn the individualism myths and politics of resentment engrained in us, center care, and celebrate our interdependence.

The notion of disability in our society is underscored by a bizarre conception of “independence”.

It is time to celebrate our interdependence!

Source: The Myth of Independence: How The Social Model of Disability Exposes Society’s Double Standards » NeuroClastic

We are dying for you to widen your lens.

Republicans have balked at the idea that infrastructure encompasses caregiving. “We’re up against a gender and racial bias that this work is not worth as much as the rubber, steel and auto work of the past century,” Mary Kay Henry, president of SEIU, told The Washington Post. “The key job right now is we have to in the public imagination and in the congressional debate widen the lens, so that people understand that investment in caregiving is an investment in infrastructure.”

Source: Biden Plan Would Allow People Needing Care to Stay at Home – The American Prospect


Principled, Pedantic, Non-compliant Canary

“I have my principles and am pedantic, and therefore I will not do it.”

Source: Silberman, Steve. NeuroTribes: The Legacy of Autism and the Future of Neurodiversity (p. 96). Penguin Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.

Readwise surfaced this quote from NeuroTribes, which rolled film on a succession of flashbacks of professional regrets, but also on an appreciation of my canary moments.

Autistic man Freestone Wilson suggested in the 1990s that autistic people are functioning as the “miners’ canaries” of civilisation. When the air in the mine is poisoned we do not prevent canaries being born in case they suffer from the poison and upset us: we clean the air or close the mine.

Source: Discussion paper on eugenics and diversity

Autists are like the canary in the coal mine of mainstream society. We are amongst the first who are affected by pathologically hyper-competitive cultures.

Source: What society can learn from autistic culture | Autistic Collaboration

…at the same time, Asperger insisted that the non-compliance of his patients, and their tendency to rebel against authority, was at the heart of what he called “autistic intelligence,” and part of the gift they had to offer society.

Source: THINKING PERSON’S GUIDE TO AUTISM: On Hans Asperger, the Nazis, and Autism: A Conversation Across Neurologies

And, take my word on this, no one can identify and rebel against an unfair system as efficiently as a kid or adult with ID, except perhaps an autistic person. They know the system is unfair!

Source: PBIS is Broken: How Do We Fix It? – Why Haven’t They Done That Yet?

Some of those pedantic principles were part of an inchoate affinity for structural ideology and reflexive disdain for deficit ideology that I’ve only recently gained the vocabulary and framing for through neurodiversity and disability rights communities.

Imagine that you have a neurodevelopmental disability that gives you some challenges with social skills and possibly the occasional rigid adherence to things like truth and fairness. Chances are good that you’ve been explicitly and implicitly told that you are pedantic, rude, blunt and not considerate enough of others’ points of views for your whole life.

Source: I Overcame My Autism and All I Got Was This Lousy Anxiety Disorder: A Memoir: Kurchak, Sarah: 9781771622462: Amazon.com: Books

Context, Framing, and NAUWU

If a person’s behavior doesn’t make sense to you, it is because you are missing a part of their context.

Source: Laziness Does Not Exist. Psychological research is clear: when… | by Devon Price | Human Parts

And if having these different viewpoints within my study was important, understanding the perspectives and experiences of autistic children and adults in particular was essential. Time and again I found that issues aired say, by teachers, would be completely reframed when the autistic adults discussed the same points.

Source: Wood, Rebecca. Inclusive Education for Autistic Children . Jessica Kingsley Publishers. Kindle Edition.

Part of the importance of NAUWU is having the context and framing to perceive another.