Texas Republicans Suppress the Crip Vote and Prescribe Forced Intimacy

Today, as Texas Republicans are advancing SB 7, legislation that directly targets disabled voters, Fair Fight Action launched a Disability Council made up of a diverse group of disability advocates. Members include Fair Fight Action’s Dom Kelly, former Congressman Tony Coelho, Sarah Blahovec, Emily Blum, Patrick Cokley, Matthew Cortland, Colleen Flanagan, Jules Good, Claudia Gordon, Mia Ives-Rublee, Ted Jackson, Emily Ladau, Andraéa LaVant, Vilissa Thompson, Zan Thornton, Gaylon Tootle, and Tiffany Yu.

Source: Fair Fight Action Launches Disability Council, Condemns Texas Voter Suppression Bill Targeting Disabled People | Fair Fight

That’s a great roster of disability advocates. So glad to see Fair Fight including us and fighting with us to #CripTheVote.

As for what Texas Republicans are up to this time…

Further, the legislation allows partisan poll watchers to film voters who require assistance at the polls if the watcher “reasonably believes” that the assistance is unlawful, forcing disabled people to defend themselves from harmful accusations and compromising their right to privacy.

Ableist, gross, and nerve-racking. Disability policing is already frustrating and demoralizing enough. I already worry about having to defend my disability status when a poll worker escorts me and my rollator forward (on those wonderful occasions when there’s a poll worker monitoring the queue). We’re filmed for disability policing, and we’re filmed for inspiration. It’s exhausting.

These proposals in SB 7 invade the privacy of disabled voters, forcing them to provide private and deeply personal medical information in order to be able to vote with assistance.

Moar paperwork!” says the Republican penchant for government-mandated forced intimacy.

Forced intimacy is the continuous submission to patient hoodrequired to access the right to learn, work, and live differently. K-12 SpEd families, higher ed students, and workers needing accommodations regularly experience forced intimacy. Forced intimacy “chips away at your soul. Every box you tick, every sentence about your ‘impairment’ and ‘needs’ becomes part of the narrative of your identity.

Forced intimacy is a cornerstone of how ableism functions.” “Forced intimacy is the opposite of access intimacy.” “Access intimacy is that elusive, hard to describe feeling when someone else ‘gets’ your access needs.

Source: Accessibility, Access Intimacy, and Forced Intimacy – Ryan Boren

Forced intimacy in the form of more paperwork requiring intimate details. Forced intimacy in the form of vigilantes filming us vote. Ableism and inaccessibility as a result. A Big Lie of fraud as justification.

Texas Republicans consistently insert themselves into our lives and care, imposing a continuous permitting process on our existence and encouraging vigilante permit policing.

Donate to Fair Fight, and vote against Republicans.

Ableist discrimination and bigotry materialize in countless ways, but talk to anyone whose disability isn’t immediately obvious and this kind of story pops up again and again. Encounters turn bad because a random individual-sometimes in a position of official authority, other times just a meddling onlooker-decides someone is getting away with something. They cry “fraud.” They demand proof. They seek to restore order. Such incidents often result in humiliation or forced disclosure. Worse, as in Minnesota, they can spark violence and trauma.

Thousands joined the thread to share their experiences: Anyone who uses accessible parking but who doesn’t look sufficiently disabled or who only uses their wheelchair sometimes has encountered the “Good Samaritan” stranger who demands that they prove their disability. It happens a lot in parking lots, because accessible parking spaces are hotly contested proving-grounds for disability.

We need to learn to expect disability. There’s no one way to look or be disabled. When someone asks for an accommodation, believe them. If someone is behaving in an atypical way, pause to reflect whether there might be a disability-related reason. Or just lighten up. Humans are diverse. We do things in our own unique ways.

Source: When Disability Is Misdiagnosed as Bad Behavior – Pacific Standard

Previously,

Equity Literacy in Diversity and Inclusion Statements

Our diversity and inclusion statements need to get structural, get social, and get equity literate. Use them to directly challenge the meritocracy myths, deficit ideologies, and politics of resentment that are toxic to culture, teams, and collaboration.

I evaluate D&I statements by the extent to which they acknowledge and represent these ideas:

The Direct Confrontation Principle: There is no path to equity that does not involve a direct confrontation with inequity. There is no path to racial equity that does not involve a direct confrontation with interpersonal, institutional, and structural racism. “Equity” approaches that fail to directly confront inequity play a significant role in sustaining inequity.

The “Poverty of Culture” Principle: Inequities are primarily power and privilege problems, not primarily cultural problems. Equity requires power and privilege solutions, not just cultural solutions. Frameworks that attend to diversity purely in vague cultural terms, like the “culture of poverty,” are no threat to inequity.

The Prioritization Principle: Each policy and practice decision should be examined through the question, “How will this impact the most marginalized members of our community?” Equity is about prioritizing their interests.

The “Fix Injustice, Not Kids” Principle: Educational outcome disparities are not the result of deficiencies in marginalized communities’ cultures, mindsets, or grittiness, but rather of inequities. Equity initiatives focus, not on fixing marginalized people, but on fixing the conditions that marginalize people.

Source: Basic Principles for Equity Literacy

With this in mind, my purpose is to argue that when it comes to issues surrounding poverty and economic justice the preparation of teachers must be first and foremost an ideological endeavour, focused on adjusting fundamental understandings not only about educational outcome disparities but also about poverty itself. I will argue that it is only through the cultivation of what I call a structural ideology of poverty and economic justice that teachers become equity literate (Gorski 2013), capable of imagining the sorts of solutions that pose a genuine threat to the existence of class inequity in their classrooms and schools.

Source: Poverty and the ideological imperative: a call to unhook from deficit and grit ideology and to strive for structural ideology in teacher education

Transitioning from invisible to visible disability

It’s 9am, and I’m still in bed. I’ve been uncomfortably conscious for hours thinking about how I will spend my spoons. Gravity pulls like a sickness. Just being awake costs.

I have to go out in public today. I can’t walk or stand for more than 5 minutes without suffering. I need something to sit on everywhere I go. My journeys are a seating map. The grocery store has few seats, and they are often sticky. Aisles and aisles without seating means I have to bring my own. My rollator makes errands possible.

I’m dreading today’s doctors’ appointments. Doctors’ offices and hospitals have seating, but those seats are in sensory spaces that make me stim. I still have the reflex to pace to manage sensory overwhelm, but my body ain’t having it. I’ll gouge my scalp bloody instead.

I can walk when I must. I can push myself through as much as 20 minutes of standing and walking, but the cost is great. I need the rest of the day to recover from such a reckless waste of spoons.

I sometimes long for a wheelchair. Far from being confining, a wheelchair would be liberating. I could stim with movement. I could save some spoons. I could stay below my diminishing thresholds.

I dread the moment of rising from the chair in front of others, though. Getting up from a wheelchair to navigate an inaccessible threshold, reach for something, or simply stretch does not compute for our ableist societies miseducated by the politics of resentment. You are judged a fraud, a fake, someone trying to get something you don’t deserve.

A wheelchair is in my future. Without one, I can’t go on outings with my family without melting spoons. I can no longer push past the shrinking limits of my endurance. I’m using a rollator now, but it can be slow, uncomfortable going. Even with rollator assistance, walking is a struggle with pain and gravity. A wheelchair would be enabling, but using one involves a direct confrontation with systemic inaccessibility and ableism. Am I up for it? My body becomes more and more convincing about its need for a chair, but I am reluctant to put up with more ableism than I already experience.

Wheelchairs are the symbol of disability. Transitioning to visible disability would avoid some invisible disability tropes, but those would be replaced by other tropes. And the moment I demonstrate that I can still, for now, walk, that symbol becomes an indictment.

People with mobility challenges use mobility aids; they aren’t confined or bound by them. They are tools, not traps. We are no more held back by them than is someone using a plane or boat to cross an ocean. They are all simply means we use to get places we wouldn’t be able to navigate without them.

I regret not acknowledging my need for help earlier. I wish I had not equated a walker with defeat or shame. I now talk about walkers, wheelchairs and other disability aids with anyone who will listen in hopes of destigmatizing them and the people who use them. Freedom, not confinement. Tools, not traps. I will keep repeating this until everyone who needs to break free feels comfortable using them.

Source: I’m Not ‘Bound’ To A Wheelchair; I Was Freed By One | HuffPost

Annie Segarra, who makes terrific YouTube videos about the intersections of disability with race, gender, and other aspects of identity, recently kicked off a viral Twitter thread concerning the constant barrage of micro-aggressions that she notices every time she gets out of her wheelchair. Thousands joined the thread to share their experiences: Anyone who uses accessible parking but who doesn’t look sufficiently disabled or who only uses their wheelchair sometimes has encountered the “Good Samaritan” stranger who demands that they prove their disability. It happens a lot in parking lots, because accessible parking spaces are hotly contested proving-grounds for disability.

Source: When Disability Is Misdiagnosed as Bad Behavior – Pacific Standard