Wednesday, December 19, 2007

It's Nice to Be Noticed

Over at the Disability Studies blog, there's a recent post that takes note of a piece I wrote several years ago in MAINSTREAM magazine. The magazine is no longer published, but this piece on Tiny Tim lives on. By the way, it's also posted on this site down below from last Christmastime. Read and enjoy. And thanks much to Penny Richards for pointing out the piece.

Look Who's Against Us

You know that the ADA Restoration Act is moving though Congress with a ton of supporters in both houses. And yet, there's another ton of people opposed to fixing the ADA so that it clarifies the intent of the original law protecting the rights of all Americans against discrimination on the basis of disability.
Over at National Council of Independent Living, they've got a post and a link to the list of organizations opposing the Restoration Act. Check it out. Take a minute and tell one or more or all of them to straighten up and fly right.

Here's the list:
Opposed to The ADA Restoration Act:
Associated Builders & Contractors
Food Marketing Institute
HR Policy Association
International Foodservice Distributors Association
International Franchise Association
National Association of Convenience Stores
National Association of Manufacturers
National Council of Chain Restaurants
National Federation of Independent Business
National Restaurant Association
National Retail Federation
National Roofing Contractors Association
Retail Industry Leaders Association
Society for Human Resource Management
U.S. Chamber of Commerce

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Jerry Lewis shows who matters

Labor Day again, and that clown Jerry Lewis staggers through a numbing day, rattling his tin cup for money for MDA. Crips have been complaining and protesting for years about Lewis's attitude and derogatory decriptions about people with disabilities. The mainstream media has taken little note. But this time, Jerry let fly a crude anti-gay remark -- and you can read about it, and hear about, just about everywhere. The gay community has media clout. Good on 'em.

The disability community has a long way to go to match that clout. We're working on it, and making headway. But it always seems to be somebody else's job.

We even have trouble getting other groups interested in our issues.

Last weekend, the National Lesbian and Gay Journalists Assocation held its annual meeting in San Diego. I was on a panel about disability and coverage of disability issues. There were five panelsts named; one was sick and could not come; two failed to show. Not that it mattered much; only three people turned up to hear the discussion.

So it goes at most such events. The panel almost always outnumbers the audience at disability sessions at journalism gatherings. Nobody wants to be disabled -- or think about it. If they have a disability, most journalists don't want to admit it. Journalists, like most people (I would say), think of disability as an individual medical issue, not as a social-political-economic issue encompassing a huge class or group of people.

It is ironic that on Labor Day many people with disabilities have to protest and demonstrate to claim our basic human rights instead of focussing attention on our epidemic unemployment and poverty.