Category Archives: disability

On Disability and Cartographies of Difference

By Guest Contributor Wilfredo Gomez, cross-posted from The Feminist Wire

I recently returned to my alma mater to encounter a rather peculiar and interesting narrative about my legacy. While interacting with former teachers, classmates, and current students, stories were told about the years I spent at the school. One person told a story about how I played varsity basketball during my last year of high school, never having played a single minute. I trained in silence, dedicating time and effort for three years, being overlooked until I finally got my break. I rode the bench and never paid attention to the games, as I was too focused on academics and trying to get somewhere. But in the last game of the season with 15 seconds left on the clock, the captain of the team called a time out and requested I join the team on the court. With the clock winding down to zero, I was told to stand in the corner and wait for a pass.

 

That pass was delivered as promised and the defense collapsed on me, forcing me to hesitate and give the ball up. The ball came back my way where I dribbled to my left and took a shot over the outstretched arms of two defenders who may as well have been giants. While a blur, the shot went in as time expired, the only two points I scored in my career, and fans rushed the court emptying the stands, lifting me up in celebration of my presence and shot. I was the team’s good luck charm. Another person told a story about how I was confined to a wheel chair and they had fond memories of my racing up and down the hallways as I moved from class to class. They recalled my playing basketball, not playing, and leaning over to my fellow teammates saying that I was headed somewhere. One would think that if these narratives were to have gotten out to the public, they might have attracted the attention of ESPN. These recollections of heroic feats and athletic persistence were only partial to the narratives of the legacy I have left behind.

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The Hippocratic Oath Doesn’t Apply To Undocumented Immigrants

By Andrea Plaid

hospital sign

Even as the Drop The I-Word campaign and their partners celebrate the good news about the Los Angeles Times and the Denver Post dropping the i-word, US hospitals are quietly dropping off undocumented immigrants who need life-saving long-term health care in the countries they emigrated from in order to keep down costs.

According to both NPR and Huffington Post, these healthcare facilities have sent about 600 people back under the system of “medical repatriation” in the last five years. Under this, the hospitals put the stabilized, and usually unconscious, patients on a chartered international flights–which the facilities are willing to pay for–back to their former home countries.

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Controlling Portions, Controlling Pregnancies: Race And Class Panic In New York City Public Health Campaigns

Poster for New York City’s “Real Cost of Teen Pregnancy” campaign. Via NYC.gov

By Guest Contributor Sayantani DasGupta

This month, New York City launched a new campaign called “The True Cost of Teen Pregnancy.” The 4,000 bus and subway posters, which reportedly took two years of planning and cost the city $400,000, feature wailing toddlers and babies (mostly of color) next to captions such as Honestly, Mom, chances are he won’t stay with you… and I’m twice as likely not to graduate high school because you had me as a teen.

Yes, teen pregnancy is experienced disproportionately by girls of color and girls living in poverty. Yet data shows that national teen pregnancy rates across ethnicities are dropping not rising, including in New York City. So why this public health campaign? And why now?

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On Our Radar: Push Girls

By Latoya Peterson

Browsing the Thick Dumpling Skin blog, I came across a short mention of a show called Push Girls, being produced for the Sundance Channel. The core conceit is that it explores the lives of four women in wheelchairs–but it caught my attention for featuring multiracial friendships and a reality show that doesn’t revolve around petty fights and getting wasted. And, as if I needed another reason to watch, two of the main characters are women of color –Angela Rockwood-Nguyen and Auti Rivera.

Angela, who seems like she is the core friend holding the group together, is mixed Thai-German. She’s also got an amazing (and tragic) connection to some major players in pop culture. In 2001, Angela was paralyzed in the same car wreck that killed Thuy Trang (who was famous for playing Trini, the original Yellow Ranger on the popular Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers series). At the time of the accident, she was married to 21 Jump Street star Dustin Nguyen. People Magazine did a write up on the couple in 2007, noting:

For Dustin and Angela, it was the beginning of a different kind of love story. All but abandoning his career, Dustin devoted himself to Angela’s care, bathing her, feeding her, tending to all her needs. The first time Angela cried was six months after the accident as Dustin inserted her catheter. “It hit me what our life was about,” she says. “I said, ‘You don’t have to live this life. You can just go.’”

Six years later, he’s still there. “The idea of leaving is ridiculous,” says Dustin, 45. “I’m not trying to be saintly or noble. But there is only one thing to do: take care of the wife I love. Things happen. You react and move on.”

Sitting in their cozy, wheelchair-friendly 1920s-era house in L.A., the couple laugh easily and trade affectionate gazes.

But as the story opens, it is revealed that Dustin and Angela separated in 2011, and there are many tense conversations about where each wants the relationship to go. Continue reading

And There I Thought Jokes were Supposed to be Funny

by Guest Contributor Chally, originally published at Zero At the Bone

Katie Price and HarveyKatie Price, also known as Jordan, is a British TV personality and former model. I’m Australian, so I can’t claim to know much about her. The one solid thing I came into this piece knowing is that she is the subject of a lot of ire in the way only British tabloids can produce. Her eldest child, ten-year-old Harvey, was fathered by a former Trinidad and Tobago football player called Dwight Yorke, and is blind and autistic. You can see how this is going to go already.

In December 2010, a comedian called Frankie Boyle performed a routine on the UK’s Channel 4 poking fun at Katie Price through Harvey. It was pretty awful in a number of ways, but the bit I want to focus on is the following joke, which refers to Katie’s former relationship with Alex Reid: “I have a theory about the reason Jordan married a cage-fighter: she needed a man strong enough to stop Harvey from fucking her.” Continue reading

Quoted: Former Roundtable Member Hexy on ‘The Diversity of Femme’

I have experienced a general ignorance about racial and Indigenous issue in queer and femme communities, and an expectation that anti-racist activism be considered secondary to feminist, anti-homophobic and anti-femmephobic activism, when queer femmes of colour often experience our identities to be one holistic piece. It is an impossible request for a femme of colour to separate her experiences as a person of colour from her experiences as a femme or her experiences as a queer, and it is unreasonable to ask us to prioritise racism last simply because it is not something that affects white femmes. Significantly, this attitude promotes the idea that femme is an identity that cannot co-exist with an identity of colour, that one must choose between being a person of colour and being a femme, or that being femme is a “white thing”. This drives femmes of colour away from femme community, from femme organisations, and possibly away from femme itself as an identity and a self-label. If femme communities and organisations are to acknowledge and embrace the diversity that exists amongst femmes, we must make an effort to be deliberately inclusive, to work to have femme viewed as something other than a white identity, and to acknowledge that working against racism should be something done by everyone.

As a femme of colour who is read as white, I’ve experienced a lot of white queers simply misracialising me. Queers who know quite well that I’m Indigenous will ignore this fact, either through their own white privilege, through refusal to correct their ignorance of Indigenous issues, or through a kind of blindness where they cannot see past my skin. While recent years have seen an attempt by many Australian queer communities to address issues of internalised racism and become more inclusive of racially diverse members, they often still remain white centric and exclusionary to people of colour. The only answer to this is for every member of these communities to actively address inclusivity as a priority, to work at addressing their own internalised prejudices and biases, and to aim for a diverse community as an ultimate goal. I strongly encourage everyone here to take the time to read a little of the awareness-raising work being written by some of the amazing femmes of colour and other queer women of colour, even if most of it is coming out of the US, where there is a far more established femme of colour community than there is here. Hopefully we’ll start to see some homegrown voices soon.

- From Feministe, June 15

New DC Universe Scoreboard, Part II: Rounding out the 52 titles

By Arturo R. García

Now that DC Comics has announced all 52 books for its’ upcoming reboot/relaunch, it can be said that, yes, the company looks to be featuring a more diverse group of characters as protagonists – for now. But what happens after the new DCU debuts in September will be the key.

A round-up of the titles announced after June 6, and further analysis, follows under the cut.
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Dress You Up: The Racialicious Roundtable For Nikita 1.2

Hosted by Arturo R. García

In one sense, “2.0″ kicked off what’s sure to become one of the show’s major plot points: Who’s really running Alex’s agenda? The episode veered back and forth between showing her being rescued and cleaned up by Nikita in preparation for infiltrating Division and, in the present, getting rushed into – ahem – service while the department tries to protect a smarmy former despot.

Sure, right now Alex is firmly in Nikita’s corners for reasons not-quite-known, but with Michael once again “getting too close” to the rookie agent, there’s sure to be a triangle of some sort developing in the weeks to come. Which still might mean bad news for Maggie Q’s title character, but in the meantime, at least she still gets to shoot people – seeing her blast a fool into the wall was fun – and crack a joke here and there. But not all the Table members are as high on the show anymore …

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