Never Mind the Bollocks: It’s Heavy Load!

The five members of heavy load raising a red flag (literally)

The five members of heavy load launching a red flag

Yesterday I saw the world premier of the brilliant documentary Heavy Load: A Film About Happiness at the Edmonton International Film Festival. It’s about the UK punkish band of the same name. They’re middle-aged punk rockers with a difference: the band started with the musical dreams of several individuals, each with some cognitive / learning impairment or other, to be in a band. Together with support staff Paul and Mick (guitars), Michael (drums and vocals), Simon (vocals) and Jim (guitar and vocals) formed Heavy Load over 10 years ago. The doc follows the band over about a 24 month period, culminating in their Stay Up Late Campaign last year, which highlighted a late night limitation of many of their audience members: Continue reading

Call for papers: On the impact of nanoscale science and technology on disability, community and rehabilitation.

Call for papers: On the impact of nanoscale science and technology on disability, community and rehabilitation.

For a special issue of the International Journal on Disability, Community & Rehabilitation (IJDCR) (http://www.ijdcr.ca/copyright.shtml)

Guest Editor: Gregor Wolbring, Community Rehabilitation and Disability Studies Program, Dept of Community Health Sciences, University of Calgary.

Invitation

Nanoscale science and technology, while still in its infancy, describes a rapidly growing sphere of enquiry, with many and varied implications for the disability field. To establish a ‘benchmark’ of the current state of knowledge and conceptual understanding, the Editors of IJDCR decided a special issue should be devoted to the topic. Background information and potential topics are presented below. Continue reading

Crimes against people with cerebral palsy

The recent murder conviction in the UK of Joanne Hill for drowning her 4-year-old daughter Naomi because she was ashamed of the girl who had mild cerebral palsy, raises questions about whether crimes against people with cerebral palsy are rare events or business as usual. An icad post summarizes a sample of some of the news about crime stories against children and adults with cerebral palsy that have been published during September 2008. Crimes range from bullying and harassment to sexual abuse and murder. Continue reading

Violations of the Human Rights of People with Albinism

This post (acknowledgements to Sandy Sufian and Penny L. Richards) includes a letter from Rick Guidotti of Positive Exposure, the link to a petition Guidotti will take to Tanzania, as well as a link to the NY Times article (June 2008) on these unspeakable crimes. 

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We write to advise you of disturbing human rights violations against people with albinism in Tanzania that call out for action by the genetic community and ask for a few minutes of your time to make a difference.  Recent reports from Tanzania published by BBC News, New York Times and the Washington Post tell of the murders of persons with albinism, including children, on the orders of witchdoctors peddling the belief that potions made from the legs, hair, hands, and blood of people with albinism can make a person rich.

In mid-October, Positive Exposure’s Rick Guidotti (www.positiveexposure.org) will be traveling to Tanzania in partnership with Under the Same Sun (www.underthesamesun.com) to  collaborate with national and local government officials, authorities and interests groups to develop effective strategies to end these 
crimes against humanity.  Please sign the online petition which the team will present to the government of Tanzania. We need 10,000 signatures for this to be effective.  http://listserv.galists.org/t/345183/10873/81/0/?u=aHR0cDovL3d3dy51bmRlcnRoZXNhbWVzdW4uY29tL3BldGl0aW9ucy5waHA%3d&x=dde07514

This petition will also let the albinism community in Tanzania know that they are NOT ALONE and that many throughout the world are standing with them in defense of their fundamental human right to safety, security and freedom.

Positive Exposure is a non-profit organization that challenges stigma associated with difference by celebrating the richness and beauty of human diversity. 

Here is the link to the NY Times article: http://www.nytimes.com/2008/06/08/world/africa/08albino.html

“Let’s Talk About It”: Contemporary Eugenics for Louisiana and the Problem of Intergenerational Welfare

Famous picture of The Kallikaks

Famous picture of The Kallikaks

Republican state representative  John Labruzzo has recently suggested a sterilization program in Louisiana to solve the problem of “intergenerational welfare”. Labruzzo’s proposal derived from a “brain-storming session” (which makes me kinda wonder what sort of brains were involved). Labruzzo represents himself as prepared to go–on the bold ideas for the 21st-century front–where no man has gone. Readers of this blog, however, will know that the idea is all too familiar in the history of eugenics. The core proposal was to pay (say) women who are deemed to be in a situation of “intergenerational welfare” $1000 to undergo tubal ligation.

I don’t know whether Labruzzo has also had the bold idea of making this compulsory, or working actively in ways to make the economic plight of such women even worse than it is now so that they would be more likely to accept such a “voluntary” program of sterilization. Both might be ideas that Representative Labruzzo’s brain-storming team missed, but both would be natural extensions of the eugenics program he is just kinda throwing out there for people to consider. The proposal derived, it seems, in part from Labruzzo’s reflections on the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, and the more recent hurricane activity in the Gulf of Mexico.

I wish I were making this up (as can sometimes happen …). But I’m not.

What do New Orleans, or Louisianers, or Americans more generally, think of this, one wonders? Some vids and other links on this beneath the fold, where you can see Labruzzo in action defending the idea and a few ways in which it has been picked up in the media already. Continue reading

The Criminal Brain

Cover of Rafter's The Criminal Brain showing two head shots

Cover of Rafter's The Criminal Mind showing two head shots

Criminologist / sociologist Nicole Rafter has a new book out, The Criminal Brain: Understanding Biological Theories of Crime, with NYU Press. The flyer here will give you a spanking 20% off, and I’d be happy to send it to anyone who needs one. Rafter has written extensively on crime, science, film, and, most relevant for me and many readers of this block, on the history of eugenics. Her White Trash: The Eugenic Family Studies: 1877 – 1919, which is surprisingly hard to get now (our library, with over 5 million volumes, doesn’t have it …) collects the now classic “white trash studies”, starting with Dugdale’s “The Jukes”, which provided the core of the scientific basis for eugenic sterilization policies in North America, including here in Alberta. You can get heaps more information about Rafter from her website. And for a special 20% discount … Continue reading

Families and Memory — Free Public Symposium

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A Free Public Symposium on Eugenics and Family Life:
Past, Present & Future
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Friday, October 24, 2008, 8:30 am – 4:00pm
Edmonton Public Library, Stanley Milner Branch (Downtown)

This FREE PUBLIC SYMPOSIUM will centre on the stories and experiences of survivors of sterilization, institutionalization, and other aspects of our social structure that have excluded persons with real or perceived disabilities from family life

Planning on attending? Enrollment is limited! Please tell us!

Visit http://www.whatsorts.net and register today
(Register Here)

Get more details on the day beneath the fold.

Continue reading