Rangel takes heat for ‘disabled’ comment

now again more than questionable use of language
Interviewed by New York television station WCBS Friday evening, the powerful New York congressman was asked why Democrats appear “afraid” of Palin. “You got to be kind to the disabled,” Rangel, chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, responded in an answer the reporter interviewing him later called “astonishing.”

Shortly after the interview aired Friday night, Rangel issued a statement say his words were “misinterpreted.”

“Sometimes in the heat of a political campaign you choose words that can be misinterpreted,” he said. “Governor Palin is an obviously healthy person who in no way fits the description of disabled. I meant to say then, and I am saying now, that she entered the campaign with a disadvantage in the area of foreign policy.”

read here
My question: what fits the description of disabled? the deficient unable to be a president….?

2 thoughts on “Rangel takes heat for ‘disabled’ comment

  1. Gregor,
    thanks for posting this report, and for problematizing the remark about “the description of the disabled”. In addition to the remark’s problematic implication to which you have drawn attention, it should also be noted that with the remark Rangel conflates disability and unhealthiness. As disabled people in general, and disability theorists and activists especially have long argued, however, disability (which is a socio-political positioning and form of oppression) is not to be confused with health status. Indeed, it is a blatant stereotype that disabled people are unhealthy and weak. Many disabled people are as healthy as many of their nondisabled counterparts. It should be very disconcerting and alarming to, and regarded as worthy of serious questioning by, Americans “on the left” furthermore that an elected Democrat thinks that the treatment Democrats owe to “the disabled” (to use Rangel’s objectifying term) is “kind[ness]” (ergo sympathy, charity, paternalism) rather than justice, equality, recognition, and the full range of rights and liberties that (many) nondisabled Americans take for granted.

  2. Pingback: Return of What’s Hot at What Sorts « What Sorts of People

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