Disability Rights Organizations Express Outrage Over Attacks at McCain-Palin Rally

Note from ST: Here, at last, a national disabled people’s coalition in the US has publicly decried the repeated invocation of the expression “special needs” in the discourse about disabled people that has surrounded the upcoming election.  Disability activists and members of the disability studies movement internationally have long eschewed this expression, arguing that it individualizes and depoliticizes disabled people’s entitlement to social resources and medicalizes their disenfranchisement.  What follows is a recent press release from the US National Coalition for Disability Rights:

ADA Watch.org
National Coalition for Disability Rights
1701 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW, Suite 300
Washington, DC 20006

 NEWS RELEASE:
 October 31, 2008

 Disability Rights Organizations Express Outrage Over Attacks at McCain-Palin Rally

 

(Washington, DC) The National Coalition for Disability Rights (NCDR) pushed back today against the McCain-Palin campaign for ridiculing the legal rights of people with disabilities. News reports describe McCain-Palin campaign representative Senator  Kit Bond (R-MO), joining Vice Presidential candidate Sarah Palin at a rally in Rush Limbaugh’s hometown of Cape  Girardeau, Missouri, mocking Presidential candidate Senator Barack Obama for stating that he’s looking to nominate judges who empathize with “disabled.”

 

“It’s Halloween and it seems that Sarah Palin’s mask of support for people with ‘special needs’ is slipping.  Despite past pandering to people with disabilities, McCain-Palin are actually opposed to vital disability legislation like the Community Choice Act and they want to appoint judges who will further roll back the civil rights protections of the Americans with Disabilities Act,” declared NCDR’s founder and president, Jim Ward. Continue reading

Documentary: “Offense Taken”

Jerry W. Smith of the Institute on Community Integration at the University of Minnesota has drawn attention to this documentary of one community’s response to use of the word “retard.” Produced by Self-Advocates of Minnesota (SAM), “Offense Taken” is 26-minutes in length and closed-captioned, with a shorter version available for workshops and classrooms. The film is premiering this evening in Minneapolis and will be available on DVD in early September.

For more information, please visit the website: http://rtc.umn.edu/rtcmedia/offensetaken/index.htm

As Smith points out, although the film was produced in response to a Minneapolis theater group’s use of “retard” in one of its performances last summer, it has nevertheless garnered attention again given the release of “Tropic Thunder”. Anyone who has questions about the documentary or its distribution, can email Jerry Smith at smith495@UMN.EDU or contact Advocating Change Together (www.selfadvocacy.org) by phone at 651-641-0297.