Philosophy, Eugenics & Disability in Alberta and Places North – Dick Sobsey Parts 1 & 2

On October 25, 2008, the What Sorts Network hosted a public symposium to examine, well, philosophy, eugenics, and disability in Alberta and places north.  Four speakers were featured on the panel, Dick Sobsey, Simo Vehmas, Martin Tweedale, and Rob Wilson.  This event was video recorded and over the next month we will highlight these videos on this blog.  Videos will be featured on average twice a week, roughly every Saturday and Wednesday.

To download the full description of the symposium please click here.

We begin this series with the first two parts of the presentation by Dick Sobsey titled “Varieties of Eugenics Experience in the 21st Century.”  This presentation amounts to a summary of various kinds of eugenic motivations, justifications, and practices from the 19th century to today with a good collection of anecdotes and trivia. A transcript of both parts follows the fold.

Part 1

Highlights from part 1 include: shift from religious to scientific view of the world; quality of life; social Darwinism vs. biological capitalism.

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1930s Drama Exposes Horrors of Forced Sterilization

Tomorrows Children

Tomorrow's Children

Tomorrow’s Children is a 1934 drama that intends to make a bold statements about everything that is wrong with forced sterilization.

Thanks to the magic of YouTube and the passage of time this film is both available for viewing and in the public domain. Continue reading

Excluded: Sorry, it’s not your right

Recently there’s been one story after the next in the news about an autistic child, and about special needs children, being removed (physically, in some cases) from public spaces: A Minnesota church, more than one airplane, a kindergarten classroom. I’ve followed many of these cases on my autism weblog and the discussions that have emerged have often gotten long, and been more than heated—-they’ve been full of vitriol, hostility and disgust that parents of disabled children have so little regard for others’ safety and are, indeed, so seemingly careless of the needs of others.

Parents of disabled children do care very much; indeed they may be the most sensitive of all to how strangers feel when a child “misbehaves” in public. But being parents of kids who often don’t get understood, we have to take care—to advocate—for our kids. Experience has shown me that, at the end of the day, if my husband Jim and I don’t stand up for Charlie, people just walk by. In May, I wrote a post entitled Excluded: On Keeping the Faith about the daily advocacy a parent of a disabled child, and one’s disabled child, find themselves performing everyone we step into a public place and I’m reposting it here. Continue reading