Thursday's post is Zoe's reply to Robert, which reads in part:
.....you were adamant that parents have a place in the disability rights movement. I want to begin by letting you know that we are in vehement agreement on this point: in terms of advocating for the rights of disabled people, I absolutely think that non-disabled parents and relatives have an important role to play.
As commenters this week have been pointing out, this role is a complicated one. Among parents, advocacy is occurring on two levels: parents advocating for their children individually, and parents becoming involved in disability rights generally. Because you refer to yourself as a disability advocate as well as an advocate for Schuyler, I can see that you consider both types of advocacy to be central to your work.
As a parent, you are familiar with your child’s needs. Your description of the role of a shepherd as a guide and protector is a moving depiction of the way you relate to Schuyler as a parent -- and, I think, the way parents relate to their children generally. I admire your efforts to guide and protect Schuyler, and I have no wish to tell you what to do on that front.
When it comes to broader disability rights advocacy, however, working cooperatively with disabled people becomes part of your role. The shepherd analogy is touching when describing parental care, but it is less appropriate as a model for a relationship between political allies. The problem is not only with this imperfect metaphor, but with the attitude towards disabled activists that the metaphor reveals....
I have some concerns from you letter that I’d like to address.
Go read the whole thing. And the comments. Always the comments -- which are also deep, rich, and challenging.
- Link to the whole series
- Day One: Zoe of Illusion of Competence to Robert Rummel-Hudson
- Day Two: Robert Rummel-Hudson to Zoe
- Day Three: Ari Ne'eman of Autistic Self-Advocacy Network (ASAN)
- Day Four: Zoe of Illusion of Competence
- Day Five: Robert Rummel-Hudson</li>