Friday, July 18, 2008

"Activist: Obit: Harriet McBryde Johnson

The Wall St. Journal has a great article on the passing of Harriet McBryde Johnson who is listed as a "disability rights activist". I confess I was not aware of Mrs. McBryde before reading this obituary, but love her positions.

I particularly like the piece of the article about her work with "Jerry's Orphans"

"Ms. Johnson was part of a disability rights movement that had changed dramatically since the first Jerry Lewis Labor Day telethons in the 1960s, with their offensive references to "cripples" and their maudlin descriptions of "killer diseases." She worked with people like Mike Ervin, a former Muscular Dystrophy Association poster child who founded a group, "Jerry's Orphans," to protest the telethons; Ms. Johnson herself demonstrated every Labor Day on the streets of her hometown of Charleston, S.C. "
This is perhaps one of the most insideous issues in disability, is the telethon. It creates sympathy, perpetuates the "supercrip" idea, and instills fear. "No Pity: People with Disabilities forging a New Civil Rights Movement" by Joseph Shapiro has a great discussion of this issue.

No comments: