Sunday, June 10, 2007

"Let the cripples demonstrate"

[visual description: Jack Kevorkian at a press conference on Tuesday after his recent release from jail.]

sayeth recently freed Jack Kevorkian according to a news report in the Detroit Free Press which describes Kevorkian's reaction to Not Dead Yet, a disability advocates group and their efforts to make their opposition to assisted suiciide known through legal demonstrations.

It's sad that Kevorkian gets to use the media to belittle legitimate efforts by disability advocates through name calling. This kind of behavior has been coming from the right to die folks since his release (if you click assisted suicide, you'll see an opinion column by Russell Shaw that falls in this category as well).

But Kevorkian gets to make his point.

What are they so afraid of that they stoop to name calling and belittling disability advocates? It's because they do not want to address the legitimate arguments that are being raised as to the disproportionate number of assisted suicides Kevorkian did on people with disabilities, not with terminal illnesses. Instead of addressing this issue in public appearances, such as press conferences and his recent interview with Mike Wallace, Kevorkian instead tries to dismiss groups like Not Dead Yet via an old school yard trick - name calling.... make his point.

It's a very telling tactic. Language and disability (see my label below) reveals a lot about how people think. It can uncover attitudes or cause them. I'm not sure that Jack Kevorkian understands that some disabled people aren't bothered by the word cripples. Some are bothered by it when its used by able bodied people. Most,if not all, are bothered by it when it's used with negative connotations behind it... make his point.

We should all, able bodied and disabled, be bothered by the use of language like cripples when it's used with the motive to demean disabled people. Maybe this kind of language is still okay in this country because, let's face it, it's used every day. .

Although maybe by using it publicly, without meaning to, Kevorkian is helping to make our point.