Monday, November 16, 2015

Weekly Reading List

Picture of a multicolored stack of books
Failing The Disabled (Project Overview)
Minneapolis Star-Tribune - November 8, 2015

There's only one link on this week's Weekly Reading List, because it will take you to a unified series of five articles by the Minneapolis Star-Tribune, examining how outdated policies and practices in Minnesota affect the lives of disabled people there. It's a brilliant series, and we need to see more journalism like this all over the country. It is heart-rending, but not in the usual way for disability articles where you feel pity for the disabled people. Instead, you feel angry at the backwards thinking, bureaucratic laziness, and abject, ignorant fear that keeps these policies going. The series is a remarkable blend of no-nonsese investigative journalism and deeply emotional human interest, a combination rarely seen in disability stories. It IS possible to write emotionally resonant stories about disabled without lapsing into "inspiration porn."

I am massively impressed.

I would only add one note. The abuses and stupidities described in these three articles are products of bad systems, not just bad people. Please don’t think that group homes, sheltered workshops, and the like can be just fine, as long as you find just the right people to run them. Good people go in with great intentions, but the systems overrule them. They are flawed, and it’s time to abandon them, not keep trying to make them a little nicer.