Disability and class

Doyle Saylor djsaylor at ix.netcom.com
Thu Jun 18 20:31:02 PDT 1998

Hello everyone,

Carrol Cox replied to a part of my lengthy reaction to some of Marta Russel's observations. I note this reply from Carrol; (Doyle) 1. "For example aside from needing attendent care, what about the independence of schizophrenics! I mean where is the autonomous line to be drawn for true independence?"

(Carrol) First, why turn it into a metaphysical question by invoking "true independence." I have fairly close relations with two schizophrenics, one being a friend's daughter and the other being man who serves with me on the board of a local "drop-in" center managed by the local DMDSG and NAMI.

(Doyle) I'm not sure what you regard as metaphysics in the phrase "true independence". Perhaps the word "true". Barrier free autonomous behavior is fairly clear when one is talking about someone who uses a wheelchair. But not so with a cognitive disability. You condescend about your schizophrenic "friends". You may also be invoking the classic rationalist argument about the mind, that it is beyond knowing, and metaphysical subject. In the sense that we still don't know a lot about schizophrenia, or mood disorders, or any of list of medically defined disorders, we aren't in the nineteenth century anymore. Every day now, the debate about the brain throws new light upon what we do when we use our brains. It is science, not metaphysics.

(Carrol) It would probably illegitimately impinge on the young woman's "independence" to force her to work. Bill would be a bit better off if there could be socially useful "make work" for him, with not too much pressure to perform. (He would of course perform *better* the less the pressure was.)

(Doyle) It is condescending, and wrong headed to view this man as needing "make work", any more than I need "make work" or you need "make work". In a sense I think Marta brought up, you don't look at someone disabled as "equal", or a fellow worker, you look at them with a telescope without a sense of their having rights except what you give them.

(Carrol) and since some of the disabled can do nothing, they should be paid for doing nothing.

(Doyle) It seems to me here you are raising a stereotype of who the disabled are. That is you do the same as the sportscaster who says "Blacks are naturally better atheletes". You make assumptions about something called "doing nothing". Think about why that leaped to your mind to reply to my words. However, I wish to also acknowledge you are very right to raise the idea of struggle here. I don't think anything can be won without it, and certainly persons such as yourself will listen carefully, and give me consideration. Thank you. Doyle Saylor

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