I do not advocate killing disabled people
Listen to this post:
Trigger Warning: Murder and rape of disabled people and Peter Singer. I could have just put “Trigger Warning: Peter Singer.” If you have the fortitude, please read on and assist my community in amplifying protests against eugenicists.
In early April, my social media caught on fire with proud Autistic advocates and activists asking people to not light it up blue for Autism Awareness and not support Autism Speaks. They’re an organization with a long history of advocating violence against, and eradication of, autistic people. Tone It Down Taupe is a great counterpoint to the non-Autistic led campaigns about Autism Awareness.
But that’s not all that caught my feeds on fire. In the middle of traveling to present at DisArt’s Disability Arts Now! symposium and the UCLA conference aptly called Disability As Spectacle, murder came up again and again. (To be fair, my activist friends, especially Black, disabled friends post about community members’ murders regularly, often at the hands of cops.) This time, yet another article showed up in my feed pointing out the hypocrisy of animal rights activist Peter Singer. The guy who openly has gone on and on that we should kill disabled babies so they don’t become disabled adults. But please don’t eat animals because that’s cruel to destroy a precious life. Peter, what?
On Facebook, Audacity Magazine recently posted a new article from the New York Times on Singer’s view that rape is not a real problem when used against disabled people, focusing on the recent case with D.J. and Anna Stubblefield. The folks at Audacity Magazine posed this question: “Why are advocates so quiet about his latest rants?”
One tricky piece is that competing sides put D.J. in the middle in a way that he can’t win. Some say he’s too cognitively impaired to give consent. Others say we don’t know that, but facilitated communication (FC) is bunk; therefore, his alleged consent through FC is bunk. (Meanwhile, others remind us that there are actually Autistic people who learned FC and now communicate with words using FC or independently.) It seems that even in trying to advocate for D.J., many still devalue and dehumanize him and other people who don’t use speech.
What’s not tricky? Rape is horridly violent and illegal. Disabled people of any gender have a substantially higher rate of sexual assault than non-disabled people. And when a person has to rely on a caregiver who is committing the assault, you can infer how traumatic that gets if you don’t already know firsthand.
What’s not tricky? Rape apologies are horrid and violent. Eugenicists like to draw this line: keep this person, and discard that one. If you believe that some rapes are justified and/or are not rapes because of who was raped, you’re drawing lines as eugenicists do: protect and nurture this person, and discard the wellbeing of and compassion for that one.
If you’re concerned with reproductive justice, consent, health, and safety, you must include disabled people in your activism. This goes with fighting for the rights and safety of all people who are dis-enabled by society, whether immigrants, poor people, people of color, trans people, and yes, the list does go on but not because we’re snowflakes. It’s because we’re fully human.
If you have the time, energy, and spoons, please–disabled or not–assist us to amplify our message that the vegetarian Peter Singer and his philosophies are eugenicist, not “utilitarian.” Please educate yourself by clicking on the many links I placed in this post, or by reaching out to me if you need assistance, and use whatever platform you have. This is directly related to the high rates of police brutality against, and over-incarceration of, disabled people of color and to the government’s work to slash benefits and healthcare access. Do you want some elitist society that discards the 99%, inclusion, or liberation?
Thank you to Shiri Eisner for the image description that’s in the Alt. text for this picture.
“All bodies are caught in the bindings of ability, race, class, gender, sexual orientation, sexuality and citizenship. We are powerful not despite the complexities of our identities, but because of them.
Only universal, collective access can lead to universal collective liberation.
This is Disability Justice.”
Written by Sins Invalid, Aurora Levins Morales, Patricia Berne and Leroy Moore.