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26 March 2020

What I do know about COVID-19

I don't know much about virology, epidemiology, or pharmacology. But I do know that the vast majority of my friends, colleagues, and community members, are scared for their lives. Because just like always, government and corporations are showing how little they value disabled people. 

I know that at the end of this there's a very big possibility that literally half the people I know or more might be dead. This year.

I'm 27.

And I've already lived through deaths of dozens of my peers, due to institutional abuse, medical ableism, filicide, or police violence.

It's not even just that huge numbers of us are at significantly higher risk for severe infections and death. It's that literally right now states and hospitals are writing and updating "medical rationing" plans that would will deny care to many of us. Or forcibly take disabled people's existing ventilators.

We already know how deeply ableist the medical profession is. How disabled people are routinely denied eligibility for organ transplants, have newborn infants removed solely based on parents' disabilities, face forced sterilization, and are denied other lifesaving care. Disabled kids paraded naked in front of medical students as examples. Dental students practicing extractions by removing developmentally disabled people's healthy teeth. The fact that it took until THIS MONTH for the FDA to ban electric shock punishment on disabled people. The "bioethicist" who had a 13 year old disabled kid moved to his hospital so he could deny the kid necessary antibiotics for pneumonia, remove him from intravenous nutrition and hydration, then give him some morphine and watch him die instead. (The doctor is Norman Fost, by the way.)

All that before you even factor that for disabled people of color, disabled queer and trans people, disabled rural people, disabled workers, disabled people in jails and prisons... 
It's a million times worse than for moneyed degreed cishet white disabled citizens. Who are also terrified.

I know that so many people I know are scared shitless. Because they know we'll be left on the chopping block. 
And I know that too many people I know are also ambivalent about it all. Because they know we never had much of a chance in this violent, fucked up world anyway.

For instance, did you know that before including other factors like race and gender, autistic people die on average 30 years before non-autistic people
I am almost certain that a major causal factor in that statistic is denial of adequate health care plus medical ableism.

About the enormous numbers of disabled people in prisons? Helping Educate to Advance the Rights of Deaf Communities (HEARD) estimates that probably over 80% of people in jails and prisons are disabled in one or more ways - in large part because disability is both a cause and consequence of incarceration, as Talila Lewis repeatedly points out. The fact that prisons largely cage Black, Native, and Brown disabled people is no accident, but by design and deliberate intent. And the fact that COVID-19 is spreading and will continue to spread rapidly and uncontrolled throughout jails and prisons is also no accident. 

Prisons are ripe grounds for genocide. Prisons are a product of eugenics. Prisons are rooted in ableism, white supremacy, and capitalism, at a minimum. Prisons are violence.

Ableism is both necessary for and dependent on white supremacy, imperialism and colonialism, capitalism, queermisia and transmisia, and misogyny. Disabled people at the margins of the margins will absolutely be treated as expendable and disposable. We already always have been.

2 comments:

  1. Right on, as usual. Thank you for the education.

    ReplyDelete
  2. You are helping me learn so much and I want to learn more. Thankyou for your teaching. I will try harder to learn your kindness

    ReplyDelete

Hi! Thank you for sharing your thoughts with me. I manually approve comments, so sometimes it takes a few weeks, months, or even years to find and approve comments. This delay is normal. (Note that I also don't publish every comment, since this is my personal blog.) Unfortunately, anonymous commenting isn't available anymore since it resulted in over one million spam comments in a short period.