On Ableism and Animals

[We need to crip animal ethics, incorporating a disability politics into the way we think about animals. It is essential that we examine the shared systems and ideologies that oppress both disabled humans and nonhuman animals, because ableism perpetuates animal oppression in more areas than the linguistic. To me, far from proving that animal justice is impossible and silly, the complexity of sentience and the vast array of mysterious life and nonlife on this planet show that we need a nuanced understanding of different abilities and the different responsibilities those abilities engender.

The problem is not reason itself but rather the ways in which reason has been held up as separate from and more valuable than emotion, feeling, and other ways of knowing and being. This definition of reason stems from a history of patriarchy, imperialism, racism, classism, ableism, and anthropocentrism, and too often carries these oppressions within it. These issues are particularly important to keep in mind when theorizing liberation for those who do or may lack “reason,” such as nonhuman animals and individuals with significant intellectual disabilities.

Intellectual inferiority has been so easily animalized because animals themselves have long been understood as intellectually inferior. The association of animals with cognitive deficiency must be challenged, not only because many species exhibit signs of human intelligence and because animal minds are complex in their own right (in ways that often cannot easily be compared and contrasted with human capacities), but because intellectual capacity should not determine a being’s worth and the protections they are granted.]

On Ableism and Animals | An excerpt from Beasts of Burden, which was published by The New Press in February 2017

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(Native American) Madness and “Civilization”

“People know what they do; frequently they know why they do what they do; but what they don’t know is what what they do does.”
Michel Foucault, Madness and Civilization: A History of Insanity in the Age of Reason

HIAWATHA

[…. Given the ease with which a Native person could be judged insane, it is no surprise that demand for places to confine people began to exceed the number of beds available for these unfortunate souls. Asylums outside Indian country started taking in this overflow, but the associated medical superintendents opposed housing Indians with whites, due to their perceived inferiority, the agitation of racist white inmates and the potential for interracial sex, which violated accepted eugenics principles.

In 1901, the Bureau of Indian Affairs began construction of the Hiawatha Asylum for Insane Indians in Canton, South Dakota. By January, 1904, shortly after Hiawatha’s completion, theCherokee Advocatereported that there were just 18 inmates in the Cherokee Asylum and the building was “sadly in need of repair, especially the windows, as they are nearly pane-less.” With the imminent statehood of the Territory and the loss of tribal jurisdiction, some Cherokee inmates were eventually placed under Oklahoma state management.

Others were transferred to the new BIA government asylum in South Dakota. In 1918, the U.S. Census Bureau endorsed theStatistical Manual for the Use of Institutions for the Insane, published by the National Committee for Mental Hygiene, as a “national system of statistics of mental diseases” to help track the threat of undesirable racial strains and their mental problems. This early DSM version served eugenics, a powerful social movement aimed at eliminating inferior races through sterilization and reduced birth rates. From 1921 to 1924, a eugenics display supplied by the American Museum of Natural History stood in the Capitol Rotunda, and eugenics philosophies were instituted in social and health services across Indian country….]

Read the full article here | INDIAN COUNTRY TODAY

Also… 5 Odd Facts About the Tortured History of Virginia Indians | INDIAN COUNTRY TODAY

The American Indian Youth Suicide Epidemic | MAD IN AMERICA