The impulse to separate some groups of people from the category of the human, is, however, a universal one. The enemies we kill in war, the convicted prisoners we lock up for life, even the distant workers who manufacture our clothes and toys -- how could any society function if the full humanity of all these were taken into account? In a decent society there are laws to resist such dehumanization, and institutional and moral forces to protest it. When guards at Rikers Island beat a prisoner to death, or when workers in China making iPhones begin to commit suicide out of despair, we regard these as intolerable evils that must be cured. It is when a society decides that some people deserve to be treated this way -- that it is not just inevitable but right to deprive whole categories of people of their humanity -- that a crime on the scale of K.L. becomes a possibility. It is a crime that has been repeated too many times, in too many places, for us to discuss it with the simple promise of never again.
from The System, by Adam Kirsch in The New Yorker, April 6, 2015
Oliver and I are speaking this afternoon to a class of fifth grade students at a very exclusive and progressive private school in Los Angeles. The students are studying social injustice and disability, so our talk will be about our experiences with disability. We plan on talking about how people perceive those with disabilities, how the history of disability rights has affected the lives of the disabled and how work continues to be necessary to ensure that all human beings, regardless of their intellectual or physical capabilities are treated with and live a life of dignity. We will, of course, be talking mainly about our own lives with our beloved Sophie -- how her unique and sometimes difficult life has transformed and shaped ours. We'll be talking about #dontstarepaparazzi , too, in the goofy, lighthearted way that sustains us.