Tuesday, September 04, 2007

No Longer One of 'Jerry's Kids' - washingtonpost.com

No Longer One of 'Jerry's Kids' - washingtonpost.com:

"Of course, MDA may respect the disabled more than its fund-raising tactics imply. If it wants to stand out as an advocate for disability rights, however, it should set a better example -- and demand that its corporate contributors do as well. When most people see those of us with severe, progressive neurological conditions, they want to help, and I am not ungrateful. The desire to cure is probably human nature. And MDA's main mission is to be a medical charity; it claims to spend 77 cents of every dollar it raises on services, an admirable percentage, and finances hundreds of clinics and medical researchers. Still, for the past 30 years, the message of the disability-rights movement has been as consistent as it is simple: We're fine as we are. We don't need fixing. We need access. We need respect. We need work. In other words, we need the same things everybody else does. So today, I won't be watching the telethon. My wife and I and our two kids have better things to do."

2007/09/28 Update: I knew some people as far back as 1980 that had similar feelings about the telethon and being described as "Jerry's Kids". One of them, now that I think about it, was the late Professor Irving Zola of Brandeis University. The general feeling was that much of it was patronizing and somewhat demeaning. There were similar complaints from kids who appeared on March Of Dimes and Easter Seals posters. There were comments that they had been used for, among other thing, their cuteness.

No comments: