karl h schwerin (schwerin@UNM.EDU)
Wed, 4 Oct 1995 16:43:27 -0600

On Sun, 1 Oct 1995, Mary Irving wrote:

> Subject: "Not Differently Abled" please
> Tibor Benk used that silly, condescending euphemism --differently
> abled-- that always makes my skin crawl and my hair stand on end.
> I am blind and I use the word blind and it's a perfectly good word.
> Just as deaf is also a good word. Remember the student strike at
> Gallaudet University in 1989 I think it was. The students called
> for a "deaf president" not a physically challenged president, or a
> differently abled president, but for a deaf president. The word is
> not such a bad word either. The Americans With Disabilities Act
> (ADA) is called just that, not the Differently Abled Americans Act
> (DAAA) or the Physically Challenged Americans Act (PCAA). See the
> problem is not in the name but in the attitude toward people who
> happen to be blind or deaf or disabled in some other way. How many
> colleges and universities have a blind faculty member? How many
> anthropology departments have ever helped a blind student get an
> internship? I am not singling out Tibor Benk; It just happened
> that his post caught my attention. Mary

The University of New Mexico has a deaf faculty member in Linguistics and
a quadraplegic in Sociology (the accident happened just after he was
hired). There is also a paraplegic who is Director of Equal Opportunity
Programs. We currently have a blind graduate student working on her
Ph.D. in biological anthropology (her blindness actually gives her
certain advantages in assessing and measuring bones). We also had a
paraplegic graduate student in ethnology who was quite active in
pursuing the rights of the disabled on campus until his unfortunate demise
last year.

Karl Schwerin SnailMail: Dept. of Anthropology
Univ. of New Mexico Albuquerque, NM 87131

Much charitable endeavor is motivated by an unconscious
desire to peer into lives that one is glad to be unable
to share. . . . . Edward Sapir