Eliminate Disability?

Listen (28 min)

Is the eugenics movement returning to the U.S. under the guise of progress?

Dr. Rosemarie Garland-ThomsonOur guest is Dr. Rosemarie Garland-Thomson, a professor in Women’s, Gender and Sexuality Studies at Emory University who works in the field of Critical Disability Studies.

Let’s end war and, in the process, stop creating veterans with PTSD and brain injuries. Let’s clean up the environment and end the epidemic of chemical sensitivity.   Let’s cure cancer, heart disease, diabetes and other diseases so people will not suffer their pain and limitation.

But, wait,  disability scholars say that the unthinking adoption of these important goals can lead to neo-eugenic thinking.   Historically, people with disabilities have been horribly abused and murdered to meet a eugenics goal of eliminating disability.  When we assume prevention is positive, are we close to preaching a form of cultural genocide?  Will we eliminate the many future intellectual and cultural contributions by people with various disabilities if we eliminate their disability?   Do people with disabilities contribute something important, something that comes out of their experience of living with disabilities?

The Cripples by Pieter Bruegel the Elder.  1568

The Cripples by Pieter Bruegel the Elder. 1568


Dr. Garland-Thomson navigates the philosophical, cultural and social landscape as Eddie Ytuarte asks, “Isn’t preventing disabilities a good idea. . . sometimes?”

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