Let’s Talk About Ableism and Intelligence – Part 3 – A Challenge

Content Note: This series discusses ableist slurs. Many of them will be used in full. You are also allowed to use them in the comments only if it’s for the purposes of illustration and discussion. That is, you may use the words to talk about them. You may not use them as slurs in the comments. This note will be repeated on every post in this series.

So I think I’ve done a pretty decent job of laying out my argument. I strongly believe that “stupid” and it’s associated terms, as well as “crazy”, “insane”, etc are quite ableist, and that we should consider dropping them from our vocabulary.

What I thought would be fun is to offer a challenge to all of you. It’s based off of Ania’s own challenge she proposed back on her blog in 2015…

I have a challenge for all of my blogger friends. I want you to try and go one month without using the list of words below. For one month, in your blog posts and public opinions, I want you to not use these words. I will explain why. I will give you a reason, and regardless of whether you agree with me or not, I want you to try. For me.

I want to bring that challenge forward again, and extend it to everyone reading this, as well. Read Ania’s post. Read my last two posts. And, at the very least, consider giving it a try. For one whole month, drop every ableist slur from your vocabulary. Find other ways to say what you mean without resorting to these easy, lazy slurs. Then get back to me.

Why does it matter?

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Let’s Talk About Ableism and Intelligence – Part 2

Content Note: This series discusses ableist slurs. Many of them will be used in full. You are also allowed to use them in the comments only if it’s for the purposes of illustration and discussion. That is, you may use the words to talk about them. You may not use them as slurs in the comments. This note will be repeated on every post in this series.

So, the last post in this series was basically about the history of intelligence and the IQ test, and began the argument for why “stupid” is, indeed, an ableist slur. I want to continue that argument here. There is a very strong (in my opinion, anyways) case to be made for dropping “stupid” entirely from our vocabularies.

But before I do that, I want to say this:

I cannot tell you what to do. I can’t police your language and I have no interest in doing so. I am simply putting forth an argument for why I have dropped words like “stupid”, “dumb”, “deaf”, “blind”, “crazy”, “idiot”, “moron”, etc from my vocabulary as slurs against people. I will even put forth an argument for why using “stupid” as a slur against actions or ideas is… well… iffy at best. It’s up to you to decide whether I’ve put forth a good argument, or at least my sources put forth good arguments.

What I’m not doing, here, is demanding changes to laws that would violate anyone’s free speech. I’m not saying that these words should be illegal. I’m asking that you really think about what I have to say. I do strongly believe that these words are ableist, and as such I strongly believe it’s a good idea to try not to use them. But I can only speak for myself.

And so…

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Let’s Talk About Ableism and Intelligence – Part 1

Content Note: This series discusses ableist slurs. Many of them will be used in full. You are also allowed to use them in the comments only if it’s for the purposes of illustration and discussion. That is, you may use the words to talk about them. You may not use them as slurs in the comments. This note will be repeated on every post in this series.

There’s a few slurs most people agree shouldn’t be said. For example… it’s largely agreed that white people don’t use the n-word, just as it’s largely agreed that straight people don’t use the f-word (not “fuck”). And the r-word is largely considered inappropriate for polite company as well, now, although its use is still ubiquitous in some places (like YouTube comments, for example). Some slurs are a bit more controversial, such as gendered slurs, although I’ve no doubt my readers will largely agree that female-gendered slurs are bad, at least when used by dudes. But there are certain slurs that are so ubiquitous, even the most social-justice-minded of us will defend their use, insisting that they aren’t slurs at all.

I was like this, as well, for the longest time. The slurs in question were slurs that I used all the time. It took me a long time to consider how the entire idea of intelligence, and associated slurs like “stupid”, “idiot”, “moron”, “dumb”, “dumbass”, etc were extremely ableist. In fact, when I first set up my blog at its old home, one of my statements was “I love making fun of stupid people”. This got a response in a comment on a post I put up called An Open Letter to the Secular Community and its “Leaders”

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The State of the Vaping Union

I don’t think I’ve mentioned much that I vape. I started vaping to give up cigarettes, and I’m extremely close to giving up nicotine entirely. I did do a post on my old blog a few years back talking about a study claiming to have found formaldehyde production in vapes, but I think that’s the last time I talked about it on either blog.

What I want to do in this post is give y’all a surface-level breakdown of the state of the vaping union as it is right now. I’m going to go over some of the science, a little bit of the misinformation, where the laws in the US stand, and also what’s going on with vaping communities (there will be discussion of things going on with Reddit right now).

The summary is that, for people who vape or are interested in vaping, the whole thing sits in a pretty hellish limbo right now. There is a lot of misinformation out there in large part because bad science is getting more publicity than good science, the tobacco industry is pushing regulations that could destroy the industry, and communities like Reddit, separate from regulations, are basically destroying vaping subreddits. This post may, in some instances, come across as rather libertarian and anti-FDA because I really hate the regulations currently in place. But if you know me, you know that I am very much a fan of regulation and I support the FDA usually. But the way this is all being handled is pretty horrible right now, so keep that context in mind.

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#WhoAgainstGuns – Doctor Who Fans Unite for Gun Control

I’m late to this. The deadline is March 12th.

I want to bring attention to this… it’s important.

We’ve all been moved by recent events. The survivors at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School are using their voices to speak for those who cannot, to say “never again,” and demand change.

We are asking the Doctor Who community to follow their example and to shine a light on this urgent issue.

This March, representatives of all your favourite Doctor Who podcasts and some special guests will be coming together to do a podcast commentary of the 1969 Patrick Troughton story The War Games.

But here’s the thing: we’re not putting out this podcast on any one show’s feed. We’re only releasing it to listeners who provide a donation to an organization committed to ending gun violence.

Click the link to find the organizations they want you to donate to, and follow the instructions to get the special commentary podcast from there.

Even if you aren’t necessarily a fan of Doctor Who, it’s important to fight for gun control. Really, we should have done this years ago. But better late than never, right?

It’s time. It’s time to regulate an industry that has blood on its hands. It’s time to reject the NRA. It’s time to regulate guns.

Join Doctor Who. Join the survivors of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.

Speak out FOR gun control.

ETA: Since they announced, they’ve raised well over $10000, so back on March 6th, they added raffle giveaway opportunities. So please… donate and send them your receipt. It really is worth it.

Breakdowns of Agent Orange’s Budget Proposals

Angry Peter Capaldi

Angry Peter Capaldi

I’m genuinely getting sick of talking about the Thin Skin in the White House. I had to take a break. But here I am, again, because details of his nasty budget are out, and it isn’t pretty. Dude wants to cut a whole lot of important stuff.

We’ve already seen a bit of this. The blueprint of this was released back in March. And it’s even worse than that…

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Agent Orange Launches a Voter Fraud Commission

From the Washington Post

President Trump signed an executive order Thursday that sets up a commission to review his controversial allegations of widespread voter fraud, along with reports of voter suppression.

The Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity will be led by Vice President Pence and Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach (R), who has aggressively pursued allegations of voter fraud in his state.

About a dozen other election officials representing both parties will fill out the commission, which will deliver a report to the president next year, White House deputy press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said Thursday.

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“True People Search”… a Free, Open Doxxing Tool

This is not okay. This is bad. This is downright evil.

The vast majority of people searches are largely behind paywalls. You don’t really get much identifying information without paying a fee. And that will turn off most bad actors.

But now, you can get everything you’ve ever wanted, including previous addresses, phone numbers, and even friends and family… all for free, at one site:

True People Search

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I. Hate. Republicans. With Every. Fiber. Of. My. Being. (Health Care)

(Content warning: rape, rape survivors… and also a lot of strong, angry, ranting language)

So the fucking Rethuglicans in the fucking House voted to replace sections of the ACA, including doing away with the stipulation that health insurance companies can’t deny coverage to people with pre-existing conditions… and one of those fucking conditions was fucking rape.

When House Republicans passed the American Health Care Act on Thursday, many Americans likely thought of their family and friends living with cancer, diabetes, or heart disease. These diseases are commonly referred to as “pre-existing conditions” – conditions which, under the Republican health care bill, could result in them being denied health insurance.

But another, less publicised group of people were also concerned by the bill’s passage: rape survivors.

Before Obamacare, some insurance companies considered rape and domestic abuse pre-existing conditions. One woman, Jody Neal-Post, says she was turned away after telling a potential insurance that she was a domestic violence victim – despite otherwise being perfectly healthy.

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White House Actively Looking to Restrict Press Freedom

From ABC News

White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus said the Trump administration has “looked at” changes to libel laws that would curtail press freedoms, but said “whether that goes anywhere is a different story.”

President Trump frequently slams the press for its coverage of him and in March suggested changing libel laws.

Libel is when defamatory statements about someone are published. But the American press enjoys some protection from lawsuits claiming libel because of the First Amendment’s guarantee of free speech rights.

At least, that’s how it should be…

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