How do the blind experience race?

In this piece on NPR’s Code Switch, Kat Chow discusses the forthcoming book by Hastings College of Law professor Osagie Obasogie, Blinded by Sight: Seeing Race in the Eyes of the Blind.  Inspired by Ray Charles’s experience of race, as depicted in the biopic Ray, Professor Obasogiebegan interviewing blray charles-fotoind people to get a clearer understanding of how the blind experience race.

The results, I think, are not terribly surprising.  Professor Obasogie notes that since the blind are socialized into the same racially structured social milieu that the sighted are, they internalize race in much the same way.  Only, for the blind, this means drawing on proxies for skin color and needing to make inferences about race from other clues.  (Which the sighted also must do in situations where skin color is ambiguous.)

Nonetheless, this looks like a fascinating study and one that will add a new dimension to the discourse on race and the operations of racial oppression.

 

 

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Call for Submissions: Forum on Disability Studies Discourse

This forum on disability discourse over at The Feminist Wire should generate some necessary engagement with how power circulates in disability discourse these days.

Disability seems to be trending in academia these days. For example, a recent conference on “Cripistemologies” brought together disability studies scholars with folks who study gender and sexuality, focusing particularly on animals, chronic pain/injury, and trans* embodiment. And scholars who work in several other areas (e.g., transnational feminisms, globalization studies) have recently turned their critical attention to disability.

We are avid supporters and practitioners of interdisciplinarity and celebrate theory driven by (in)justice, but at the same time, we find ourselves curious about this “turn” to disability studies–a field that has been making significant contributions for quite some time now. What, we ask, is at stake for disabled people when “disability” is used as a heuristic for making sense of human-animal relations, for example? The appropriation of disability, disabled lives, and non-normative bodies for projects unrelated to disability justice demands a critical lens.

We thus conceived of this forum as a space for wrestling with the issues raised by academia’s rediscovery of disability and its (mis)appropriation by/for various intellectual projects. We ask: Why disability, and why now? What are the stakes, and for whom, in melding disability with various studies of “the other”? Is there something about disability that should make it “exempt” from use as a metaphor? And what of the established field of disability studies? How do new explorations of disability expand upon or constrain the praxis-centered disability studies project?

In the service of challenging the more insidious effects of the “rediscovery” of disability, we also conceived of this forum as a “safe(r) space” for explorations of “disability” writ large. So this forum, we hope, will address a series of questions or provocations:

  • What does it mean to live as “disabled” in the 21st century? And how is this living complicated by geography, access to technology, class status, race, etc.?

  • Disability as it relates to other lived identities–including race, gender, sexuality, age, geography, citizenship status, income/class status, and other embodied markers–is too often overlooked in conversations about intersectionality. Where are these absences especially conspicuous, at what cost, and for whom?

  • How can we talk about the triumvirate of race, class, and gender while attending to the ways these are embodied both “normatively” and “non-normatively?”

  • What does a feminist disability politic look like? What does it feel like to inhabit a space of “feminist disability”?

  • How does “disability” function as a monolithic category that obscures material realities of diverse embodiments?

  • What are the promises and the limits of crip feminism?

We invite academics, writers, and activists to weigh in on any or all of these complicated issues. We welcome critical essays, creative nonfiction, interviews, reviews, op-eds, fiction, poetry, and visual art. Essays, reviews, and creative nonfiction should be no longer than 2,000 words and not already submitted elsewhere. Please email us at feministwire@gmail.com if you have questions about the length and/or format of creative works.

Submissions will be due by October 10, 2013. All work should be submitted to us through our online system, Submittable, accessed here. Please review our general submission guidelines before sending us your work. Also, please title the work(s) and label the submission “Disability Forum.” Include a bio and headshot or other photo. The forum will run from late October through early November.

Original post can be found here.