Jeremy Einbinder on Ableism and Inspiration Porn

Jeremy Einbinder on Ableism and Inspiration Porn

 
 
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In this episode of Wine, Women, and Revolution, Heather is joined by Jeremy Einbinder to talk about the ableism inherent in capitalism.  Jeremy is one of the people that Heather thinks of as having the best political stances in this great nation of New Jersey. Jeremy has a Facebook and YouTube channel called “Democratize The Media” and also is a blogger and writer for the New Jersey Council on Developmental Disabilities where he writes on issues of ableism.

Democratize The Media

This project started out of Jeremy watching the media coverage of Bernie Sanders, and seeing CNN edit Bernie’s criticisms out of the broadcast. He was already commenting about it on social media and decided to use that platform as part of a class he was taking. It grew from there and now Jeremy has a following on both platforms where he talks about class, capitalism, ableism, and how it all mixes together.

Disability and Class Consciousness

Mr. Einbinder is physically disabled, and he thinks that played a big part in developing his politics. While many people’s barriers are hidden, his are openly visible. He is directly impacted by the property rights of business owners taking precedence of his rights of accessing those properties.  A business can avoid hiring him if he discloses his disability because they don’t want to take the steps to accommodate him. He sees how under capitalism your value is based on how easily you can produce marketable labor. If you don’t fit into a narrow box, then you are less valuable under capitalism. It doesn’t matter how skilled you might be, if those skills aren’t easily sold then they don’t matter.

Wage Labor Kills Passion

You are forced to spend your energy on survival, if your passion lies outside the marketable realm. You never get a chance to develop those passions to their full potential. Are we losing out on the next DaVinci or Mozart because they are forced to work at Wawa to survive? We applaud the property owners as “job creators” when really all they do is own things. The real job creators are the workers.

The Economy Doesn’t Have a Soul

The economy is just a mechanism. It is not built on doing what is right. This particular mechanism is built on the backs of slaves and stolen land. It is built on the backs of 3rd world peasants. It is built on the backs of those in this country who are forced to sell their labor to exist. One manifestation of this is us having more peopleless homes than homeless people. Keeping people homeless is a choice we make.

The Inertia Of Capitalism

Poverty and Wealth are generational under capitalism. Money makes money. Poverty begets poverty. People struggle to assimilate into this paradigm but most ultimately fail. Or more aptly, the system fails them. Not everyone can” win”.  Jeremy questions what “winning” even means. If you have more money than you need and do nothing to benefit society, why is that winning? If you pass wealth down family lines and never give back, you win at capitalism but fail at humanity.

The Suburbs And Isolation

Streets in suburbs are designed for driving not walking. This provides a major barrier to those who for whatever reason can not drive. Individual home ownership forces us to rely on mortgages. Those mortgages can be exploited to segregate and redline certain buyers. Racism and segregation are built the suburbs. Lack of communal space can be very isolating for those who can’t walk or drive long distances. Jeremy uses himself and his wheelchair as an example. It could take him 15 minutes to get to a train station to get public transportation which isn’t always designed with him in mind anyway.

Ableism Is Built In To Capitalism

To make the world equally accessible to all takes labor and money. It costs a lot to make larger bathrooms and safe curbs. In a society where profit and money are major decision maker, we leave those who are not identically abled behind. Society chooses dollars over people. A tiny percentage of curb cuts meet ADA regulations. City planning doesn’t account for total accessibility. Heather then speaks about how she always viewed communal urban planning through an ecology lens before meeting Jeremy. Under a socialist society we have the power to design cities to be more ecologically friendly, but this also opens us up to design accessible cities as well.

NJCDD

Jeremy writes for the New Jersey Council on Developmental Disabilities and his articles range from living with disabilities, to media bias against the disabled, to the disadvantages that accompany being disabled. The disabled rarely get to share their own stories in the media. It is usually told from a second of thirdhand perspective. The news may showcase a parent of a child with a disability but rarely the disabled person themselves. Jeremy is fighting to return to voice to the disabled. So many of us have heard of Autism Speaks, but in truth they never allow the autistic to speak for themselves.

Inspiration Porn

When the media does focus on a disabled person, it is often in a situation Jeremy refers to as “Inspiration Porn”. The stories are less about giving a focus to the people, but instead serves to make the abled feel good. The media loves to showcase the child born without hands who is on the basketball team.  These stories can be harmful because it celebrates a disabled person for being “normal” but does not respect that not everyone needs to be the same. A disabled person may do things different and that is ok. They don’t have to assimilate to succeed, and someone living their lives and being good at something doesn’t have to be a news story. The story is not for the disabled person, but for the abled. It allows the general population to get away with not confronting their prejudices as long as they are reminded occasionally that disabled people exist. This casual ableism can be damaging to the actual community.

Politics

Heather and Jeremy close out an already full show by touching on political commentary. During elections, both the red and blue accuse the other side of “doing capitalism wrong”. They claim they will do it right, but there is no right. It doesn’t work. Its wont work if you paint it red or blue. No matter who is in charge, Jeremy says its “Rent of Be Rented”.  It makes no sense to vote for someone you disagree with just because the other option is worse. This system if a flaw of representative democracy. The representatives are so removed from the lives of those they represent, that people can’t be engaged. They don’t get to make decisions about their material conditions. Under a more direct democracy things could be different. There are ways we can do better as a society. We just have to open up to different ideas.

To hear more from Jeremy you can visit Democratize The Media

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