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Midterm: Addiction as Disability

Madeline Svengsouk's picture

Here's my midterm! Unfortunately Bryn Mawr doesn't provide access to the most current DSM, so I had to use the one from the 90s :(

Also a disclaimer: I wrote this essay with the understanding that using drugs while pregnant is always inadvisable. That being said, the cases in which it occurs become incredibly racialized and moralized, and that is what I'm writing about. 

Please let me know your thoughts/ what might be cool to explore further in my final project! 

File Addiction:Disability.docx386.52 KB


ekoren's picture

You took on a huge topic, and I think you were largely successful! I found your paper informative and moving; some of the quotes and pictures you pulled out were truly disturbing, and I think you did a great job putting those materials in context and bringing a modern disability studies perspective to them. I particularly enjoyed how you chunked your information, making it easily digestible. However, I do wonder if your concluding thoughts could have brought more of your various threads together. While I appreciated the breadth of information you provided, and I think your whole paper successfully implies how all your sections synchronously contribute to the importance of rethinking how substance abuse fits into our understanding of disability, it could have been helpful to be more explicit about this in your conclusion.

Overall, this was an excellent project. I really appreciate your bringing to light a disconcertingly recent example of what happens when racism, sexism, and ableism are allowed to prosper. Thank you for your work!

ekoren's picture

Also, just to respond to what might be cool to explore, I personally find the modern eugenics question incredibly interesting and would love to hear more about that!

acwest's picture

While I shouldn't be shocked given the plethora of readings we have done, I couldn't help but be stunned and disturbed by the language used in the newspaper articles. In particular, The NYT wrote, "limitations of public schools dealing with this population of poor and minority children," in 1990. They are acting as if success and personhood can only be attained by nondisabled, middle-upper class, white people, and using wording such as “what can you expect” implies that people who achieve success outside of the privileged, white people are tokens for their community. Furthermore, The Washington Post wrote, "The inner-city crack epidemic is now giving birth to the newest horror: a bio-underclass, a generation of physically damaged cocaine babies whose biological inferiority is stamped at birth…," which immediately "others" any person with a disability. It not only supports stereotypes but it also takes away a child’s personhood and uses a Singer-like theory that the dead babies are the lucky ones because a person with a disability automatically has a lower standard of life. I am ashamed that this was ever written and I'm particularly hurt by the fact that this writing was published only 9 years before our births. It's also awful that the legacy of crack-babies is still one of eugenics.