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The Disabled Colonies

cool44man's picture

The poem that we read by Molly McCully Brown was very moving. The poem subtly highlights the terrible conditions that people who lived in the colony had to endure. If the outside had the bare minimum of decoration and upkeep, there is no question that nobody should have lived inside that establishment. This poem serves a noble cause: even if the buildings are gone, due to digital archiving, this poem will preserve a piece of history so that we hopefully learn to never treat people different from you as castaways. I also hope that there are other antidotes surrounding these types of institution are preserved. As I foreshadowed, the perspective of the poem hides a truth about today. The author of the poem was born in a time where she couldn’t be sent to the colony. However, if she was born in a different location, she could have been sent to another institution for being different. Even today, several types of institutions exist to keep “different” people out of society such as nursing homes, mental hospitals and institutions for people with disabilities. It seems that reports of neglect, abuse, or terrible conditions in a facility make the news every week. Due to capitalism, there is an active incentive to provide people with the bare minimum standard of care. This mindset permotes brutal ableism, as disciplining someone for poor conduct requires paperwork and risks exposing the institution's cheap ways. Even in the disability rights movement, so much effort is focused on interdependencies and making society accessible, it feels that those locked away are hung out to dry. If we aren’t reading more McBryde-Johnson this semester, I recommend you check out “Disability Gulag” for more information on these dehumanizing places. I hope these institutions get outlawed so people no longer profit off ableism.