Up Front by Emma Hart

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Up Front: Another Brick in the Wall

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  • BenWilson, in reply to Bart Janssen,

    You're like the ultimate lefty to vote directly against your interests, on behalf of a cause (children) that doesn't have a personal element. I don't actually think that kind of reasoning is "like most kiwis". Voting after one's back pocket is really common.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10657 posts Report Reply

  • Lilith __, in reply to BenWilson,

    You’re like the ultimate lefty to vote directly against your interests, on behalf of a cause (children) that doesn’t have a personal element.

    Why does this have to be an either/or thing? We can't care about our own interests AND looking after those with special needs?

    Dunedin • Since Jul 2010 • 3894 posts Report Reply

  • George Darroch,

    I'm happy to pay more tax. But only if it goes to Giovanni's children. And Emma's.

    I don’t actually think that kind of reasoning is “like most kiwis”. Voting after one’s back pocket is really common.

    I actually think they both happen at the same time. People have strong altruistic group-based motivations, and they have strong personal ('selfish') motivations, and they come into play in different contexts. In some people one is stronger than the other. Both can be primed. By turning these needs from an abstract idea into people with names, faces, and identifiable interests, you could successfully entrench the former, at least around this issue.

    WLG • Since Nov 2006 • 2264 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to giovanni tiso,

    What I would say we urgently need is for people in the profession - and not just disabled (or mentally ill) people and their families - to come on board. Advocacy has to include them

    Totally - which requires smarter thinking and collaborative action than has been common. Those with the greatest need are unlikely to be those with the greatest resources or power.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19745 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha,

    Despite several decades of ideologically-encouraged selfishness, I like how strangers still approach pregnant women in the street expressing an interest in the wellbeing of their future fellow citizen. That's human nature and a cause for hope.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19745 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson, in reply to Lilith __,

    Why does this have to be an either/or thing?

    It doesn't. I was making a comment about Bart, and somewhat flippantly. It's a digression so I don't really want to talk to any points raised against it.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10657 posts Report Reply

  • "chris", in reply to George Darroch,

    I’m happy to pay more tax. But only if it goes to Giovanni’s children. And Emma’s.

    That should be pretty easy to arrange.

    location, location, locat… • Since Dec 2010 • 250 posts Report Reply

  • Hilary Stace, in reply to Sacha,

    Sacha, I think this might be an overly rosey view. Certainly doesn't happen if you look like you might already have more than your quota, or could possibly be one of those dangerous single mothers.

    Wgtn • Since Jun 2008 • 3227 posts Report Reply

  • Hilary Stace, in reply to giovanni tiso,

    If we write on this board chances are we’re the lucky ones.

    My research conclusions that love and luck are the intangibles that make a positive difference in outcomes for autistic or other disabled children has been reinforced for me over many years. I now believe there is also a significant ‘mother’ factor. This was illustrated so well by this week’s story of the mother of the autistic adult men in Christchurch who were temporarily homeless. The news provided a hint of the importance of the the lifelong mothering/advocacy/strategist/planning role required for access to some of the basic rights to health, education, housing etc. I often come across young disabled people without mothers and they are not doing nearly as well (eg housing, education, employment, benefit support) as those with them.

    Sometimes you can substitute ‘father’ for ‘mother’, but that role is much less likely to exist for disabled young people, and in my totally unscientific analysis, not as reliable an indicator for good outcomes.

    Wgtn • Since Jun 2008 • 3227 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to Hilary Stace,

    Sometimes you can substitute ‘father’ for ‘mother’, but that role is much less likely to exist for disabled young people, and in my totally unscientific analysis, not as reliable an indicator for good outcomes.

    Can you outline what you are distinguishing as 'fathering'?

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19745 posts Report Reply

  • Hilary Stace, in reply to Sacha,

    I'm not talking about fathering. I'm just saying that in my experience those disabled children who have an activist 'mother' tend to do better throughout life. In reality it is usually the biological mother. But that one person could also be a father, grandparent or some other person who is prepared to fight on the front line for that person's rights for as long as it takes, which could be a life time. That mother of the two autistic men in Christchurch is a very good illustration of this theory.

    Wgtn • Since Jun 2008 • 3227 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to Hilary Stace,

    so by mother you mean committed parent.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19745 posts Report Reply

  • Hilary Stace, in reply to Sacha,

    Yes but in my experience that person is most likely to be the mother - hence I call it the mother factor. Some lucky children have two activist parents and they share the advocacy, but I would say that most disabled children, for a variety of reasons, only have one - their mother. This might offend those activist fathers and friends on this thread and those who I know personally, but I fear they are not representative.

    Wgtn • Since Jun 2008 • 3227 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to Hilary Stace,

    I simply don't see the point in labelling a desirable attribute in the name of only one gender as you've done. If it is committed parenting that makes a difference, why not call it that? If it is forceful advocacy, likewise.

    By all means recognise the load currently falls way too much on women's shoulders, but that seems less likely to change if you remove the responsiblity from fathers altogether in the way it's described. Or for our gendered roles to evolve in useful directions. Essentialism was not that helpful in the 70s and I really thought it had been replaced by smarter approaches.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19745 posts Report Reply

  • Hilary Stace,

    I'm sorry,Sacha, but disability care and blame (eg anything by Michael Laws) is very gendered.

    I would love for it not to be. But until we have gender equality in the care industry, in disability education (eg teacher aides) and throughout the disability support sector, in single parenting of disabled children, and when disability parents' meetings and conferences have better gender representation than 90:10 women/men, then I might reconsider.

    How do you suggest we move it in a more useful direction?

    Wgtn • Since Jun 2008 • 3227 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to Hilary Stace,

    Let's focus on the nature of those advocacy roles, and how we can strengthen them and their place in the system in the interests of disabled children and families.

    Equity is not equality, so I doubt we will see similar numbers of men and women performing all roles any time soon. Both genders bring strengths to the table, especially when it comes to speaking up for disadvantaged people and working to fix broken systems.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19745 posts Report Reply

  • Hilary Stace,

    I agree. But this is not about essentialism (ie women are naturally better at caring), but about gender politics, which is why I keep framing it as such.

    To change it also requires an increase of status of 'disability' itself. At the moment when you look at the hierarchy of status and expertise around disability, those who spend most time in caring roles are likely to be women, unpaid or poorly paid. Whereas the more 'expert' the person is (eg a clinical specialist) the less time they will spend with the child but the more they are paid, the more likely they are to be male, and the greater status in society they have.

    I also have fears about the new disability services mantra of increasing 'natural ' ie free supports. That also means more unpaid work for women.

    Wgtn • Since Jun 2008 • 3227 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha,

    To fix these long-standing problems, we must involve allies and persuade decision-makers (many of whom may be male). I suggest gendered labelling of desired characteristics will not help with that. Anyone who doesn't know better may assume the solution is more mothers, rather than better-supported parents and champions.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19745 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to Hilary Stace,

    I also have fears about the new disability services mantra of increasing 'natural ' ie free supports. That also means more unpaid work for women.

    Totally with you on that.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19745 posts Report Reply

  • Hilary Stace, in reply to Sacha,

    I suggest gendered labelling of desired characteristics will not help with that.

    I am not suggesting that 'desired' characteristics are gender labelled. Just that there are gender labels and roles now. These should be challenged in all sorts of ways. But that is not to deny the current situation.

    Wgtn • Since Jun 2008 • 3227 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to Hilary Stace,

    I am not suggesting that 'desired' characteristics are gender labelled

    Um, you described parental advocacy as mothering. Or I wouldn't have noticed and spent so much time discussing it.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19745 posts Report Reply

  • Hilary Stace, in reply to Sacha,

    No, I observe that most of the people who do lifelong advocacy on behalf of their disabled children, young people and adults, are mothers. I'm not talking about desired characteristics or essentialism or saying this is how it should be. Just stating my observation of 2013 NZ (mainly informed by my experience in the autism and ID sectors and to a lesser extent impairment generally).

    And that it is an issue of gender politics. Because if, as the social model and the NZ Disability Strategy have it, people have impairments but society disables, by extension that means society also risks disabling those who are the front line carers and advocates. And they are predominantly the mothers.

    Wgtn • Since Jun 2008 • 3227 posts Report Reply

  • giovanni tiso, in reply to Hilary Stace,

    This might offend those activist fathers and friends on this thread and those who I know personally

    None taken whatsoever. I'm with you on this one, advocacy in my (limited) experience is still expected more of mothers than of fathers, and has more power (for instance in the media) because it is supposed to be coming from the quasi-mystical place of motherly love, which still has a firm grip on the collective imaginary.

    Wellington • Since Jun 2007 • 7473 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha,

    Just so long as no one accuses a certain caucus of lacking balls, or anything really important like that. :)

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19745 posts Report Reply

  • Jodi W, in reply to Hilary Stace,

    I am terrified of what battles I will face in a few years when my daughter starts school. I knew it was going to be hard when I first went to WINZ to apply for the CDA for her. I was told WINZ would have to get their medical advisors to assess whether it would automatically rollover each year or if it would need reassessing. My daughter has down syndrome. It not like she will grow out of the extra chromosome. That was a pretty traumatic conversation to have to have with some moron about my 3 month old. I am sure I will have some gems to come

    Since Apr 2013 • 2 posts Report Reply

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