Alan R. Cohen
Writing 102: Representation and Disability
A Critical Response to Disability and Representation
According to Garland, representation refers to how members of the society understand and conceptualize the issue of disability. In America, citizens have changed their views on disability due to the civil rights legislation such as the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 that was produced by the disability rights movement. This act prohibits discrimination of the disabled and mandates full integration to them. The society should accept and accommodate disability rather than seek to overcome it through medical intervention, as this will contribute to social justice for all people. Garland moves on to show that disabled people can achieve success. She talks about Casey Martin who accessed golf tournaments with a cart, Gallaudet University students who demanded a Deaf president, a Deaf Miss America, and Heather Mills, a disability activist who married the Beatle Paul Mc-Cartney (Garland-Thomson, 522). Disability is a regular part of human life.
Garland brings out the positive trends that have led to achievement of success of the disabled. Example, through the humanities scholarship, the disabled people have withdrawn the imaginations of the western literature and put up their own. This is clearly illustrated where Oedipus, who was a hero in the West literature, begins a tradition of garnering literary meaning of disability. Garland brings the discussion on disability and representation to the fore in a way that does not attack either persons with a disability or persons who have previously held contrary views to those advanced in the article (Garland-Thomson, 523). She mentions the results of enacting legislation such as the Americans with Disability Act.
The society members should view disability at a different perspective. Disability should not be regarded on the capacities and limitations of our bodies, but what we expect from a body at a particular moment and place. Disability is part of human life, and society members should treat it positively to enhance equity and positive developments to the society. Achieving equality of people with disabilities depends on social, economic, and legislative changes in the society. The society should recognize and validate human variation.
Garland-Thomson, R. (2004). Disability and Representation. Conference on Disability Studies and the University (pp. 522-527). Atlanta: Emory University.