- Six MG/YA novels featuring disabled Black protagonists – It’s a short list, but I’m glad to see there’s at least a few books out there with disabled black kids in them. I haven’t found any in romance yet.
Unsurprisingly, we’re a fan of disabled representation—and it’s important to us that this representation is not limited to only straight and white characters. We’d like to highlight some books that break this mold. We have not yet reviewed any of these books at Disability in Kidlit—though we’d like to!—so we’d love to find out more about how well the characters are portrayed. Have you read any of these? What did you think? Share your thoughts!
- Love at any size – This post by a fat woman about dating is absolutely heartbreaking and infuriating. (Do NOT read the comments. Not even “just to see.” They are bad.)
I refuse to be caressed in the dark and denied in broad daylight. I am not a body rolled in flour. I refuse to starve or purge or take pills; I refuse to have my stomach carved away and pinched smaller for the sake of almighty aesthetics. Yes, there are websites and conventions in Vegas and online forums (oh my!) for aficionados of the Big Beautiful Woman (a term that drips with “you go girl!” condescension), places where heavy bellies and swaybacked backsides launch a thousand ships. As I’ve scrolled through these sites, I’ve felt vindicated at seeing women my size as luscious pinups. But, after a while, I feel reduced to something less than a person: just a gartered thigh and the breast-flesh offered up in a corset. I want to be lusted after. I want to be wanted. But, more than this, I want to love, and be loved. I want everything that love confers: being touched, being valued and being seen.
- Breaking Out The Broken English – Arthur Chu talks about accents and how they affect perceptions of identity.
And how terrifying it is to have that awesome feeling of privilege and safety in speaking the “right” language be attacked. When I was a contestant on Jeopardy! one of my quirks was that, having studied using books and flashcards, a lot of my pronunciations of words were unusual.
An enterprising YouTuber put together a supercut of all my pronunciation flubs — like saying “obstretrics” for “obstetrics” in the heat of the moment — and capped it with a clip from Pulp Fiction, Samuel L. Jackson screaming, “ENGLISH, MOTHER******! DO YOU SPEAK IT?!”
Of all the people making fun of me online for my weight, my appearance, my dour expression or my general unlikeability, the attacks on my ability to speak English cut deepest. More than all the other YouTube videos made of me, that one made me want to jump in the comments yelling, “Yeah, well, my wife until last year said ‘rheTORic’ instead of ‘RHEtoric,’ but you wouldn’t question her fluency in the English language over that because she’s white, and she was born here, and that’s racist!”
Luckily I restrained myself. But this weird fear of somehow losing my American-ness still haunts me.
- My Receipt Was Not Good Enough – Bad enough that writer Roxane Gay was racially profiled while shopping at Best Buy. The sheer nonsense in her Twitter mentions about “how do you know it was racism, hmm?” is just adding insult to injury.
Let me repeat: My receipt was not good enough. I have never heard of needing to have a salesperson verify a purchase when a receipt has been proffered but I shouldn’t be surprised. The rules are always different when shopping/driving/walking/existing while black. The experience was particularly galling because this happened over what was both a significant and an insignificant amount of money.
Finally, he removed the security case from the video game and handed me my receipt which I snatched out of his hand because I finally had enough. I said, “I just spent $700 dollars in this store. Are you serious?” And I walked out. He still had not acknowledged or spoken to me. It was humiliating to stand there, being treated like a common criminal, everyone staring like you’ve done something wrong. Racism was absolutely at work.
- Mother calls neglect report wrongful – Yet another black mother has been harassed by police for being neglectful (although not arrested this time, at least) for a harmless situation. A letter from a white mother who experienced a similar situation, but with much kinder treatment, really shows you the bias at work.
Boston health official has filed a complaint alleging that a Boston police sergeant wrongfully reported her for possible child neglect after she accidentally locked her 11-month-old son inside her air-conditioned car.
Nikysha Harding, 36, said she was picking up her son, Nicholas, from his Roxbury day-care provider on July 10, and used her automatic starter to switch on the car and cool it off for the boy.
The starter only works when the doors are locked, and Harding said that after she buckled her son into his car seat and shut the door, she realized she had left her keys in the car. Harding said she immediately called 911, and implored police and firefighters to free her son.
They got him out, but what followed is a dispute between a mother who believes police overstepped their bounds because she is black, and a department that says it must take seriously any hint of parental neglect.
- Criado-Perez Gets Cisgenderism Spectacularly Wrong – I think there’s a difference between being a feminist who doesn’t understand trans issues or holds transphobic views and being a TERF, just like there’s a difference between being a casual racist and being a neo-Nazi, but this was a good post on how rejecting “cis” is othering trans* people.
Criado-Perez has wavered on the brink of TERFism for a while now but today she has declared her allegiance to its tattered flag. Not content with defining feminist as inherently something trans* people cannot be part of (“non-binary versus feminism”) but she then goes on to declare that “cis” is something she, as “a woman” cannot be. This is a delusion of monumental proportions.
For those who are as yet unfamiliar with what cis, or cisgender, actually means, it is a very simple term. It means a person whose gender identity matches the sex they were assigned at birth. For example, if you were assigned female at birth and as you grow into you as you are now you have never felt a need to correct that assignment, you are cisgender.
- “How The NHL Can Do A Better Job Of Welcoming Women” – said the man. – This is a fabulous response to a male hockey writer’s Columbusing sports’ hostility towards female fans.
Here’s the thing, a lot of us have been voicing our opinion on how NOT JUST THE NHL but sports as a whole can make moves to make not only women, but fans who are not just white men feel welcome. Making us feel “welcome” is a disgustingly low standard honestly. I would prefer being acknowledged and accepted as an equal rather than begrudgingly tolerated. “Welcoming” is what you do at a get together where there is forced social interactions and instead of being nice and talking to everyone you’re really just glacial and backhanded and dick around on your phone the entire time and whine the wifi is password protected. Believe me, I would know. I recognize my own behaviors.
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An ice hockey fan from north of Boston and the genre's most beloved troll, Ridley enjoys reading contemporary and historical romance, as well as the odd erotica novel. As someone who uses a wheelchair, she takes a particular interest in disability themes.