The casual ableism of futurism

    This article by Janet Gunter discusses the endemic ableism she’s discovered due to her new and invisible disability (Long Covid). As a technologist and anthropologist, she notes that even progressive futurist notions such as solarpunk are problematic for people like her who rely on complex supply chains.

    We need to do better to understand that a future that doesn’t work for us all is, as Janet points out, exclusionary and essentially a form of fascism.

    <img class=“alignnone size-full wp-image-8827” src=“https://thoughtshrapnel.com/wp-content/uploads/2023/10/DALL·E-2023-10-24-20.15.19-Photo-of-a-circular-wooden-cabin-in-a-serene-forest-setting.-Inside-a-person-who-appears-tired-and-fatigued-is-resting-on-a-tatami-mat-taking-a-mome-1.png” alt=“DALL-E: Photo of a circular wooden cabin in a serene forest setting. Inside, a person who appears tired and fatigued is resting on a tatami mat, taking a moment to rejuvenate. The cabin’s large round windows offer panoramic views of the dense trees and distant mountains, while the interior showcases Japanese minimalism with sliding paper doors and a central meditation space.

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    Scanning back to scifi of my childhood, the only disabled character in Starwars was Darth Vader. And Vader is a perfect posterboy for the usual scifi treatment of disability – a canvas for creepy transhumanist visions of “fixing” the disabled and the hiding of disability. (It turns out, now, there are rare good depictions of the disabled in scifi, but you have to know where to look!)

    Others have observed that ignoring or devaluing the concerns of the most vulnerable — or suggesting that they get fixed or deleted from a future green society — is tantamount to ecofascism.

    […]

    What the ableist world needs now is acceptance of cataclysmic change and all of the grief that comes with that. Acceptance that our Cartesian minds will destroy us, that we need to learn to listen to our bodies and to the biosphere. Acceptance that the pace of our lives must change.

    Personally, I desperately need visions of the future where I can be an active, valued participant, no matter my physical or cognitive state. I need everybody involved in envisioning and testing new ways of living within our planetary boundaries to consider and include people like me at the outset, not as an after-thought.

    Source: Crip futurism | Janet Gunter

    Image: generated with DALL-E 3