rev·o·lu·tion noun \re-və-lü-shən\
a : a sudden, radical, or complete change
b : a fundamental change in political organization; especially : the overthrow or renunciation of one government or ruler and the substitution of another by the governed
c : activity or movement designed to effect fundamental changes in the socioeconomic situation d : a fundamental change in the way of thinking about or visualizing something : a change of paradigm <the Copernican revolution>
e : a changeover in use or preference especially in technology <the computer revolution> <the foreign car revolution>
The definition of revolution from good ol’ Merriam-Webster dictionary touches only the tip of the iceberg of political activity. I’m not just talking about the recent occupation of Wall Street, or the death of Steve Jobs. I’m talking about all of us out there living with family members with disabilities who are trying to think about and visualize a world that includes them in profound ways. I recently read a great academic article by renowned anthropologists, Rayna Rapp and Faye Ginsburg; their recent studies focus on families with non-normative children and how these families refashion their expectations and daily lives. In Rapp and Ginsburg’s essay, they mention the 2010 Shut Up About Your Perfect Kid by Gina (Terrasi) Gallagher and Patricia (Terrasi) Konjoian. I’m sorry if all of you have already read this book, but I just discovered it. So far, I’ve just made it to the authors’ website to check out the irreverent revolution these two sisters are part of around disability rights.
If you have read the book, I’m curious what you thought. And I’m curious if you too feel part of a quiet (or not) revolution that reverberates not only through your private family life, but also with your friends, school, church, larger community? While I'm not sure I would call my daughter "imperfect"--I do appreciate the slap in your face humor that Gallagher and Konjoian are trying to use to get us to rethink what is “normal” when it comes to our children. I don’t want perfection, but I do want a revolution. As Rapp and Ginsburg argue: “If social mores once dictated that family members with disabilities be hidden from view and stories about them silenced, our research strongly suggests that this cultural script is being revised on a daily basis, creating a seismic sea change felt across multiple locations.” Let’s keep rewriting the script!
Kirsten works as a professor of Communication Studies at the State University of New York and is the mother of 5 ½ -year old twin girls. She believes her work as a teacher and parent are vitally important to fostering active and engaged citizens of the world.