Monday, June 11, 2018

Going Forward: My book.

Last week, as many of you know, a group of extraordinary people in the disability community wrote an extensive critique of a 2016 media study that I co-wrote, making it clear that they were calling me out not only for the failings of the study itself, but also my conduct since then.

Here's the critique. You can read the media study here. You can read my thoughts detailing how I've tried to do better since then here. Clearly those efforts were insufficient and I am very sorry.

My experience in these situations of call-out and response is that long statements from people in my position become defensive, so I am going to be brief. I would welcome dialogue and conversation with anyone who can spare the energy to do so, but do not expect additional labor from people who have already given too much.

Going forward, here are a few additional steps:

1. I am cancelling my book. I will not finish this book on state violence and disability. I do not believe there is an ethical way for me to produce a book that will be useful in the fight against that violence. Like the media study, any longform work on this topic must be inclusive in authorship and led by people from within the most vulnerable communities. I should have known that from the beginning.

2. As a journalist, I will continue making referrals, offering mentorship, passing along contacts to editors, only participating in fully inclusive events, compensating people from marginalized communities whose expertise I tap, donating fees, and other related practices. Movement journalism is a fraught practice and I do not expect to be exempt from criticism for my work going forward. I will always listen to that criticism and do my best to incorporate better practices into my work.

Again, I am very sorry that I let the community down.