23 June, 2011

Fallacy Week: Undisabling Fallacies

Hi guys it's FALLACY WEEK! Every day you get some fallacy action from a post I made a super long time ago at LOVE-NOS.

Undisabling Fallacies

Undisabling is when someone is speaking as a person with a disability, and you convince them that they don’t have a right to do that. I’m not going to go over these fallacies with a fine-toothed comb because a)there are tons of them, and b)they often contain elements of the Harder Fallacy, the Shocking Behavior Fallacy, and the Suddenly Specific Definition Fallacy–so they should be pretty easy to figure out.
I should probably mention that a lot of the other fallacies are pretty innocent and are often used by people who don’t have these conversations very much and aren’t really thinking about what they’re saying. Undisabling fallacies tend to be used by people who are very very involved in these issues, and are really vicious.

1. Mary tries to convince John that his disability either isn’t real, or isn’t severe enough for him to have an opinion. She does this by trying to make him feel guilty by telling him something bad that happened to someone else with the same disability. For example, if John has muscular dystrophy, Mary could tell him about someone she knew with muscular dystrophy who died when they were very young. John is set up as seeming to claim a bad experience that he didn’t have. He feels bad. This is the Suddenly Specific Definition Fallacy, and is closely related to the Shocking Behavior Fallacy, although it’s not an exact application.
2. John says something that goes against disability being the Super Sad Worst Thing–probably it was about Thomas the Tank Engine, knowing him. Mary takes this to mean that John is happy and doesn’t see his disability as a problem at all; therefore, she says, his disability must not be very severe; therefore he doesn’t understand. This is both the Harder Fallacy and the Suddenly Specific Definition Fallacy.
3. A really souped-up version of #1 where Mary tries to pick a behavior that she thinks will really gross John out, to the point that he’ll get super confused and never say anything about disability ever. I’ve seen some people in the Autistic community use the phrase “You don’t smear feces!” as an inside joke because it is so consistently used in this type of fallacy.
4. John is being insensitive to Mary’s very negative feelings about disability by stating his own feelings and opinions, which of course she takes as being very positive because they are not like hers. Kind of Harder Fallacy-ish. Also kind of ties into what I’m about to describe. Since I am posting this in pieces, you'll have to wait till tomorrow if you're reading this on ISE!

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