billBill is a professor of anthropology and currently teaches at the University of Syracuse. He shares his experiences as a paraplegic through a civil rights lens, and speaks bluntly about bias and discrimination in academia, professional life, healthcare and civil society. Visit Bill’s blog for further observations, commentary and dialogue.

Bill tells his story

00:00 describes his first symptoms
03:33 describes institutional care
04:14 talks about his experience of pain, as a child
05:42 describes coming to terms with paralysis
08:19 describes healthcare’s disappointing reaction to disability
10:14 recalls his parents’ ‘tough love’ response to his paralysis
12:13 discusses depression and mental recovery

Bill on Disability Culture, Identity and Pride

00:00 discusses the importance of people with newly acquired disabilities learning from others with disabilities (includes comments on the Tim Bowers case)
04:04 talks about maintaining a focus on abilities
05:24 discusses reinvention and identity
06:04 discusses ‘disability pride’ and challenging himself physically

Bill on Accessibility, Discrimination and Societal Attitudes

00:00 discusses accessibility being seen as an individual problem
04:14 tells a story about his encounter with former NYC Mayor Ed Koch
05:26 shares frustrations with lack of action and support in academia and professional arenas
09:19 describes an incident of an unnecessary and degrading offer of help

Bill on Disenfranchisement, Loneliness and Activism

00:00 explains how modern medicine has created a new class of disenfranchised people
02:29 describes how society has failed a generation of people and parents
04:54 recounts a story of an inaccessible school trip with his young son
06:53 discusses not feeling supported by the general public in terms of protecting or defending his rights
12:06 argues that people with disabilities need to be recognized as a minority group

1 Comment

  1. meriah
    February 21, 2014

    WOW!!! Jennifer, you have outdone even yourself (no easy feat).

    this is AMAZING.

    Did you get to visit the Bancroft Library in Berkeley by any chance, and their outstanding Oral History Project?


Leave a Reply