Throw Away the Master’s Tools: Liberating Ourselves from the Pathology Paradigm

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Question Description

Assignment 1: I need a summary from this reading material. The summary should be less than 300 words.

Assignment 2: I need a discussion and 3 response for 3 classmates.

All material will be posted.

Slides will help you to do assignment 1 and 2, it has some good example. So I think you can read it first then finish all those assignment.

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Reading vs. critical reading • We read every day. We read cereal boxes, posters, tweets. But there is a difference between reading and critical reading. When we read critically, we question what we read. What is the author saying here? Is this statistic correct? Why is the author using this specific word/phrase? Why is the author writing this essay? • Critical reading is only an extended and focused version of the kind of thinking we all do every day when we set out to solve problems: we gather evidence, we examine options, we look at advantages and disadvantages, and we weigh others’ opinions for possible bias. • What are some ways to read more critically? • One way to read critically is to ask questions. Reading as Inquiry – questions to ask • Explore and Explain • What is this text saying? • What does this information mean? • Who is this article intended for? (audience) • Why is the author writing? (purpose) • What are some of the words/phrases that I need to look up? (context) • Evaluate and Reflect • What do I think about what the author is saying? • What value is this reading challenging? • Does this author have any assumptions? Week 2 Reading Assignment • Please read Nick Walker’s “Throw Away the Master’s Tools: Liberating Ourselves from the Pathology Paradigm.” The PDF file is uploaded on D2L – Contents – Readings. Engage with the text critically – I would encourage everyone to take notes. • The following slides are designed to get you started thinking about reading critically. Analyze closely and ask questions. Negative connotation Positive connotation Depends on Spread it, make it known Change in the system of beliefs, not just one aspect A positive and desired outcome Mental condition: Autistics sometimes have difficulty socializing with others in traditional ways Author works in academia His audience Discussion, conversation, how people communicate Design choice: the author used subheadings. Why? Maybe to be extra clear? Again, the author is someone in the academia Why did he choose this word? Content choice: a joke from Princess Bride. How is this setting the tone? definition A metaphor: why did the author use a metaphor after the definition? Design choice: provides a famous example Design choice: contrast between then and now The importance of questions also change with the paradigm What does the word “true” mean here? So on and so forth. Please finish the rest of the reading to prepare for the homework assignment this week – which is to summarize what you’ve read. How to summarize a source • A summary captures the gist of a source or some portion of it, boiling it down to a few words or sentences. Summaries tend to be short. They extract only what is immediately relevant from an article, book chapter, or other source. When summarizing a source, first identify its key facts or ideas, think about their relationships, and then assemble these ideas into a concise, coherent statement about the whole piece. Be sure that what you’ve written is detailed enough to stand on its own and will make sense several weeks after you examined the material. Of course, any summary should be entirely in your own words. • How can something as simple as a summary go wrong? There are several ways. You might, for example, make the summary too short and simple and leave out the crucial details. Such a summary scribbled on a note card might be useless when, days later, you try to make sense of it. • On the other hand, your summary might fail because it misses the central point of a piece by focusing on details not relevant to the argument. Useful in a different context, these facts are misleading if they don’t capture the essence of what the author wrote. • Yet another danger lies in using the actual words of the original author in your summary. If these unacknowledged borrowings make their way into your project itself without both quotation marks and documentation, you are guilty of plagiarism. Bad summary example 1 • In “Throw Away the Master’s Tools: Liberating Ourselves from the Pathology Paradigm,” Nick Walker talks about using a different language. Pathology Paradigm is problematic and needs to change. • This summary is over-simplified. What is the different language? Why is Pathology Paradigm problematic? What change is the author talking about? Bad summary example 2 • Nick Walker argues in “Throw Away the Master’s Tools: Liberating Ourselves from the Pathology Paradigm” that there is no such thing as a “master race” anymore. He says changing the language will empower the Autistics because we don’t say “you suffer from being a race” anymore. Race is who they are, and so is Autism. Using different tools will help get out of the Pathology Paradigm and not build the master’s house. • This summary is not accurate in that it focuses only on “race” among many other metaphorical tools that the author uses to emphasize his main argument on language and Autistics. This summary makes the article sound like it is all about race. Bad summary example 3 • Nick Walker argues in “Throw Away the Master’s Tools: Liberating Ourselves from the Pathology Paradigm” that people with Autism needs to change their perspectives. By throwing away the tools, they can throw away language that disempowers them. That way, things can change. • If you read this summary a couple weeks after having read Nick Walker, this summary will probably not make any sense. What tools? Why language disempowers them and how? What change are we talking about? Furthermore, the phrase “people with Autism” is an inaccurate use of language as Nick Walker will use the phrase “Autistics.” The phrase “people with Autism” is exactly the language that disempowers Autistics and treats Autism as a disease, according to Walker. So then.. What is a good example? • In “Throw Away the Master’s Tools: Liberating Ourselves from the Pathology Paradigm,” Nick Walker proposes a paradigm shift from Pathology to Neurodiversity. Addressing both Autistics and neurotypicals, Walker argues that the shit would not categorize Autistics to be “abnormal,” but simply “different.” Walker claims that the method of shifting derives from a change in language because a paradigm affects all part of how we operate, including language. By changing the words people use to address Autistics from “normal” or “something wrong with you” to “neurominority” or “diverse,” people can stop addressing Autism as a disease. Walker uses examples such as racial or gender minorities to emphasize his point that Autism is not a disease but an identity. • Here is an example of a good summary on Nick Walker. The main argument is clearly stated. Details on language (paradigm shift and vocabulary) are listed. Examples of race/gender are listed to support the main argument that Autism is an identity marker. There are no opinions or bias – it is stating only what is in the actual article. Week 2 Homework to Upload • For discussions board this week, write a couple sentences on “What makes a good summary?” What needs to be in a good summary? What needs to be left out in a good summary? What makes a good summary good? (And what makes a bad summary bad?) Respond to each other’s posts. • On D2L Dropbox, upload your Nick Walker summaries on Word documents. The summary should be less than 300 words. Throw Awaythe Master's Tools: Liberating Ourselves from the Pathology Paradigm by Nick Walker I believe that the widespread and lasting empowerment of Autistic people hinges upon our ability to make an internal paradigm shift, and to propagate that shift as widely as possible. Such a paradigm shift is already happening in some parts of the Autistic community, but for the most part it's not yet recognized that it is a paradigm shift, or exactly what that means. My academic career involves the study of paradigm shifts, so I figured I'd share a few of my thoughts on the matter, in the hope that they might be of some use to other members of the Autistic community in the ongoing work of shifting the public discourse around Autism, or in the more personal ongoing work of selfempowerment and self-liberation. I promise to do my best not to bore you with a whole lot of academic jargon. . First Things First: What's a Paradigm? Even if you haven't encountered it in an academic context, you've probably heard the term paradigm before, because it's annoyingly over used by corporate marketers these days to describe any new development they're trying to get people excited about: A new paradigm in wireless technology! A new paradigm in sales hyperbole! As a great Spanish diplomat once put it, I do not think it means what they think it means. A paradigm is not just an idea or a method. A paradigm is a set offundamental assumptions or principles, a mindset or frame of reference that shapes how one thinks about and talks about a given subject. A paradigm shapes the ways in which one interprets information, and determines what sort of questions one asks and how one asks them. A paradigm is a lens through which one views reality. Perhaps the most simple and well-known example of a paradigm shift comes from the history of astronomy: the shift from the geocentric paradigm (which assumes that the Sun and planets revolve around Earth) to the heliocentric paradigm (Earth and several other planets revolve around the Sun). At the time this shift began, many generations of astronomers had already recorded extensive observations of the movements of planets. But now all their measurements meant something different. All the information had to be reinterpreted from an entirely new perspective. It wasn't just that questions had new answers - the questions themselves were different. Questions like "What is the path of Mercury's orbit around Earth?" went from seeming important to being outright nonsense, while other questions, ones that had never been asked because they would have seemed like nonsense under the old paradigm, suddenly became meaningful. That's a true paradigm shift: a shift in our fundamental assumptions; a radical shift in perspective that requires us to redefine our terms, recalibrate our language, rephrase our questions, reinterpret our data, and rethink our concepts and methods. The Pathology Paradigm In regard to Autism (and human neurological variation in general), the dominant paradigm in the world today is what I refer to as the pathology paradigm. The new, emergent paradigm - the paradigm to which we need to shift, if we want to bring about widespread and lasting empowerment of Autistics - I refer to as the neurodiversity paradigm. A paradigm can often be boiled down to a few basic principles, although those principles tend to be far-reaching in their implications and consequences. The principles ofa widely dominant sociocultural paradigm like the pathology paradigm usually take the form of assumptions -that is, they're so widely taken-for-granted that most people never consciously reflect upon them or articulate them (and sometimes it can be a disturbing revelation to hear them plainly articulated). The pathology paradigm ultimately boils down to just two fundamental assumptions: 1. There is one "right," "normal," or "healthy'' way for human brains and human minds to be configured and to function (or one relatively narrow "normal" range into which the configuration and functioning of human brains and minds ought to fall). 2. If your neurological configuration and functioning (and, as a result, your ways of thinking and behaving) diverge substantially from the dominant standard of "normal," then there is "Something Wrong With You." It is these two assumptions that define the pathology paradigm. Different groups and individuals build upon these assumptions in very different ways, with varying degrees of rationality, lunacy, fearfulness, or compassion - but as long as they share those two basic assumptions, they're still operating within the pathology paradigm (just as ancient Mayan astronomers and 13th Century Islamic astronomers had vastly different conceptions of the cosmos, yet both operated within the geocentric paradigm). The psychiatric establishment that classifies Autism as a "disorder"; the "Autism charity" that calls Autism a "global health crisis"; Autism researchers who keep coming up with new theories of "causation"; wing nuts who believe that Autism is some form of "poisoning"; anyone who speaks of Autism using medicalized language like "symptom," "treatment," or "epidemic"; the mother who thinks that the best way to help her Autistic child is to subject him to Behaviorist "interventions" intended to train him to act like a "normal" child; the "inspiring" Autistic celebrity who advises other Autistics that the secret to success is to try harder to conform to the social demands of non-Autistics ... all of these groups and individuals are operating within the pathology paradigm, regardless of their intentions, or how nice they are, or how much they might disagree with one another on various points. The Neurodiversity Paradigm Here's how I'd articulate the fundamental principles of the neurodiversity paradigm: 1. Neurodiversity - the diversity of brains and minds - is a natural, healthy, and valuable form of human diversity. There is no "normal" style of human brain or human mind, any more than there is one "normal" race, ethnicity, gender, or culture. 2. All of the diversity dynamics (e.g., dynamics of power, privilege, and marginalization) that manifest in society in relation to other forms of human diversity (e.g., racial, cultural, sexual orientation, and gender diversity) also manifest in relation to neurodiversity. The Master's Tools Will Never Dismantle the Master's House At an international feminist conference in 1979, the poet Audre Larde delivered a speech entitled "The Master's Tools Will Never Dismantle the Master's House." In that speech, Larde, a Black lesbian from a working-class immigrant family, castigated her almost entirely white and affluent audience for remaining rooted in, and continuing to propagate, the fundamental dynamics of the patriarchy: hierarchy, exclusion, racism, classism, homophobia, obliviousness to privilege, failure to embrace. diversity. Lorde recognized sexism as being part ofa broader, deeply-rooted ·paradigm that dealt with all forms of difference by establishing hierarchies of dominance, and she saw that genuine, widespread liberation was impossible as long as feminists continued to operate within this paradigm. "What does it mean," Lorde said, "when the tools of a racist patriarchy are used to examine the fruits of that same patriarchy? It means that only the most narrow perimeters of change are possible and allowable.[ ...] For the master's tools will never dismantle the master's house. They may allow us temporarily to beat him at his own game, but they will never enable us to bring about genuine change." The master's tools will never dismantle the master's house. To work within a system, to play by its rules, inevitably reinforces that system, whether or not that's what you intend. Not only do the master's tools never serve to dismantle 'the master's house, but any time you tryto use the master's tools for anything, you somehow end up building another extension of that darned house. Lorde's warning applies equally well, today, to the Autistic community and our struggles for empowerment The assumption that there is Something Wrong With Us is inherently disempowering, and that assumption is absolutely intrinsic to the pathology paradigm. So the "tools" of the pathology paradigm (by which I mean all strategies, goals, or ways of speaking or thinking that explicitly or implicitly buy into the pathology paradigm's assumptions) will never empower us in the long run. Genuine, lasting, widespread empowerment for Autistics can only be attained through making and propagating the shift from the pathology paradigm to the neurodiversity paradigm. We must throw away the master's tools. The Language of Pathology vs. the Language of Diversity Because the pathology paradigm has been dominant for some time, many people, even many who claim to advocate for the empowerment of Autistic people, still habitually use language that's based in the assumptions of that paradigm. The shift from the pathology paradigm to the neurodiversity paradigm calls for a radical shift in language, because the appropriate language for discussing medical problems is quite different from the appropriate language for discussing diversity. The issue of "person-first language" is a good basic example to start with (others more eloquent than myself, like Jim Sinclair and Lydia Brown, have already written extensively on this particular topic, and their writings are readily available on the Internet, so I'll keep this brief). If a person has a medical condition, we might say that "she has cancer," or she's "a person with allergies," or "she suffers from ulcers." But when a person is a member of a minority group, we don't talk about their minority status as though it were a disease. We say "she's Black," or "she's a lesbian." We recognize that it would be outrageously inappropriate - and likely to mark us as ignorant or bigoted - if we were to refer to a Black person as "having negroism" or being a "person with negroism," or if we were to say that someone "suffers from homosexuality." So if we use phrases like "person with Autism," or "she has . Autism," or "families affected by Autism," we're using the language of the pathology paradigm - language that implicitly accepts and reinforces the assumption that Autism is a problem, a SomethingWrong-With-You. In the language of the neurodiversityparadigm, on the other hand, we speak ofneurodiversity in the same way we would speak of ethnic or sexual diversity, and we speak of Autistics in the same way we would speak of any social minority group: I am Autistic. I am an Autistic. I am an Autistic person. There are Autistic people in my family. These linguistic distinctions might seem trivial, but our language plays a key role in shaping our thoughts, our perceptions, our cultures, and our realities. In the long run, the sort of language that's used to talk about Autistics has enormous influence on how society treats us, and on the messages we internalize about ourselves. To describe ourselves in language that reinforces the pathology paradigm is to use the master's tools, in Audre Lorde's metaphor, and thus to imprison ourselves more deeply in the master's house. I Don't Believe in Normal People The concept of a "normal brain" or a "normal person" has no more objective scientiflc validity- and serves no better purpose - than the concept of a "master race." Of all the master's tools (i.e., the dynamics, language, and conceptual frameworks that create and maintain social inequities), the most powerful and insidious is the concept of"normal people." In the context of human diversity (ethnic, cultural, sexual, neurological, or any other sort), to treat one particular group as the "normal" or default group inevitably serves to privilege that group and to marginalize those who don't belong to that group. The dubious assumption that there's such a thing as a "normal person" lies at the core of the pathology paradigm. The neurodiversity paradigm, on the other hand, does not recognize "normal" as a valid concept when it comes to human· diversity. Most reasonably well-educated people these days already recognize that the concept of "normal" is absurd and meaningless in the context of racial, ethnic, or cultural diversity. The Han Chinese constitute the single largest ethnic group in the world, but it would be ridiculous to claim that this makes Han Chinese the "natural" or "def ...
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Kishnewt2017
School: Purdue University

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1. Summary
2. Part Two


Running head: ASSIGNMENT

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ASSIGNMENT

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Summary

In this article, Walker (2013) alludes to the fact that there is a need to move from the
pathology paradigm to one that is guided by Neurodiversity in regards to the manner that autistic
persons are viewed. So, in doing that, it will ensure that the autistic persons are not considered as
being abnormal but they are simply different. In that way, it means there will be a shift in the
manner that autistic persons are treated. As well, it is evident that framing autism and other
forms of mental illness in the lens of the pathology paradigm means that medicine will begin to
lose it objectivity and create different avenues in w...

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