TIME Magazine published a feature about disabilities, taking aim at one of the most famous disabled people in history: Helen Keller. While they have shouted for years about “lifting one another up” and “going high” the author had the audacity to call Keller “just another, despite disabilities, privileged white person.”
Keller, who became deaf and blind before the age of two, learned to read and speak, thanks in no small part to her teacher Anne Sulivan.
The disability activist who wrote the piece, Olivia Waxman said in the piece that, “[T]o some Black disability rights activists, like Anita Cameron, Helen Keller is not radical at all, ‘just another, despite disabilities, privileged white person,’ and yet another example of history telling the story of privileged white Americans,” TIME reported Tuesday.
“Critics of Helen Keller cite her writings that reflected the popularity of now-dated eugenics theories and her friendship with one of the movement’s supporters Alexander Graham Bell,” TIME added. “The American Foundation for the Blind archivist Helen Selsdon says Keller ‘moved away from that position.’”
While Americans struggle with how to accommodate the potential for the disproportionate opportunity offered to people of color, those self-same people, and their advocates, appear to be attacking their fellow Americans because of the color of their skin.
The article did, however, give props to Keller for her socialist and radical left-wing leanings that she was vocal about as an adult. Even that, however, couldn’t redeem her for the one cardinal sin that any person can make (even retroactively) and that’s being born white.
Waxman advocated for less time to be spent on the disability advancement pioneer in schools because “they don’t learn that she co-founded the American Civil Liberties Union in 1920; that she was an early supporter of the NAACP, and an opponent of lynchings; that she was an early proponent of birth control.”
According to Waxman, “Some of the reason schools don’t teach much about Keller’s adult life is because she was involved in groups that have been perceived as too radical throughout American history. She was a member of the Socialist Party, and corresponded with Eugene Debs, the party’s most prominent member and a five-time presidential candidate,” the magazine gushed. “She also read Marx, and her associations with all of these far-left groups landed her on the radar of the FBI, which monitored her for ties to the Communist Party.”
While Keller and her aggressively progressive politics would probably have been a supporter of “the squad,” she is still largely remembered for her work in helping others with disabilities be able to communicate with and navigate the world around her. It appears that just the fact that she did so without being born with the proper skin color, is just too much for some on the left.
Even Politico’s Mary Vought took exception with TIME’s hatchet job on Keller:
“You’ve got to be kidding me,” Vought wrote. “The woke mob is now going after Helen Keller for being white. Never mind the advancements she worked to achieve for those with disabilities.”
You’ve got to be kidding me. The woke mob is now going after Helen Keller for being white. 🙄
Nevermind the advancements she worked to achieve for those with disabilities.
— Mary Vought (@MaryVought) December 17, 2020
Republicans were particularly incensed at the idea that someone as instrumental in helping others as Keller would not be safe from the “woke” axe.
“This is INSANE,” wrote Texas Republican Sen. Ted Cruz. “Woke Lefties are now attacking Helen Keller?? As ‘just another, despite disabilities, privileged white person’??”
“There are many adjectives one can use to describe the extraordinary Helen Keller,” he added. “‘Privileged’ is not one of them.”
This is INSANE.
Woke Lefties are now attacking Helen Keller??
As “just another, despite disabilities, privileged white person”??
There are many adjectives one can use to describe the extraordinary Helen Keller.
“Privileged” is not one of them. https://t.co/VxTMJfRRjx
— Ted Cruz (@tedcruz) December 18, 2020
“Holy s***… they’re now canceling Helen Keller for being white,” President Donald Trump’s eldest son, Don Jr. reacted. “You can’t make this crap up anymore. You can never be woke enough.”
Holy shit… they’re now canceling Helen Keller for being white.
You can’t make this crap up anymore. You can never be woke enough https://t.co/ev6DDOEgyX
— Donald Trump Jr. (@DonaldJTrumpJr) December 18, 2020