Singer’s opinions dehumanize and disgust

Euthanizing children up to three months after birth is something to be condemned.

As a certificate student at the University’s School of Public Health, a registered nurse and the mother of a child with disabilities, I am disappointed and disgusted that the University would tolerate hate speech and discrimination against the population of people with disabilities. People with disabilities already are a group that is marginalized by society.

Peter Singer’s paid invitation by the University to speak on our mostly taxpayer-funded campus legitimizes and gives credence to his views. Singer’s views need to be framed within the context of a person that in his words is “brain-damaged” or has a “major intellectual disability.”

As you contemplate Singer’s allegedly valid opinions, please reference the picture of my son, Kylen J. Ware. He is an 11-year-old boy who has all of Singer’s characteristics for his dehumanization purposes. Kylen has profound mental retardation. He has cerebral palsy. He has had these disabilities since he was born.

Singer promotes a genocide against the lives and entire culture of people with disabilities. He believes my son would be better off dead. He believes Kylen, rather than a chimpanzee or a dog, should be used for scientific experimentation. Singer believes Kylen’s grandmother, Kylen’s little brother, Kylen’s aunts, uncles, cousins, Kylen’s classmates and Kylen’s friends all would be better off had Kylen been euthanized (aka killed) after he was born. Imagine, if you will, my son Kylen and his dog Penny falling into a lake. Singer most likely would jump in the lake to save Penny while he allowed my son to sink to the bottom strapped into his wheelchair. Look up Singer on the Internet, research his writings in scholarly journals if you believe this to be an exaggeration.

I would challenge you all to replace Singer’s quotes with a different group of people. Would you all be so quick to contemplate Singer rather than condemn him, if he were saying that a specific race should be used for scientific experimentation rather than a mouse? If Singer were saying that parents should be able to euthanize their infants up to three months after they are born, if their genetic testing indicated that the child would be a homosexual, would that turn your admiration into contempt for his views?

Would there be, in some cases, restrictions to the lending of the University as a public forum? Under what circumstance would an academic, or an issue be prohibited from, or excluded from public debate on our campus? I believe that if Singer were referencing African Americans or GLBT community members that this would not be considered a moral dilemma. Singer’s challenges would then not be considered a positive challenge to entrenched ethical precepts; it would be considered a challenge to civil rights and human rights.

Singer’s beliefs and views are a threat to the human rights of my son, Kylen. Animal rights do not have to be substantiated on the backs of people with disabilities. Do animal rights have no merit except in comparison to children and adults with disabilities? Singer seems so intellectually stifled that the only way he can increase respect and dignity to animals is to crush and dehumanize people living with significant disabilities. If Singer needs to use words and concepts that are shocking to illuminate animal rights, then it is easy to reduce the highly respected Singer to nothing more than an academic Jerry Springer.

Fight for your animal rights. Leave my son out of it. I thank you. Kylen thanks you. And Penny the soft-coated wheaten terrier thanks you.

Katheryn J. Ware is a University student. Please send comments to [email protected]