Disabled Ancestry Should Be Embraced With Pride

Opinion|We Should Claim Our Disabled Ancestors With Pride

https://www.nytimes.com/2022/02/27/opinion/disabled-ancestry-family-pride.html

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Guest Essay

We Should Claim Our Disabled Ancestors With Pride
Feb. 27, 2022

Credit…Illustration by The New York Times; Photography by eyenigelen, magda_istock, Olympia Valla, Lady-Photo, and Sara Lynn Paige via Getty Images

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By Jennifer Natalya Fink

I’m searching the basement of my grandparents’ cavernous Long Island house, looking for my lost cousin in the boxes of old photo albums stored there. I am 7 years old. “Cousin,” I call, wishing I knew his name. “Cousin?” The details are vague. I know he’s a boy, that he has an extra chromosome, something called Down syndrome, and was separated from our family at birth. I’m a geneticist’s daughter. I know that chromosomes, especially that extra one, are important. I want to know where he is, who he is, but he is never more than a whisper, a ghost in the family fiction of happiness and health. Nameless except for the name I give him — Cousin [...]

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