Tuesday, May 1, 2007

Disablism Happens

[This is my post for Blogging Against Disablism Day 2007]

Disablism happens. And it hurts.

It keeps people from getting housing or the job they want or the services they need when a society practices it.

It insults people, hurts their feelings, belittles and humiliates them when individuals and social groups practice it.

It can steal away peoples' quality of life, their hopes, their dreams and their dignity.

And what does the face of disablism look like? You see that’s the hard part.

It doesn’t have one face or one look to it. You can’t pick it out from a crowd . It’s not limited to the rich or poor, male or female, Asian, African American, or white, my country or your country.

There’s no predicting when disablism will happen. It can happen anywhere and anytime. You can be having a really cool day and it can happen. You can be at work, on vacation or in your own home.

And you know what? It can even happen when you’re alone , when you’ve internalized the oppression as a person with a disability. When that happens, it's important to remember that many of these problems are not of your making but are the result of a society that often refuses to name disablism. And disablism can happen when you're alone as an able bodied person when you practice ableism or disablism through your words, actions or thoughts. Reflecting on the sources of societal influences can help break through this.

Why would any of us ever act that way?

Because disablism is all around. It’s in the language we use, the laws we follow, the moral codes we’ve been taught, the books we read, the movies we see, the TV shows we watch, the history we study and the society we live in. It's in our institutions. That makes it tricky to name, much less eradicate.

We’ve got to name it. We’ve got to do it not only for ourselves but especially for the kids.

Disablism happens. But it doesn’t have to.

Imagine how things could be without disablism. Even with less disablism. Even with just a little less disablism….

{Click above to go see many other posts at Diary of a Goldfish for Blogging Against Disablism Day}


David said...

Ruth, Wonderful post. Very powerful.

Puglet said...

what's so amazing is we are all so impacted, so differently, with so many voices, and so many different disabilities. And there's always still that one universal truth.

The Goldfish said...

This was great, Ruth, thank you. :-)

Never That Easy said...

What a great summary of all the issues that we face - and that everybody's talking about today.

Dave Hingsburger said...

Another great BADD post. I'm devoting part of my day to just travelling the web and reading as many as I can. This was a great start! Thanks, Dave Hingsburger

seahorse said...

Indeed a universal truth. Wise and inspiring. Thank you Ruth.

Anonymous said...

Enjoyed this post. Definitely encourage people to go read other posts from BADD.

Anonymous said...

Disablism, ableism - whatever word we use is all about the same thing - a lack of respect for the fact that human beings are all equal.

Wheelchair Dancer said...

Right on, Ruth!


Kay Olson said...

As Sara said also at Moving Right Along today, disablism can pop up just when you're least expecting it and nusy living your life.

Great post.

Elizabeth McClung said...

good post, too real - though I have often found the grill of an oncoming car to be an urgent sign of disabilism.

Anonymous said...

Very good post - disablism is as slippery as an eel to address.

The Able-Bodied Student said...


"Disablism can happen when you're alone."

Thanks for the important reminder!