Ableism: Not What You Think It Means
Micaela just pointed out to me that a LOT of people on Tumblr don’t actually know what ableism really is. They sometimes use it as a synonym for racial stereotyping, sexism, or ageism.
Ableism is discrimination based on preconceived notions of someones abilities relating to their mental or physical state of being.
People seem to think it means something different.
Ableism is most often associated with discrimination against people with developmental disorders like autism and Down’s Syndrome, mental health disorders like OCD, BPD, and schizophrenia, and physically disabled persons who are blind, amputees, or have a degenerative disease like MS.
Some examples of ableism a student might face:
- “You can’t go on the field trip to the amusement park because you’re in a wheelchair”
- “You shouldn’t bother applying to college because your Asperger’s means you won’t be able to cope with the workload anyway.”
- “You go to a therapeutic school? So you’re retarded?”
- “You’re blind, so you can’t go on the scavenger hunt with us.”
Some examples in society:
- Education: Children with learning disabilities are segregated from “normal” students because they “slow down” the class. Proper learning assistance tools and technology are not provided to the student. Schools do not provide teaching aides for students
- Health Care: Funding for Medicare patients with disabilities is cut. A medicalized view of people with disabilities invalidates their ability to control their lives. Opposition to universal health care puts disabled people at risk of losing necessary benefits.
- Government: Funds are cut for programs that benefit the disabled. Independent living programs are not supported by government. Local government is often inaccessible to disabled persons.
- Sports: Assumption that it is “unfair” for a disabled person to have to compete with able-bodied athletes. Sports drug rules rule out people on medications. Assumption that able-bodied athletes are superior to disabled athletes, ex.) The Olympics and Paralympics.
- Media: Lack of braille books, and books on tape, in libraries and schools. Use of “normal” and “beautiful” people in advertising. The focus on disability as a “tragedy” to be overcome. Absence of disabled characters in TV, movies, etc. FOCUS ON PEOPLE WITH PSYCHIATRIC DISABILITIES AS SERIAL KILLERS, MURDERERS, OR CRIMINALS
Just thought people should know this.
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