From Shit People Say to People with Disabilities
I’ve noticed that ableism tends to be one of the lesser discussed isms on Tumblr, particularly in regard to physical/visible disabilities. While we usually associate the isms with hate and discrimination, ableism can be much harder to pinpoint because a lot of it is seen as attempts to help or empathize with disabled people.
A few tips:
- Noticing that someone is disabled or thinking that they might have a disability is not an open invitation to interrogate them.
- Similarly, it’s not okay to allow your children to endlessly ask us questions. We are not a convenient way to “teach them diversity” on the fly. We are not obligated to educate anyone. I don’t care if you think it’s cute or precocious, it’s rude and very awkward.
- Please avoid making any connection between disability and religion. It’s almost always offensive, no matter what your faith. Telling me that I can be healed through prayer also automatically assumes that I want or need my life to be changed.
- Do not appropriate someone else’s experiences as a way of showing solidarity with their community. Being injured for a few weeks is not the same as being disabled. If you really wanted to be my ally, you wouldn’t need to find a way to shoehorn yourself into my perspective to get yourself to care.
- I don’t really want to be your inspiration if your definition of inspiration is “thanks for making me feel better about my life because I think your life looks incredibly shitty by comparison.”
- On that note, don’t make presumptions about our quality of life. When people say things like “I couldn’t live like that,” you’re basically implying that you would rather be dead than disabled. That doesn’t feel very good.
- Physical disability does not always indicate cognitive delays. Even if the individual in question does happen to have cognitive disabilities, what gives you the authority to determine how much they’re able to process and understand? Talk to a disabled person the same way you would talk to any other person.
- If you’re that fascinated with how and whether or not we can have sex, why don’t you find out for yourself? (With consent, of course) ;)
Added to this “You’re so brave! I couldn’t ever deal with that!” That fucks me off like nothing else.