I had a bumper sticker that read, “If you’re not angry, you’re not paying attention.”
In light of the controversy over an ableist post on Stratejoy, I figured I would provide some resources in addition to my commentary Molly published on the post itself.
Wikipedia’s definition of ableism is: Ableism is a form of discrimination or social prejudice against people with disabilities. It is known by many names, including disability discrimination, physicalism, handicapism, and disability oppression
One reason it is important to recognize ableism is because it perpetuates systems of oppression. This means that when we are blind to discrimination of others’ difference, we enable a culture that discriminates against those people. When we don’t speak out against discrimination, we implicitly suggest that those people aren’t important to us.
This was my point in writing my email to Stratejoy. The blogger in question refuses to recognize that her prejudice further enables discrimination of people with disabilities. (I might add, Molly fully acknowledges the severity of this post. I know she’s rethinking her choice to publish the post. I disagree with its publishing but I don’t think it should be taken down at this point. This discussion needs to be had and Stratejoy has become that forum. So, thank you, Molly, for allowing this discussion to take place on your blog.)
The blogger’s reasoning to give a child with disabilities up for adoption relies on stereotypes of people with disabilities: that they can’t contribute to society, can’t be independent, and can’t “live well.” This confession was made without any sense of compassion, self-reflection, warmth, or humility. Her response to me was simply trivializing, essentially attempting to render my point insignificant.
People with disabilities are not insignificant.
So, to make this a productive discussion (and because I simply can’t let prejudice have the last word), I have provided some resources for those of you unfamiliar with the term “ableism” and how you can empower those who do “live well” but live differently. My list is in no way complete or exhaustive, so please share any resources you have in the links as well.
This is a beautiful story from my hometown about the first job of Emily, an effervescent young woman with a disability. Be sure to watch the video.
Brush up on the Americans with Disabilities Act.
If you’re in the Chicago region, attend a free training workshop sponsored by the Family Resource Center on Disabilities.
StopAbleism.org – Thank you, Canadians.
Bitch Magazine asks: “What is Ableist Language and Why Should You Care?”
#4 here is perfect: Ableism can be accidental. This doesn’t make it okay.
Feministe sums up the argument beautifully: If those of us who purport to believe in social justice don’t act as though language, cultural narratives, and casual prejudice matter, how can we expect to convince anyone else that they do?