Ableism is absolutely unacceptable, but seems absolutely rampant throughout society and it must come to an end. Has society not evolved past the point where we feel the urge to put people down based on their ability?
The biggest scourge of harassment against the disabled has gone to a level that truly makes us at APR truly heartbroken.
The issue is that talking about ableism itself is a very ableist thing to do. When you talk so inconsiderately about ableism and try to “be an ally,” all you do is further lord your privilege over those who can’t express their opinion. You’re taking away the agency of some disabled people by speaking for them.
For example, mute people who have no way of communicating their thoughts and feelings to the world have to sit back and listen to someone indirectly talk down to them whenever they see discussion about their disability. Or to give another realistic example: someone who has no hands surfing the internet has to sit back while they look at conversation about them. When you assert your anti-ableism stance, you are denying a disabled person’s right to be pro-ableism.
For transparency sake, we’d like to say that this topic came up at an all-hands meeting. Maria Taylor, our Chief Disability Correspondent, said this morning that she as a disabled person has felt discouraged as of late because of the conversation around disability in our country. She doesn’t like that her disability, having no head, is a point of conversation all the time; Especially when the conversation is “so toxic,” she told us all this morning. She hates having to listen to people around her jump to the defense of disabled people in her company, because she herself is very pro-ableism.
Maria says that she frequently discriminates against disabled people who have applied to jobs for her. “I want to have the right, like everyone else, to discriminate against disabled people without everyone around me always just assuming how I feel on the issue. Why are we living in a world where I’m being judged based on my disability, and not the content of my character as Martin Luther King Jr. said? This is honestly beyond unfair and I can’t stand it. It has to stop, guys.”
Very true. It’s disgusting to come to her defense in public or online to defend a position you hold and that you, presumptuously, believe she cares anything about. She, like the rest of us, hates the disabled and should have the right to not go through life constantly explaining herself. She’s disabled, sure. But that doesn’t mean she fits into society’s mold. You are an ableist if you jump to the conclusion that she fits the description of what you think a disabled person should be.
Maria and all other disabled people in the country should be given their agency back. Stop the ableism.