Monday, March 31, 2014

3 Kinds Of Ableism

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This week I am going to do something different at Disability Thinking.

I have been thinking a lot about disability prejudice, also known as “ableism”. Mainly, I’ve been trying to think more precisely about it, partly because I feel like it is awfully easy to throw the term around, and use it to give a name to everything bad that happens to us when we have disabilities. I also think there is some confusion about the questions of motive or intention. Is ableism all about actions and behavior? Can a person be “ableist” in their character? Can institutions or even a whole society be “ableist?”

Well, yes, yes, and yes. The way I figure it, there are three kinds of ableism:

1. Well-Meaning Ableism

2. Institutional Ableism

3. Asshole Ableism

These aren't official terms, of course. The point is, ableism is a concept in flux, so I think my words are as good as any.

I will explain what I mean over the next three days, starting tomorrow, with the variety of ableism that a lot of people … including a lot of disabled people … think is the only kind of ableism that actually exists. They are wrong, but I can see why the think it, because Well-Meaning Ableism is as common as dirt. More on that tomorrow.

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