Friday, September 6, 2013

Flavors Of Ableism

The "enemy" of people with disabilities isn't hostility so much as disbelief. People don't believe we have disabilities, don't believe we have the disabilities we say we have, don't believe we know what kind of job we should go for, or don't believe we properly understand our own disabilities. There's this sense that, underneath what we say and present on the surface about ourselves, sits a snake's nest of unspoken "truths" that we are deliberately hiding or have hidden from ourselves. Apparently, we float through life, (or crash recklessly through life), in a bubble of unreality that non-disabled people are obligated to pop for our own good.

Another big enemy is complacency. Non-disabled people don't think of themselves as anti-disabled. On the contrary, they tend to think that they have nothing but good will for people with disabilities. When they feel hostile to an individual with a disability, they deal with the contradiction by deciding that in some way that person isn't "really" disabled.