What Ableism Means to Me

What Ableism Means to Me

Hi everyone, it’s Isabella! I was reading a blog about ableism the other day and it really bothered me with something that was said in it. I began reading some other blogs on ableism. Every person is entitled to their opinion and that is fine. I guess now I will give you mine on the subject. You probably will not like it, but hey it is only my opinion. My opinion is that this has been blown entirely out of proportion and it is totally crazy.

My boyfriend and I were discussing what ableism is as he is from Greece and had never heard the term. I said in theory it is how people without a disability oppress or demean a person with a disability intentionally or not. I say in theory because this article contains quotes from various blogs on what people with disabilities regard as ableism and why the world is confused.

One thing that stood out to me was “Do not do things for a person with a disability until we ask for help because this is very offensive.” This is a pretty broad statement. Shouldn’t it say “Do not assume we need your help until we ask for it”? I have never seen anyone get angry for someone holding a door open for them. In another article I read that holding a door open for a person with a disability is not inclusion, it is just the right thing to do. This is confusing because these two statements contradict each other. Is it or is it not the right thing to do for someone who did not ask for help? Am I mocking the “ableist conversation”? No, I am being serious because people have become so SENSITIVE, yeah I said it, that every word now has an -ist attached to it. It is not demeaning to offer help to someone who appears to be struggling without being asked. It’s the polite thing to do for people, disability or not!

These are the questions that people without a disabilities are asking themselves so that they don’t get labelled the ableist who is demeaning everyone with a disability. To be honest this whole ableism conversation makes me angry. “Do not ask me about my injury because it is personal.” I completely get that, because it’s rude and an invasion of a one’s personal life. I can say the same thing about my hair to you and you will look at me like I’ve grown two heads. Why? You were only curious as to what made me color or cut it this way? I don’t have to answer that and that’s ok! You’re inquiring about my creative streak from my autism! Everyone gets to be offended about everything in society today! A disability does not give anyone the right to determine what is offensive to the general public. The moral here is never ask questions that could be deemed personal in any way at all. It’s probably best if we never speak again!

Ableism is using your able bodied privilege and getting on an elevator! Ableism is denying invisible disabilities! Why is everybody judging people on an elevator when they don’t know if they have an invisible disability? 1 in 5 people have a disability. Don’t forget the elderly people either! I don’t expect them to take the stairs when it causes them pain. Parents with strollers should use the elevators too, because who wants a hurt baby or flying stroller. That is a lot of people with legitimate reasons for using elevators. No wonder they are crowded.

Don’t use ableist words like I did here. “Crazy” is offensive to the mentally ill. You do know crazy has other definitions don’t you? They are as follows: over the top, extremely enthusiastic, and does not make sense. “Retarded” is offensive to all people. That is true if you are calling them retarded or a retard. Retarded also has a medical definition as in I suffered from retarded social development due to my autism. That’s not offensive, it’s fact. My doctor was not degrading me. “Disability” is another no-no word. It’s highly offensive. In fact it is as degrading as calling any person of African descent the “n” word! True story! We are differently abled. I don’t know about the rest of you, but I am not differently abled. I am autistic and I have an intellectual disability, but I am still normal! Seriously why are we still talking? Even your thoughts are offending me!

This was the line that really got me on what defines ableism: “It’s forgetting when a venue or restaurant has stairs.” The venue not being accessible would be considered ableism. Expecting friends as a grown adult to call and make sure that a place is accessible to you is not ableism. It is entitlement. You know where you are going. You know what your needs are specifically. Call and ask. Instead of assuming that it is automatically ableism why wasn’t your first thought my friends see me as a person not a disability? I can’t believe you invited me somewhere and did not think of my disability first. I want to be seen and thought of just like every other person and you have the nerve to actually do it? Hello stop ignoring my disability! It’s not my responsibility to make sure that a place I am attending meets my needs so I can say yes or no to your invite!

Words that have actual meanings should not be banned because people choose to use them in a derogatory way. Things like public elevators are not meant specifically for people with disabilities because as a person with a disability you have the capability to use them. I have never seen an elevator with a handicapped sign meaning this device or space is designated only for those with a physical impairment.

What is ableism to me? It is the disabled community telling me that I will never be good enough to fit in by people who are entitled and demand to be equal. We will not be equal until we are seen as special. Elevators only for people who qualify for handicapped parking. All parking must be van accessible and the first 10 rows are only for those who need van accessible parking. Every building must be made wheelchair accessible on the off chance that someone with a wheelchair you don’t know may want to stop by your house. All public transportation shall allow wheelchair seating anywhere so you stop pretending that you understand the struggle of black Americans in 1950. Everything must be built around disabilities for this is the only way to reach inclusion, but it must still be marked only for those with a disability in case a person without a physical disability gets there first!

All in all this is what I have learned it means to live in an ableist word. It will never be good enough because it’s not about accessibility and needs. It’s about wanting to be a politically correct world instead of humanitarian equality. Your new slogan for ableism: I’m so pissed at life that I can define everything offensive. I can even be a white person telling black people how offensive the “n” word is to them! That is equality in America! God bless the USA!!!

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