Disabled People Call Out Things Non-Disabled People Don’t Realize Are Offensive
The disability community is educating the public with the hashtag #YouMightBeAbleistIf.
Photo Credit : Everyday Feminism
Ableism, in a nutshell, is discrimination against disabled people. And, yes, it does exist, despite the fact that one in four people in United States has a disability, according to the Centers for Disease Control.
Case in point, on Sunday, the hashtag #YouMightBeAbleistIf began to trend on Twitter, sparking tons of responses from the disability community of everyday and casual instances of ableism they’ve experienced.
#YouMightBeAbleistIf you think accommodations are just special treatment instead of what they truly are: an equalizer— Four Wheel Workout™️ ♿️ aka 4WheelPromo™️ (@4WheelWorkOut) December 29, 2019
“I deal with ableism everyday on and off line,” said Tiara Simmons Mercius, 36, a disabled woman who popularized the hashtag over the weekend — after it had been used by Twitter user @soul_into_hades in 2015. “And I noticed that the disabled community spends a lot of time explaining what ableism is. So I thought having a central place where we could give examples would be helpful.”
#YouMightBeAbleistIf you call someone “high functioning” as a compliment. pic.twitter.com/mjAZXhMtKH— René Brooks | Black Girl, Lost Keys (@blkgirllostkeys) December 29, 2019
The reason why Mercius felt it would be useful to propel disabled people’s experiences with ableism into the viral sphere is because the concept is complex and instances of it aren’t always easy to identify. The reason is because ableism is highly normalized thanks to society’s lack of understanding of (or indifference towards) disabled people’s lived experiences.
“Ableism is so threaded into our society that it can often go unnoticed or isn’t clear to begin with,” Mercius told HuffPost. “Things that are socially accepted are in fact ableist, from language to beliefs about disabled people.”
#YouMightBeAbleistIf you think you know more about disabled people THEN ACTUAL DISABLED PEOPLE!— alex is polyam + aroace (@acexarofierro) December 29, 2019
One disabled Twitter user told HuffPost that they experienced ableism after they decided to contribute to the #YouMightBeAbleistIf hashtag on Sunday, and their tweet went viral. The user, who asked to not be identified, wrote about their own experiences with abelism. The user quickly received backlash for their tweet and felt they were dismissed because they are disabled.
“The experience just got overwhelming,” they told HuffPost. “And people were taking what I said out of context or not even listening to disabled people about their own experiences.”
The backlash caused the user to mute their responses to their tweet and abandon the conversation.
“I just wasn’t able to handle it when I knew, from previous experience, for the most part it wouldn’t matter what I said or how I said it because people often don’t want to listen to disabled people.”
Yet, people who are disabled want to be heard and understood. Here are what some users had to say using the hashtag:
#YouMightBeAbleistIf you ‘don’t see me as disabled’. It’s not a compliment. I want you to see me as disabled, because I am disabled. When you ‘don’t see the disability,’ you attempt to erase a fundamental aspect of my identity.— Carys Llewellyn, live & direct. (@blindandb0ujee) December 29, 2019
#YouMightBeAbleistIf you tell disabled people their disability, which affects literally every single thing they do, shouldn't be a part of their identity but your health/workout/diet/pyramid scheme is a major part of yours.— Sam Bosworth ♿🔥🤘 (@_SamBosworth) December 29, 2019
#YouMightBeAbleistIf you like to look at videos of disabled people overcoming all the obstacles without ever thinking about who set up a lot of those obstacles in the first place.— Heather D (@becomingcliche) December 29, 2019
#YouMightBeAbleistIf you park on the lines next to the handicapped parking spaces... they’re there for a reason!! pic.twitter.com/v57eRYI3xy— 🧡 Amanda Dillon ♿️ (@adillon845) December 29, 2019
#YouMightBeAbleistIf you are inspired when you see a disabled person just living their life.— Maddie (@williams_madd) December 29, 2019
#YouMightBeAbleistIf you you regularly ignore the boundaries of disabled folks to "help". You're not doing it for us if you can't be bothered to ask first, you're just doing it to make yourself feel like a hero— Missy Owlet (@twitchymoogle) December 29, 2019
#YouMightBeAbleistIf you try to pass your family pet off as a service dog.— The Spinster. (@spinsterprof) December 29, 2019
#YouMightBeAbleistIf if you think it's a miracle or a sign of "faking disability" when ambulatory wheelchair users stand up out of their wheelchairs.— dov (@DovZeller) December 29, 2019
#YouMightBeAbleistIf your response to a disabled person in leadership not being able to attend functions that are inaccessible or due to their disability is "maybe someone else who is more physically able should do this job" not finding/creating supports.— Laurie Bertram Roberts✊🏽🏳️🌈♿️😎 (@smartstatistic) December 29, 2019
#YouMightBeAbleistIf you think that saying "everyone has something" is a positive response to someone disclosing a disability to you— Disabled Times (@DisabledTimes) December 29, 2019
This article originally appeared on : HuffPost
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