What is Ableism?
Ableism is prejudice against people with disabilities.
Ableism is real, and exists even among people with disabilities, as we can internalize the ableism that is rampant in mainstream culture and within our able-bodied families.
What is the Disability Rights Movement?
The Disability Rights Movement has been going on since the 1960’s.
It is the fight that we make for access and inclusion.
While it started in the 60’s, it’s ongoing; we still don’t have full rights, and access and inclusion are far from universal.
Activism Against Ableism
This short video is a fantastic introduction to all of these pieces, to ableism, the disability rights movement.
It also covers what constitutes a disability (“who is disabled?!”) and more in under 10 minutes.
Wonderful short film, right?!
It really explains the core of what a “disability” constitutes, as well as the fundamentals of the disability rights movement and all that we are working toward.
This subject is a huge one, and I think it can take a long time to fully grasp it.
Even for me – I grew up with a disability but I internalized ableism, knew nothing of disability culture or the disability rights movement growing up. I was far from being “deaf proud” and far from wanting to have anything to do with disability.
For parents of people with disabilities, it can be even harder to understand.
For many parents, even while striving to give your child a fair chance at education and opportunity, many of you still want your child to “pass” as non-disabled, or talk about disability as if it’s not a fundamental part of your child’s physical experience (by using words such as “happens to have” a disability or “didn’t get the memo that they have a disability”).
But it’s okay! We all have to start somewhere, and we start where we are.
We just have to keep moving forward, keep learning, keep applying what we learn.
“Disability” is a particular way of moving, thinking, emoting, hearing, seeing, expressing, learning, being. It’s not an inability to do something. It’s simply a particular way of moving, thinking, emoting, hearing, seeing, expressing, learning, being, that is different from a given mainstream norm.
It’s that simple, and it’s that complex.
The population of people with disabilities is huge. It is the largest “minority” group in the world, and the only one that anyone can join at any time.
We need to start changing the way that we talk about it, the way we define it, the way we internalize the prejudice and stereotypes against it, and the way that we actively include, embrace and defend it.