Blogging Against Disablism 2010: Assumption as Discrimination

April 30, 2010 at 3:44 PM (Able Bodied Antics, BADD) (, , , , )

For the record, this is mostly sarcasm and snark.  I don’t believe any of these assertions, but some of the able do.

Are you tired of it?  I know I’m tired of it.

The temporarily able-bodied and their uninformed attitudes and decisions regarding us.

There are so many.

We never travel of course, so small and large businesses  carp and complain when they have to make buildings accessible “Well I never see any disabled people in here, so why should I have to pay to alter my space?

We never need to live with our caregivers, so the one person limit on accessible apartments makes perfect sense, institutionalizing  a unique kind of housing discrimination under US law.

We can never hear (or comprehend in some other way) what the able people in the same room with us say  or decide about what we need to live with as few barriers as possible.  Don’t worry. We’ll never express an opinion, either, that’s impossible too.

We never have the intellect to question discriminatory practices in medicine, building, hiring or leisure time choices.

People literally don’t see us sometimes, and prattle on while the failure to see us, the social discrimination is sometimes the most painful of all.

Or, the converse…they feel entitled to get all up in our business, where they would *never* be so discourteous with an able-bodied person.

We never have spouses, or partners or children.  We’re undesirable.  We never deserve intimacy, and us raising children? well that is unconscionable and needs to be stopped right away.

If we have creative talent it is often infantilized rather than taken seriously.  Discrimination by disrespecting or stifling artistic expression.

And the most sinister kind of discrimination.  Attempts by ignorant and dangerous people to control us because they can, to think nothing of depriving us of liberty, the pursuit of happiness and even sometimes life itself.  Abuse by authority. Captivity. Physical, mental or emotional harm.   By impersonal strangers. By so called friends.  By family.  Inappropriate institutionalization.  Subtle pressure to embrace soi-disant euthanasia. ( Unfortunately,  in the midst of a broader strange societal push toward rewarding willful ignorance about everything imaginable by a certain segment of those in power here in the US, it has made this worst kind of discrimination more frequent and easier to get away with. )

There’s hope against this though.  Embrace real able bodied allies. Praise and celebrate them in a very public way, as an object lesson,  a kind of “No, actually *this* is how to support us.”

And anybody with disabilities in the public eye either physically or virtually, via blogs,  and the newest internet addictions, Facebook or Twitter…has often been another type of honest public face about what we need and deserve…

On a personal note, to illustrate this, my household has been going through a crisis of late and we’ve called on real able bodied allies to help in various ways…and they’ve come through in amazing ways. So thanks to them all.

Here’s hoping a more informed able population keeps pushing towards less and less discrimination by assumption.

Published a bit early to make the May1 UK deadline at Goldfish’s place


  1. Ruth said,

    I relate to this. When you violate an assumption – oh boy LOL

    Without real able bodied allies, my quality of life would be much lower.

    • imfunny2 said,

      The assumptions frustrate me. But better to just break them down than let the frustration simmer too long.

  2. Wheelchair dancer said,

    I know that I am tired of it. Sometimes, i enjoy violating their assumptions — that was more when I was first discovering disabled life. Now, however, mostly, I am exhausted. I wish that it were not so and hope that events like this will help change our world.


  3. CapriUni said,

    This. This is so exhausting.

    The infantalizing of our talents especially is frustrating, because sometimes it seems like the harder we fight, the more we’re seen as “quaint.”

    “Head, meet Wall. I think you two will become well acquanted, soon.

  4. Body Impolitic - Blog Archive - » Blogging Against Disablism - Laurie Toby Edison: Photographer said,

    […] Midlife and Treachery (is that the best blog name ever?) has a satisfyingly angry rant, with some practical suggestions at the end. var addthis_language = […]

  5. Attila the Mom said,

    Love it! As always. 🙂

  6. seahorse said,

    I’m just glad you have some ABs in your life who ‘get’ it and are helpful and understanding. That, I feel, is the way forward. Fostering understanding.

  7. Elizabeth McClung said,

    I am not sure if your suggestion at the end is sarcastic – do you really want us to call the AB people who help us, “Inspirational”, “Couragous”, “An example of what an AB person can do.”, “Told themselves they would walk again.” (oh wait, got that last one mixed up with what they call us). Do you think they will notice?

    I yesterday tried to go to the empress – the only way in to the convention side requires the use of FOUR ramps, each with turns, and THEN a precision elevator which won’t fit scooters or many power chairs in order to get to the resturant. The design had won a special award for innovation and excellence. Go Canada!

  8. imfunny2 said,

    Hello Elizabeth…No, it wasn’t meant as sarcasm….

    I kind of envisioned a three way conversation… the person with impairments, an uninformed AB and the caregiver/ally. The clueless AB would be making a buncha wrong assumptions about what the PWD needed, and then the PWD would step up and say something about specifics: What the carer does correctly (doesn’t make decisions for you, is clear that you will exercise your own autonomy as much as possible, doesn’t speak *for* you, particularly in social situations, but rather with you…)

    An example for AB’s that don’t ‘get’ it of AB’s that do. But not inspirational or “courageous” as much as “Correct”

  9. brilliantmindbrokenbody said,

    I actually wrote my BADD post about people in my life who do get it right. People I definitely count as allies and people who have improved my quality of life.

    As usual, it all comes down to respecting me as a person and respecting my autonomy. I’m sure that doesn’t surprise anyone with a disability much! The only sad part is how rare they are…


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