What is Ableism?

Discrimination or prejudice is a natural tendency that people have.

Some folks value diversity, and there are some who view any form of disability or difference as inherently abnormal. Some of them are aware they behave that way while others are oblivious to the fact that they are. People who discriminate others view their supposed superiority as the norm.

Their firm belief in their ideals is one of the reasons why discrimination exists. These people discriminate against other people based on their race, gender, age, sexual orientation, religion, etc.

Then, in 1981, a new word was coined to describe another form of discrimination appropriately.

What is ableism? 

Ableism is a form of discrimination done by able-bodied or neurotypical persons against people with physical, mental or developmental disabilities.

It is a biased prejudice toward persons with disabilities regarding a job or other economic opportunities to keep them living in poverty. It is just like racism where their expression of hate or disgust signifies as if persons with a physical or mental handicap don’t deserve to live.

In other words, ableism is the ignorance, complete disregard, or indifference against the needs of disabled people. It’s treated differently from racism or sexism as a challenge against equality and fairness.

It's often claimed by ableists to be a made-up word created by activists to annoy them. A word that people with disabilities use to describe their experiences in the last 30 years or so.

Just to let you know, accidental ableism is never okay.

Here are a few examples:

  • Some companies are making their products or services inaccessible to people with disabilities.
  • Mainstream media ignoring protests made that support the Community Choice Act.
  • Calling people “Simpleton” to emphasize their intellectual or learning disabilities.

The dominant or aggressive behavior shown by regular and healthy persons towards people with disabilities should stop. The institutional devaluing or systemic oppression of people with disabilities is not right. Just because they're not deemed normal and healthy by society’s standards doesn't mean it's right to maltreat them.

What is an ableist?

An ableist is someone who discriminates against people with physical, mental, or developmental disabilities. They think these people are inferior to them and believe such persons cannot function as productive members of society

They believe that these people need to be fixed, viewing their disability as a defect rather than a difference, before being exposed to the community.

They need to stop considering disabled people as abnormal. Instead, they belong to a minority group that deserves equal and humane treatment.

How to handle yourself when interacting with handicapped individuals

  • Pay close attention to how you think or behave when you’re around persons with disabilities.
  • Be careful of what you say or adapt the “think before you speak” mentality.
  • Treat them how you want to be treated in return – live by the golden rule.
  • Respect them for who they are and look at what they can do to contribute to society despite their disabilities.
  • Never make assumptions just because they have limitations – if you’re not sure about what you’re going to say or do, ask them first for every disabled person has different preferences.
  • Avoid using offensive terms or euphemisms – always use universally accepted terms.
  • Give them space – some handicapped persons prefer to be left alone. Just let them be.