Ableism: What is that??

Feb 21

Ableism and What it Means

November 19, 2017

An easy way to understand a basic perspective of Ableist language and Ableism.If someone lets you know you have said or written something “ableist”, think of exactly what you said or wrote, and replace the disability mention with “black person” or “gay person” and that might help understand why it is offensive.This is by no means anything close to explaining ableism in full, but hopefully it will be a conversation starter and get you thinking if you haven’t known about this before.

Here are just a few examples:

“Disabled students are a disruption in our school, they should be in special schools”or”I felt like such an idiot when I got lost at the park”or”He drank so much he was bloody paralytic and fell to the floor”or”That Downsey guy is sooo cute” (said as if the adult is an infant)orWhy shouldn’t disabled people at the ADE (formerly known as sheltered workshops) have different toilets to the “regular” staff – they’re so much dirtier.or “We should be able to sterilise woman with disability so they can’t get pregnant”or”I could never raise a disabled child – you’re amazing”or”Look at you – in a wheelchair on a bus – you’re inspirational”

There are millions more ways we are ableist, and often disabled people are ableist too as it’s been hammered in to them all their lives.

We’re always learning about ableism at The Growing Space. We have much to learn and we’re forever grateful to our Advisory Group of mentors with disability, young and old, who patiently and impatiently, help us learn.


(Pic description: Two blue circles with white textThe circle to the left has a title “What Ableism is” followed by “A set of taught practices and subconscious or conscious behaviour against people with disabilities and illnesses which assumes that able is the norm, and people who have disabilities must either strive to fit that norm or keep their distance from people who are able. Ableism often sees disability as an error of life, a wrong way to live, and therefore often negates any life experiences of the disabled”.

The blue circle on the right has a title “What people think ableism is” followed by the text “My feelings are hurt because you used the r-word.”)