7 responses to “What is Ableism? Five Things About Ableism You Should Know”

  1. NTE

    Awesome. I did not know about the history of ableism (and have, in fact, had no argument to counter know-it-all people who say it’s just a “made up internet word”), and am glad to know it. I’ve been doing some reading, but there’s always more to read, always more to know.

  2. Monica

    Great post, Anna! I might add that people with invisible disabilities experience ableism, too (in the form of “I hate when able-bodied people take the stairs” attitudes, because people don’t realize that someone might have a chronic pain condition, or take a medication that has the side effect of unfortunate sweating for a mental health issue).

  3. codeman38

    And just for those who are curious, ‘disablist’ dates back to 1984. (Yay university OED subscriptions!)

  4. Sharon Wachsler

    Anna,
    Delicious! And, terrific timing! I am on an assistance dog list where I posted a comment that used the term “ableism,” and I was shocked that some on the list replied with, “What is ‘ableism’?” (I actually remember the term being used in the 1980s, so it never occurred to me anyone might think it is a new-fangled internet invention.)

    I gave a very brief definition with some links, but I wasn’t satisfied that any of the links gave a full, yet clear, definition. And it was clear to me that my definition was not complete enough when the poster replied that what she experienced went beyond ableism (as I’d defined it), because she experienced (…), which was a classic example of ableism.

    But it’s off-topic for that list, and I felt too tired to go into education mode, so I let it be. However, NEXT TIME the topic comes up, I can just offer this handy-dandy link that I’ve bookmarked. Thank you!

  5. The Goldfish

    It’s also worth pointing out that for some disabled people, especially in the UK, the word ableism is considered discriminatory. Blogging Against Disablism Day became such such because I’d never heard of ableism when it started, five years ago. However, some people feel that “ableism” makes disabled issues about “able-bodiedness” or the lack thereof – as in your dictionary definition – and therefore, it is sometimes argued, excludes a great number of disabled people from their own experiences and helps enforce a hierachy of impairment.

    Of course, this is part of the quagmire of the language of disability, and people are (and have every right to be) very wedded to the words they use – Dave Hindsburger prefers disphobia, which has its merits too. But I thought it was worth mentioning as part of the discussion of the word.

  6. Ang

    Thank you so much for this post. I feel like getting ableism recognised and understood by more people is a big part of helping them understand the fact that individual injustices are part of larger systemic ones, and that the disability issues we try to communicate to able and disabled people are as relevant as they are. This will be a really, really useful page for people to link to.

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