Guest Post from RMJ: Athletes with Disabilities: Arm-Wrestlers as Exceptions and Inspirations

Matthew’s accomplishments are not notable in this article: only his disabilities. I’m not quoting or going through the whole article because the able privilege is so dense. The first line is indicative of the attitude taken in the article: Matthew doesn’t “bemoan”, unlike those other people with disabilities who would surely be champion athletes if they just tried. The construction is an ableist implication that other folks with disabilities are lazy whiners. Throughout the article, every reference to barriers Matthew faced is immediately matched by emphasis on how he overcame this disability. The focus is not on his exceptional effort and achievements, but on the “heartwarming” “good cripple”.

On refusing to tell you my name

Women like me – and so many other women and men with “hidden” disabilities, women and men who are trans* or bi or lesbian or gay, people who are non-gender binary, people who write about their struggles with racism or sexism or homophobia or bullying at work, people who are otherwise marginalized – risk losing their jobs, having their children taken away from them, risk being attacked in their homes or at work, having their children threatened, just for writing about their lives online.

Words, Language, Context

My point isn’t that people with disabilities need to use different words or that currently non-disabled people need to use different words. It’s that words come with context.

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