Thinking Today

Illustration of a human head in profile, with four different colored gears inside the head

People Who Are Not Disabled Need To Check Out #AbleismExists Right Now
Elyse Wanshel, Huffington Post - April 22, 2016

This week while on a blogging break, I enjoyed following the #AbleismExists hashtag. I didn’t know until yesterday that Dominick Evans started it, but I’m not surprised. Dominick is very good at talking about ableism in an accessible, relatable way, and drawing out people who experience ableism on a regular basis. The hashtag produced some really thought-provoking tweets. Reading them this week I found myself nodding my head a lot. So, so much is familiar. Not all of it … ableism is diverse and it doesn’t come all in one complete package … but I’ve experienced a lot of it myself, and what I haven’t experienced I have seen happen to other disabled people.

All of which brought back to mind one of the most persistent puzzles about “ableism” and what I like to think of as "ableism skeptics." These are the people who may or may not be deeply discriminatory themselves towards disabled people, but who have some sort of problem with the idea of ableism. The puzzle is how many of them truly doubt that disabled people experience significant stigma and discrimination, and how many just have some kind of cranky objection to the word itself.

And, does it make a difference which people think what?

I don’t think it makes a difference to how we experience ableism, but to me it’s still an interesting question. It’s one of the reasons I named this blog Disability Thinking.