Ableism means valuing and favouring people based on the abilities of their minds and bodies. In simpler terms, ableism is thinking, believing or behaving as though a person without disability is more capable or superior than a person with disability.
Ableism is built on a set of ideas constructed by the society about what is “normal”, “intelligent”, “excellent”, “desirable” and “productive” (Talila "TL" Lewis, 2021).
“Normal" is a myth, a problem and a privilege.
-Talila “TL” Lewis, 2021
Ableism views disability as not desirable. However, the truth is that the world is not built with disability in mind, leaving out people with disabilities. Hence this makes living and navigating the world hard (impossible for some) for persons with disabilities.
Ableism is a form of systemic discrimination and oppression of persons with disabilities. This is manifested in how non-disabled people exercise power over people with disabilities in harmful ways that respond to the perceived disability. The harmful ways include violence, withholding or withdrawing resources, degrading personhood, and eugenics. It is important to note that one does not have to be disabled to experience ableism.
Ableism is found in every aspect of daily living:
Below are some examples of ableism:
*Note: Resources linked are in English and pdf format or webpage, unless stated otherwise.
The Inherent Ableism of Being “Productive” by Mary Elizabeth in Hack Library School
“You Do Not Exist To Be Used”: Why Your Life Purpose Is Bigger Than Capitalist Productivity by Gillian Giles in The Body Is Not An Apology
3 Ableisms Series by Andrew Pulrang
Disabled People Don’t Need To Be “Fixed” — We Need A Cure For Ableism by Wendy Lu
Working Definition of Ableism - January 2022 Update by Talila "TL" Lewis
Ableism and Ableist Microaggressions by Hassina Obaidy
Ableism in the Workplace: When Trying Harder Doesn’t Work by Nancy Doyle
Workplace Ableism Is a Problem for ADA Rights by Nathaniel Levy
Here are four ways to dismantle ableism at work according to disability advocates by Michelle Ma
Dealing with Medical Ableism by Andrew Pulrang
These Doctors Admit They Don't Want Patients with Disabilities by Gina Kolata in New York Times
Medical Ableism is a Cultural and Institutional Issue, not an Individual Problem by Marisa Kierra in The Black Youth Project
Eliminating Ableism in Education by Thomas Hehir
Ableism in Academia: Theorising experiences of disabilities and chronic illnesses in higher education (pdf book), edited by Nicole Brown and Jennifer Leigh
Abortion Based on Disabilities is Ableism by Maggie Lineburg
Legal Abortion Isn’t the Problem to Be Solved by Pasquale Toscano and Alexis Doyle
How Ableism Leads to Inaccessibility by Olivier Nourry
I Am More Than An Empty Wheelchair: Speaking Up Against Ableism by Emily Ladau
10 Answers to Common Questions People Ask When Being Called Out for Using Ableist Language by Rachel Cohen-Rottenburg