Post #35: We All Do It: Ableist Prejudice Against Disabled Persons

Blogging against disablism

I just read this interesting post by David, a young man with cerebral palsy who writes a blog that shares stories of disabled people in America. He actually took a year off college to interview and write stories and he has a lot of meaningful posts. Today I’m sharing his thoughts and examples on how we, in our everyday lives without meaning to, project an abelist attitude that is discriminatory against people living with disabilities.

We All Do It

*New readers may wonder why I’m sharing these posts and why they’re numbered. Here’s a link to my post I’m Giving Up HATE, PREJUDICE and INDIFFERENCE for Lent.

And here are my latest 5 posts in the series:
Post #30: Intersectionality
Post #31: Almost Asian (But Not Quite)
Post #32: Accurate Representation
Post #33: 13 Tweets That Define What Growing Up as Lesbian Was Really Like
Post #34: Growing Up Black and Jewish in America

*Please remember to leave the sites I post clean. We are here to learn, not debate. Even if you disagree, we need to learn that just because we have an opinion, doesn’t mean we need to share it all the time.*

Post #23: What You Imply When You Call a Disabled Person Inspiring . . .

Disability graphics

We’ve all done it. That person is so inspiring! And they are. People who wheelchair across the country or graduate college despite neural diversity or paint with their feet because they have no arms all do amazing things and deserve to be applauded. But do they deserve to be called inspirational? What about the people who just live everyday with a disability? Go to work, go to the grocery store, make dinner, and raise children. Are they inspirational too?

In many ways they are, but we need to be aware of what those words sound like to a person with a disability. You’ll notice I didn’t say suffering from a disability. Because that’s another way of generating sympathy, making them an other and making them less than “normal”, i.e. an able-bodied person.

Here’s a Twitter chat that addresses the issue:

Disability Inspiration 1

I think what Kayla says at the end is key: a disabled person can and will have the same characteristics that are inspirational as an able-bodied person.

Disability Inspiration 2

What we imply with our words is often more important than what we actually say. I remember being a mix of proud and offended when people would commend me on the fact that I had a child at nineteen-years-old, but still managed to finish college, work part-time and raise my daughter. Yes, I was proud of that achievement, and I get how that was harder than say being a young woman with no responsibilities other than grades and maybe a job, but the implication somehow made it sound like I’d overcome some massive obstacle. No, I did what I had to do to make life better for myself and my daughter. I don’t deserve praise for that. Instead of telling me how great I am, maybe use that energy to help someone else in the same situation.

I’ll leave you with this last thought from Corrine on how when people say that a disabled person is inspirational without qualify what is inspirational about them how it may sound to a disabled person:

Disability Inspiration 3

*Kayla Whaley is the Senior editor at  and a Middle-Grade and Young Adult writer and essayist. Corrine Duyvis is the co-founder of  and author of Young Adult Science Fiction novels OTHERBOUND and soon to be released ON THE EDGE OF GONE.

*New readers may wonder why I’m sharing these posts and why they’re numbered. Here’s a link to my post I’m Giving Up HATE, PREJUDICE and INDIFFERENCE for Lent.

And here are my latest 5 posts in the series:
Post #18: Discussion: Body Positivity in YA – Where’s the Love for Curvy Women?
Post #19: Beyonce in Formation
Post #20: #OscarSoWhite
Post #21: #OwnVoices: Why We Need Diverse Authors in Children’s Literature
Post #22: The Pain of Growing Up Muslim in Post-9/11 America

*Please remember to leave the sites I post clean. We are here to learn, not debate. Even if you disagree, we need to learn that just because we have an opinion, doesn’t mean we need to share it all the time.*

Post #21: #OwnVoices: Why We Need Diverse Authors in Children’s Literarure

I know this sounds like something I’ve already posted, and while it is about the importance of diversity in children’s literature, it is specifically about needing the voices of diversity to be at the forefront of the stories we tell. It’s the #OwnVoices type of article I’ve been looking to share. Though Kayla is talking specifically about physical disability, the ideas she expresses concerning #OwnVoices stories can be applied whether we are talking about racial, religious, physical, sexual or gender diversity. Really, any diversity.

Kayla Whaley: #OwnVoices: Why We Need Diverse Authors in Children’s Literarure

*New readers may wonder why I’m sharing these posts and why they’re numbered. Here’s a link to my post I’m Giving Up HATE, PREJUDICE and INDIFFERENCE for Lent.

And here are my latest 5 posts in the series:

Post #16: Listen and Learn . . . 
Post #17: Comprehensive List of LGBTQ+ Term Definitions
Post #18: Discussion: Body Positivity in YA – Where’s the Love for Curvy Women?
Post #19: Beyonce in Formation
Post #20: #OscarSoWhite

*Please remember to leave the sites I post clean. We are here to learn, not debate. Even if you disagree, we need to learn that just because we have an opinion, doesn’t mean we need to share it all the time.*

Post #14: #DisabledTwitter Needs to be Dominated by Disabled Voices

I came across a Twitter thread on February 11th I wanted to share. So often we “help” people from a place of sympathy or even pity. But when the work gets hard we can go back to our lives without feeling the weight of racism, bigotry, religious persecution or having to deal with a disability. India Valentine, a writer and disability advocate who handles her own disability, posted this thread speaking to the need for allies and non-disabled advocates to understand the need for the disabled to speak for themselves.

I challenge you to read through the whole thread. It’s long, and you may have to click “Show More” as you finish a section, but her words are important. Remember, she’s not saying that the fight for the rights and accessibility for disabled persons doesn’t need allies and advocates, but rather the voices that need to be at the forefront of the movement should be voices of people who actually deal with the situation every day.

This thread, though specifically talking about #DisabledTwitter and disability in general, can be applied to so many injustices we see in the world. Yes, we need to step forward and help, even if this injustice does not directly affect us, but we also need to take a back seat and do the non-glorious work because the voices we need to hear, and the humanity we need to acknowledge, is that of the people who are directly affected.

India Valentine: #DisabledTwitter Needs to be Dominated by Disabled Voices

**This is one of those posts I’m going to strongly remind my readers to leave nothing behind on the sites I post. This challenge is about educating ourselves through the eyes of people unlike us, or maybe more like us than we realize. Experience a new point of view, but leave your point of view at home.**

Lenten Challenge 2016
Post #2: Coming Out Again, and Again, and Again . . .
Post #3: Dalia Mogahed and why she wears a hijab
Post #4: Why diversity in Children’s Literature really Matters
Post #5: The Emotional Toll of Growing Up Black in America
Post #6: Picture from the Box
Post #7: Diversity 101
Post #8: Study examines television, diversity and self-esteem
Post #9: Growing up Muslim in America
Post #10: White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack
Post #11: Explaining White Privilege to a Broke White Person
Post #12: It’s a Choice! Oh Shit!
Post #13: Representation Matters

Post #12: It’s a Choice! Oh Shit!

deadpool-wade-wilson-face

Ryan Reynolds in DeadPool after his superhero transformation

I could share Dave Hingsburger’s posts all day long. God I love their hard hitting truths. I’m sure you’ll be seeing more of his words on disability during my Lenten Challenge, but for now here’s his post on DeadPool. Sorry if you’re offended by swearing, but I find Dave’s words so poignant and necessary I can overlook the vulgar language.

Dave Hingsburger: It’s a Choice! Oh Shit!

**And let’s remember to keep it clean. Leave Dave’s blog as you found it unless you want to leave a like or positive comment. This is about learning and understanding, not debating. If you must say something derogatory or feel the need to argue, leave it here. (Or keep it to yourself . . .)**

Lenten Challenge 2016
Post #2: Coming Out Again, and Again, and Again . . .
Post #3: Dalia Mogahed and why she wears a hijab
Post #4: Why diversity in Children’s Literature really Matters
Post #5: The Emotional Toll of Growing Up Black in America
Post #6: Picture from the Box
Post #7: Diversity 101
Post #8: Study examines television, diversity and self-esteem
Post #9: Growing up Muslim in America
Post #10: White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack
Post #11: Explaining White Privilege to a Broke White Person