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Blue Gradient

What is "ableism?"

Ableism is the oppression of marginalized groups that do not have physical or mental abilities consistent with the majority group. It is the belief and practice of favoring non-disabled people and seeing them as superior to disabled people, for example, asking a disabled person what is "wrong" with them.


Ableism is responsible for negative messaging seen in media (I.,e. "inspiration porn"), spread through community (I.,e. bullying, discrimination), and reinforced by some medical providers (I.,e. ABA). This may look like "inspirational stories" of disabled people participating in simple activities or centering non-disabled people "helping" disabled people by practicing basic respect (I.,e. a viral video showing a neurotypical person sitting down and having a beer with someone with Down Syndrome who is sitting alone). It sets the bar low and closes doors for people with disabilities while emphasizing a connection between weakness and impairments. Ableism leads to medical practices that attempt to "fix" people with disabilities while keeping them dependent on the system that oppresses them (I.,e. pharmaceutical dependency).

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