In case you don’t know what ableism is, it’s discrimination against people with disabilities. Whether it is intentional or not. It can look like typical discrimination expression like hate for people with disabilities and rejection of disabled applicants for housing and jobs. Or it can look more complicated like the denial of accessibility, institutionalized discrimination in the form of benefits systems designed to keep people with disabilities in poverty, etc.
Take this video for example, ablesim due to the denial of accessibility:
Ableism can also be the belief that people with disabilities need to be fixed or healed, and cannot fully function as members of our society. These assumptions make some members our society view people with disabilities as being abnormal and part of a distant other instead of minorities within our same society. I realize that abelism can be deliberate or accidental but that still does not make it okay. I found this twitter post when I was researching this topic and I think it perfectly explains ableism.
Not too long ago a man in Japan acted on his ableist ideology and committed Japan’s worst mass murder. A man who claimed he wanted to kill disabled people left at least 19 dead and 26 others injured after a knife attack at a care facility in Japan. A mercy killing.
It was the country’s worst mass killing in decades. “I did it,” the 26-year-old former employee of the facility was quoted as saying. “It is better that disabled people disappear,” he was said to have added. He was carrying a bag full of knives and other sharp-edged tools, some of which were bloodstained, when he handed himself in. Nine women and 10 men were killed. They ranged in age from 18 to 70.
He tied up staff members and asked them where people with severe impairments were accommodated in the facility, investigative sources said. Shortly after his arrest, Uematsu allegedly told police that he wanted to “save” those with multiple disabilities and felt “no remorse” for what he did. He reportedly told others before the rampage that “disabled people create misfortune” and that he “wanted to euthanize them.”
Masayuki Okahara, professor of sociology at Keio University, said, “I cannot accept the defendant’s claims. But against the background of the case may be society’s intolerance toward its most vulnerable members. “There is a general sense that we should not discuss the incident. Society has accepted disabled people only in the context of heartwarming stories,” he said.
“But we should first understand the reality of seriously impaired people. We should create an environment in which such people and their families can feel acceptance and freely go out in society.” Japan Times
If you can, read this blog post: “I don’t see myself without my disability” It’s a good read about acceptance of disability. The closes the post with this: “When we dream about a better more inclusive reality, we shouldn’t show the status quo and suggest that people who don’t usually fit in should have that too. We should show a world where they actually do.”
We should be providing supports and encouragement to people with disabilities to help them live the life they want. We should not push them and their dreams aside or try to erase their disability.
Abelism kills. It kills dreams, opportunities, acceptance and many times it can literally kill people.