ableism |ˈābəˌlizəm| (also ablism)

noun

discrimination in favour of able-bodied people.

I found out today, that yesterday was Blogging Against Ableism Day. I missed it… in fact, today was the first time I’d heard of it.  I looked into it and found that most people blogging are using Ableism and Disableism (Ablism & Disablism) interchangeably. In reality though, they are polar opposites, because if ableism is “discrimination in favour of able-bodied people… wouldn’t disablism be discrimination in favour of persons with disability?  Yes, it would be… and indeed there is no such word as disablism….. Why, you ask?  Well maybe because there isn’t any discrimination in favour of people with disablity, at least that’s my guess. And that is why we need to help raise awareness of ableism.

How can we look at someone else with empathy? Who do you feel unconditional nonjudgemental love for? What makes you feel that way about that person?

I have worked at answering these questions for myself. What I found out, was… that by remembering the answers to those questions whenever I’m challenged by someone being rude, or just my own impatience, it really helps me to open my heart and mind toward the person. All of a sudden I feel love for the person, and in turn, I feel good, and hopefully even make the other person feel good too.

I used to work with someone who was very well-liked and respected by not just few, but, by everyone she came in contact with. She didn’t even seem to realize how much she was loved and admired by the people that worked for/with her. One day I asked her how she managed to always stay calm and kind in the most unimaginably stressful situations. She answered by saying, “I just treat people the way I’d like to be treated”.

What does this have to do with people with disabilities?… Nothing really, I just think there would be a whole lot less of this thing called Ableism, if more people would open their hearts and just let others be themselves, without judgement.

If you’d like to read other blogs on this topic there are many listed here.

Blogging Against Disablism Day, May 1st 2010