Able-bodied people often deny ableism exists (no matter how much evidence to the contrary). If it does, they say, it doesn't really affect much. It alters nothing... for them.
But what happens when a politician takes the view that disabled people are a drain on society? How does that change the programs, the funding? It depends, I suppose, on how many politicians hold this view. Get enough of them together...
Make no mistake, ableism can strip away disabled people's sense of self, humanity... and even our lives. All someone in power has to do is scapegoat disabled people for the country's financial difficulties and we're not safe. I've seen it happen. Some people won't ever see a disabled person as fully human and this behavior just fans the flames.
Ableism, any kind of bigotry, can lead to violence and dehumanization.
Programs for vulnerable communities are often targeted by certain politicians to balance budgets, while they vote themselves raises because they can't live on the pittance they receive. But that's fine because they're productive citizens! Dead weight should be cut!
If a person's value is mere money, I should be dead. So should everyone who doesn't work. Kids, the elderly, prisoners, other disabled people, citizens who can't find gainful employment within six months...
But able-bodied people, even those who are currently unemployed or incarcerated, are seen to have potential. A future in which they can have value exists, just beyond the horizon.
To many people, I possess no future. None where I'm not a negative.
Do you know how difficult it is, sometimes, to see yourself as vital when society constantly shows you otherwise? When people elected to represent you can't even see you as anything more than garbage?
You have to have moxie, a good sense of self, redefined views of value and success. But, even for all of that, you still have bad days.
Know success is varied, value takes many forms. Realize everyone has worth and no one has a right to tear you down or steal your humanity. Love who you are, disabled, able-bodied, Muslim, Christian, LBGTQIAPN, cishet, old... and respect each other.
Don't ever, ever let the bastards get you down.
There are so many people in this world who lack empathy, who can't see things until it becomes personal. I wish I knew how to get through to them. Where's the It's a Wonderful Life montage when you need it, to show the value that each person has in the world?ReplyDelete
It would be amazing, every time someone looked down on someone else, they would see the dark spots left by that person's potential absence or see the light they give. It would help most people become less judgemental.Delete