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Ableism is Systemic Oppression

Ableism is more than being an asshole to people with disabilities. When Institutions establish rules and customs that oppress and mistreat people with disabilities, it’s not always a direct example of ableism. These are pervasive and deeply engrained ways that society accepts as normal.

People with disabilities are often disempowered by having their right to choose what happens to them take away. Here are a few things every person with a disability should be able to choose:

  • How to be referred.
  • The kind of medication and treatment given.
  • Their boundaries and personal space.
  • How they communicate – be it verbal, gesturing, through sign language, writing, or not at all.
  • How they learn.
  • If and how allies help them out.

How to be a better ally

Ask permission before doing something for or to someone with a disability (ie. Holding a door open for a person who is blind).
Speak directly to someone, instead of towards an interpreter or Personal Support Worker.
Never touch someone’s cane, wheelchair, or other mobility aid without consent.
Caption your videos and images. Describing what a picture looks like or putting subtitles in your video help make media more accessible.
Do not assume sanity or accessibility needs.
Treat disability as differently-abled, not unable.

Disability Means:

  • Diversity
  • Independence
  • Dignity
  • Equal opportunities