Around 10% of the people in the world have some kind of disability. Despite so many people having disabilities, the world is still largely built for those who do not have any disabilities. Even in the 21st century, there seems to be a derogatory attitude towards those who have any disabilities. This needs to be stopped ASAP, and we need to become more inclusive of those with disabilities. In this article, we’ll discuss what ableism is and how to fight against ableism.
As the world transitions more and more towards inclusion, we still see a lot of internalized ableism in people around the world. The first thing we can do to fight against ableism is to learn about it. We must rid ourselves of all the misconceptions we have about people with disabilities. To understand how you can fight against ableism, we need first to understand what ableism at its core is. Let’s get right into it.
What is Ableism?
Ableism is a derogatory or non-inclusive attitude toward people who one or more disabilities. Ableism, at its core, is discrimination that takes many forms around the world. However, it is largely the case that people don’t want to treat those with disabilities differently. It is because they don’t understand their disabilities. We need to change this attitude and first start learning about the disabilities that people can have.
The set assumptions that some people have about people with disabilities can also be the cause of ableism. Without even knowing about it, you can have an ableist attitude. More often than not, a lot of people view those with disabilities from the eyes of pity, contempt, and sometimes even fear. The first thing, as mentioned above, is just to learn more about the disabilities of people. If we want to move towards a disability-inclusive world, we must first rid ourselves of all the wrong perceptions we have about people with disabilities.
How to Fight Against Ableism?
As we mentioned at the beginning of the article, a lot of people have internalized ableist attitudes. If you or someone you know and love has a disability, you can always ask those who don’t have a disability to understand the disability. However, if you are a person who does not have any disability, you can go out and learn all you can about disabilities to change your attitude and behaviour towards them. Of course, no one is perfect, but the one who tries to learn about disabilities is better than the one who doesn’t even try.
Below are some ways to ensure that the fight against ableism is strong. By doing the following, we can take a step towards a more inclusive future where people with disabilities are treated as they deserve to be treated. Let’s all do our job in making the world a more inclusive place for everyone.
One of the biggest reasons people have ableism is that they don’t understand disability. They perceive disability to be something pitiful and fearful and often avoid those who have one. This could not be farther from the truth. Just because the majority of people don’t have a disability, having a disability does not mean you’re not normal. All of us can get a disability at any time in our life, so it’s high time we understand disability for what it is and not what we think it should be.
The best way to learn about disabilities is from doctors, the internet, and finally, those with a disability (of course, only if they feel like talking about it). People with disabilities often have different attitudes towards someone who asks them about their disabilities, but it more often than not depends upon the person and the way they are asking. If you are polite and actually want to learn about their disability, they will most likely not refuse. If they do, back off and find someone else from whom you can learn about disabilities.
Interact with People with Disabilities:
As mentioned above, a lot of people try to avoid people with disabilities whenever they see them. The reason is internalized ableism. When you know that people with disabilities are people like everyone else and there is so much more than just their disability, it becomes easier for you to interact with them. They have their own personality, likes and dislikes, hopes and dreams and everything else that people have. Intend to learn about them the way you would learn about a person without a disability.
Treat the people with disabilities like you would like people to treat you. Stop assuming that everyone who has a disability needs your help. If you are offering assistance, don’t just walk up to them and start “helping,” ask them first if they even need your help or not. Get rid of labels that society has placed on people with disabilities and treat them like the normal human beings they are. No one has any right to treat a person with disabilities or even someone with no disabilities in a different or derogatory way.
We have been dealing with ableism for so long, but it’s high time we change our attitudes. There is no reason in this 21st century to treat any person differently. If we start treating everyone as equals, we would surely be headed to an inclusive and more loveable future where everyone knows that all human beings are equal.