Ableism is Like Drinking Water

A fellow blogger has written to say that he’s been posting about the inaccessibility of the upcoming inaugural events and that he’s received several hostile comments from bloggers who think that “the disabled” are just whining and should shut up.


Its easy. Its like drinking water. How simple this is.

Such people are actually furious about having to be sensitive about all the other identity categories. They hate having to think about the rights of children (you can’t hit them anymore); women’s rights (soon you will have to pay them the same as men); people of color (defenders of Don Imus or Rush Limbaugh, etc. etc.); forgive me–the list is huge. GLBT haters; ethnic baiters; people who hate the social contract hence they hate the poor. 

But you can still kick the cripples. Tell them to shut the hell up. Take away their accommodations. Shut down their social services even as you bail out the bankers; laugh at depictions of the blind as groping imbeciles on Saturday Night Live; handcuff those kids with LD who didn’t get the services they needed in the first place.

Glass of water.

Ableism is illegal and how they hate it.

In the meantime they take refuge in anonymous blog comments. Shut the hell up you people you! You war veterans; you parents; you children; you who are the friends of such people. This is America! Don’t you know there isn’t enough time to think about you.


Other people’s civil rights are just “whining” if you don’t believe in liberty.

That’s the final kicker. Ableists don’t believe in liberty at all.

They might as well hate the moon and the stars. The wind off the oceans. Perfect numbers. Silk worms and thermal dynamics.

But you see the point. They need to hate and the circle of liberated culture is   narrowing so terribly fast.

Cripples should stay home where they belong.

Why haven’t they learned that by now?



Author: skuusisto

Poet, Essayist, Blogger, Journalist, Memoirist, Disability Rights Advocate, Public Speaker, Professor, Syracuse University

0 thoughts on “Ableism is Like Drinking Water”

  1. This is interesting to read. The writing is somewhat magnetic even. But I have a general issue with the way ableism is presented here. I feel like what you’re saying is that ableism is the solely the product of a particular group of people’s bigotry. Ableism, like many of the other ism’s, works on all levels of institutions, the personnel, the practices, to policies, the structures, and the foundations. Bigoted views pervade all levels, but not necessarily actively. Much of it is simply a historical holdover. As you mention in another post, the word disability actually comes from the industrial revolution. I guess my point is that, it is important, integral even, to make sure when talking about ableism that we don’t confuse individual bigotry with a vast system of oppression. Intentionality is not maybe so important. Fixing the system is the heart of the matter. I think that you allude to this, but the way your posts frame ableism tends to focus almost entirely on the person who is an ableism, without talking about how we are all players in an ableist system. In other words, even a person who knows that people with disabilities are equal citizens with equal rights, is still part of an ableist system, especially if they aren’t at any point ACTIVELY denying that system. This person is not a bigot; but rather the byproduct of a bigotted system. Ableism is bigotry plus systemic power.
    I would love to know what you think of this.


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