A black wheelchair user with dreadlocks is strapped to the ground by heavy chains that fall from a stormy sky

Changelog: Ableism is what makes all other “isms” effective

We updated our Ableism glossary page with this distilled truth from Imani Barbarin.

Ableism is what makes all other “isms” effective…

White supremacy is the goal, ableism is the toolkit.

@ImaniBarbarin@disabled.social on Twitter

Ableism is a closed loop of a system.

.@ImaniBarbarin@disabled.social on Twitter

Our ableism glossary page opens with this definition from Talila A. Lewis.

able·ism /ˈābəˌlizəm/ noun

A system of assigning value to people’s bodies and minds based on societally constructed ideas of normalcy, productivity, desirability, intelligence, excellence, and fitness. These constructed ideas are deeply rooted in eugenics, anti-Blackness, misogyny, colonialism, imperialism, and capitalism.

This systemic oppression that leads to people and society determining people’s value based on their culture, age, language, appearance, religion, birth or living place, “health/wellness”, and/or their ability to satisfactorily re/produce, “excel” and “behave.”

You do not have to be disabled to experience ableism.

working definition by @TalilaLewis, updated January 2022, developed in community with disabled Black/negatively racialized folk, especially @NotThreeFifths. Read more: bit.ly/ableism2022

Working Definition of Ableism – January 2022 Update – TALILA A. LEWIS

The glossary page goes on to address the entwined nature of ableism and white supremacy.

The histories of white supremacy and ableism are, after all, inextricably entwined…

Skin, Tooth, and Bone: A Disability Justice Primer — Sins Invalid

So intertwined are these oppressions that any attempt to rid the nation of racism without doing away with ableism yields practically nothing. The same is true in reverse. Disabled communities attempting to rid the nation of ableism find themselves having made very little headway because they are still practicing racism.

Emmett Till & the Pervasive Erasure of Disability In Conversations about White Supremacy & Police Violence – TALILA A. LEWIS

In the work of eugenicists, we again observe ableism and white supremacy in the creation of a narrative about who deserves the right to be human and live a full life and the denial of full personhood to those deemed inferior due to language, ethnicity, and perceived ability. While we can study eugenics from a historical standpoint, the fact is that “these eugenic ideas about the value of certain bodies have never gone away” (Dolmage, 2018, p. 4).

Disrupting Dis/abilization: A Critical Exploration of Research Methods to Combat White Supremacy and Ableism in Education

We live in an age of mass behaviorism and unvarnished eugenics. Watch Imani’s videos above, and then check out our ableism page and our eugenics page for some historical context.





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