Opinion, Uncategorized

On Ableism and Things We Need to Stop Saying to People with Disability

Discrimination is still a problem that we face in modern society. And while we’re already familiar with racism, sexism, and religion discrimination, disabled people also have to face discrimination. Ableism is a form of dicrimination against disabled people, including the expression of hate for disabled people, and making the non-disabled people feeling superior to the disabled. It might not be much discussed like other kind of discriminations, but it doesn’t mean that it’s not happening out there. Some people, included me, sometimes don’t even realize that they’re being ableist because it’s been happening in our society for too long to the point where it’s considered normal. Do you remember how many times you’ve used the word “retarded” to call your friends who don’t have developmental disability, or use the word “deaf” to call your friends who don’t really have hearing problem? Well, that’s just one example.

When I was a kid, I was used to hearing some people, mostly kids in my surrounding using offensive words to mock my sister. They literally called her “hey, deaf” in a derogatory terms without a second thought, without even realizing how offensive it is. Maybe they’re too little to even understand it. Maybe their parents never taught them about that. Maybe they didn’t mean to hurt my sister (even though I doubt that). Maybe our society tends to normalize the action. Hey they’re just kids, don’t be too sensitive, don’t take their words to your heart, bla bla bla.

Processed with VSCO with hb1 preset

And now that I’m an adult, I thought I’d never have to deal with people who say offensive things to me about my sister. I don’t mind to share about my sister’s condition, especially to those who are close to me or going to be a part of my life, well you know what I mean. But there was one question that I found quite offensive coming from him when he asked me whether my sister’s disability was inherited by my family or not. He’s scared that our baby will have the same disability because it would be such an embarrassement for his parents. Wow that’s a pretty acid remarks. I honestly will never, ever, ever tolerate that kind of thinking. It’s okay if you don’t want to have disabled kids, but you should know that we can’t choose how our kids condition is gonna be like. Considering that having a disabled kids as such an embarrassent is actually an embarrassment itself. I can’t stand ableist. And once again, I CANNOT tolerate that.

Ableism is not always about using offensive words, it’s also about questioning why or how someone became disabled, as though you’re entitled to know what happened to them. It’s pretty much their own personal business and it’s completely up to them to share it or not. Well, it’s human nature to be curious about something that appears to be different than you, but it’s never okay to constantly ask them about that. Some people might like to share it with others, that’s okay. Some other might not feel comfortable to tell you what happened to them because it reminds them of traumatic events, and that’s okay too. 

My family choose to share what happened to my sister in the hope that it can give insight to others about what happened to her. My sister is deaf since she was a baby due to severe influenza that she had when she was only 2 days old. Apparently, it affected the nerves that facilitate hearing. Who would have thought that influenza can lead to a hearing loss? That’s why my family always like to share about our experience, just so people know that it’s not always about genetic, it can be due to illness, or traumatic events, and other factors.

Deaf is one of invisible disabilities. You won’t notice it unless there’s a communication between you two. My sister knows a lot of words and she can understand what she reads. She can read the menu and order her food so you don’t always have to explain what’s written unless she asks you. This is actually something that I learnt from her. There was time when I explained her something and she said “I know!” angrily. I used to assume that she didn’t know any complicated words. I assumed that she didn’t know about nowadays issue that’s happening in this country. Assuming that she isn’t capable of doing something by herself is just so wrong. And assuming that she’s amazing for being able to do something because she is a disabled person is considered as ableism too. “wow I can’t believe you can participate in a running competition, I mean you’re deaf, how would you know when to run?”. Ugh, seriously?

Processed with VSCO with hb1 preset

Just like other parents who are proud with all the achievements of their children, I’m also proud to see how my sister now has grown into an active girl who loves dancing, sewing, and participating in running competition. My dad and I watched her performing dance for International Day of People with Disability last December on Prambanan Temple. We also supported her on running competition last week. After all, I want people to focus to see her –and any other disabled people– as a person rather than someone with a disability.

Processed with VSCO with hb1 preset

Advertisements
Standard

97 thoughts on “On Ableism and Things We Need to Stop Saying to People with Disability

  1. I just read your post and it is so true…we often doesn’t notice when we offend people with any kind of differences, I guess bcz in that moment we believe we r superior and nothing will ever happen to us…
    And the world 🌎 is lacking compassion and kindness – well known. Not sure how to fix it, probably should start with the kids..
    But if parents r evils what they’ll teach those kids – is a big question…

    Liked by 7 people

    • Thank you for reading my post 🙂 ahhh, yes i do agree with you. 👍
      Even sometimes people with good intention can make others people hurt too with what they say, let alone deliberately saying hurtful things to them. Maybe it should be started from ourselves so later we can teach our kids and be good example for them.

      Like

  2. Thanks for sharing about your sister. A big part of the problem in today’s society is the simple fact that people with disabilities weren’t talked about openly in the past. It was as if they were brushed under the rug and forgotten. Therefore our society is not educated enough to know any different. It is going to take people like you sharing their stories and openly talking about it to get people to accept them and even understand why they are the way they are. I work with special needs adults for a living. Part of my job consists of bringing them out into the community to learn daily life skills but to also help educate the community as well in hopes that they will be seen for the person they are and not by their disability. Its amazing how many people look down on them its really sad.

    Liked by 9 people

    • Hey. Thank you so much for reading my post and sharing your thoughts regarding to this issue. I agreed with all your points! ☺
      I hope there’s more people like you as well because from what i see in where i live, theres not so much people who’s willing to have the job that you have, bcs some people sometimes also look down on people who choose to work helping the disabled people, as if it’s not enough to just belittle the disabled. Ughhhh.

      Like

  3. This is a blog after my own heart. I am an Independent Provider for developmentally disabled adults. In fact I just left the Olive Garden where there were 14 of us, 5 staff the rest disabled. I was not working but there just to enjoy everyone’s company. I meet with them because one of the adult women use to be my client. She has cerebral palsy. I currently have an autistic woman and mild MR woman which makes me mad also that they still call it that! So kudos to you and your sister for helping to change this ignorant world about people with disabilities!

    Liked by 6 people

    • Hey, thank you so much for reading my post and for sharing your experience. Sharing my story is one of the things that I can do for now. Not every disabled people go through unpleasant situation, and I just try to speak for those who happened to experience unpleasant situation. I hope in the near future our society will change and disabled people wont be viewed less than the person that they are, and there’ll be less ableist.

      Liked by 2 people

  4. I lost the majority of my sight as the result of a blood clot on the brain when I was approximately 18-months-old. I don’t mind sharing that with you and your readers. I do, however agree with you that its rude when total strangers just wander up to a person who is disabled and ask them how their disability occured. I find it patronising when people say words to the effect of “is your partner blind” implying that merely because I’m visually impaired that I should be in a relationship with someone with the same disability. We are all individuals (whether disabled or non-disabled) and my disability does not define who I am. In point of fact all of my partners have been non-disabled (with the exception of my first girlfriend who was visually impaired). Its a highly personal matter who one dates and people should not make assumptions. Thanks for your great post, Kevin

    Liked by 5 people

    • Hey, thank you so much for sharing your experience. Ahhhh yesss, i forgot to mention how people also like to ask whether our partner have the same disability or not, and when we tell them that our partner is not disabled, they’ll be like “wow how could” which is really rude.
      Btw, thank you for reading my post 😊

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Reblogged this on raynotbradbury and commented:
    Someone said, that “discrimination…starts when we look for the first time in mirror”. Are we that bad?
    We scream we are choosing – freedom, love, compassion, care, but what we practice on a daily basis is the most important…
    Let’s change one person at a time 🙂 Now go and look in the mirror!

    Liked by 2 people

  6. I’m so proud of your sister and your family. But I’m going to admit that I really w always know what to say when interacting with a disabled person i always felt like I was running on eggs! But after making friends with a disabled girl,who is an amazing friend btw, I saw that there was really no need to treat her differently from other people. Amazing write up👍🏽

    Liked by 4 people

  7. some day, we pray, we won’t need special words for race or gender or special needs because in our diverse communities a need for such words won’t exist. For example, my work environment includes individuals of every conceivable skin color and nobody notices that personal attribute anymore.
    cheers.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Hello, thank you so much for reading –or if not, visiting– my blog. First of all, I’m so sorry that you find it hard to understand what I wrote here so instead of asking me politely to write in Bahasa Indonesia, you chose to say something hurtful to me. FYI, I normally spend around 3-4 hours just to produce one post like this, so it’s quite disappointing that there are people like you who cannot appreciate the content and choose to make an acid remarks on the languange that I use. I always try to use the words that can be understood easily by my readers, because my vocab is still limited and i’m afraid that my point isn’t delivered correctly to the readers. However, I’m still learning everyday to improve my English, and one of the things that I can do for now is by writing in English. And also, most of my readers/followers come from another coutry (US, UK, Canada, Australia, etc) so it’d be better if I write my blog in English. I’m sure most Indonesian now have mastered English quite well. If you’re not one of them, there’s this technology called Google Translator. Well, terima kasih atas komennya, lain kali saya akan mencoba menulis menggunakan bahasa Indonesia.
      I’m looking forward to reading your very first post on your blog. I hope you enjoy the rest of your weekend. 😊

      Liked by 3 people

      • Mbak nadya. Sabar mbak. When we do good thing, other people sometimes can’t received that. Whatever other people say, if good for us, do it and leave the unused comment. If the comments are good for improvement, hear it, and doing some improvements. Dont be sad, your purpose is OK and good enough. I’m from east java, foot of semeru mountain. Salam hangat.

        Liked by 4 people

      • Halo Mas Hafidh. Terima kasih sudah mampir ke blog saya.
        Hehe iyaya mas, kayaknya apapun yg kita lakuin sekalipun niatnya baik, tidak menutup kemungkinan adanya pihak2 yg ga setuju & nyinyirin. Yang ngirim komen nggak ngasih constructive criticism sih jd saya agak salty sebenernya biarpun mencoba balas sesopan mgkn .
        Salam kenal ya, Mas.

        Liked by 1 person

      • With pleasure, saya senang mampir disini. Tulisannya segar, sosial, dan mengajak peka. Sekalian belajar english. Saya mau go internasional-kan juga ah blog saya. Asyik punya temen lintas benua begitu.

        Liked by 2 people

  8. The smiles on your faces are so uplifting. Love is love, and it should never be judgmental or grudging. I think your sister will help you find a better spouse than you might have found without her. She is a wonderful asset to your family, reflecting back all that love. You’re both very lucky.

    Liked by 3 people

    • i’m glad you did the right thing by asking him to stop saying that. the problem is, sometimes we don’t realize how effensive one word could mean for someone/certain group and yet we keep using it. It’s sad that one’s ignorance can make other people hurt.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. This was absolutely amazing and so incredibly true! Thank you so much for sharing this!! I wish people would just be kind to others no matter what they look like or what they are dealing with. I think the problem is, people are ignorant and just do not know any better. I am really looking forward to reading more of your posts!!!
    I also wanted to thank you for liking my post “Open Minded Thoughts”, I really appreciate your support! I hope you will like more of my posts as well. Sending y’all love and comfort!!!

    Liked by 3 people

    • Hey Alyssa, thanks a lot! I’m so glad if you like my post. Yes that’s right, and I also wish that non-disabled people would stop thinking that having sister/fams with disability is such a burden and an embarrassing thing for the family bcs thats just plain wrong. Don’t mention it. And I’ve already followed you so i won’t miss out on your next post!
      Sending u love, comfort and warmth as well ♡♡

      Liked by 2 people

      • I could not agree more with you!! People need to stop thinking family, who they love are a burden or an embarrassment and just be supportive!
        I thought you were already following and I really hope you enjoy my next post. I am going to try to do it tonight because I want to announce to those that do not know March is MS Awareness month.
        I hope you have a great day! Sending you lots of love and comfort as well!!!

        Liked by 1 person

      • Oh my goodness I thought you were already following as well. I really hope you do find my posts beneficial. I always try to find the positive in all situations, no matter how bad things might get. I thank you for your kind comments and also your follow!!! I hope you have a great day!!!

        Liked by 1 person

      • I’m so glad that you always strive to find the positive in all situation, even in an unpleasant one. That’s pretty much one of the traits that I always love from a person 🙂 thanks a lot for ur kind comments as well. I hope u enjoy ur day too ☕♡

        Like

  10. White Privilege Syllabus says:

    Hello! This is such an important message. I’m a special educator and I’ve always been shocked when people react with sympathy when I tell them about my kids. What I mean when I say that is that people, “that’s so adorable” or “those poor kids,” and other infantilizing remarks. It hurts me because my kids are independent and passionate, deserving of respect, not minimizing sympathy.
    Our society needs to talk about ableism more – so thank you!

    Liked by 3 people

    • Hello! Yesss i couldn’t agree more with you, as I also experienced it a few times in my life, especially when my sister was still a little kid. Nobody needs that kind of sympathy.
      Thank u for sharing ur experience ☺

      Liked by 1 person

  11. This is such a reminder and important message to all, to keep remember that no one is perfect. Btw Scrolling around ur posts makes me really want to know u closer hehhe. You are inspiring me, just now. Thank you for sharing this😊

    Liked by 3 people

    • Thank you so much! I’m so glad that some people here are so positive and always see it as a reminder to strive to be nice to others. Aaaih kok aku terharu bacanya. Just follow my IG/twitter if you wanna know me closer. I don’t bite 😉
      By the way i read ur post about kuliah and I like it. I can feel the emotion that you try to show to ur readers. And apparently you’re younger than my sister 😂

      Liked by 1 person

  12. Pingback: “On ableism and things we need to stop saying to people with disabilities” | Waking Up at 3 a.m | COMRADE BOYCIE: VIVA THE ANTI-tORY / BIG BROTHER REVOLUTION!

    • Ugghhh people. The sad thing is that kind of behaviour already rooted so deeply in our society, passed on from one generation to another. Seems like a pretty big thing we all should be working on.

      Send u & ur brother warmth & love ❤

      Like

  13. It’s around 3am so I figured I should comment. Not so sure about the utility of the term ableism, but as someone with an “invisible” mental illness, I can say it’s interesting how people react when they find out. Usually, they don’t believe me, but I have my papers. When I encounter this, or people misusing the term “bipolar” my reaction is compassion on a good day, and apathy on a bad one.

    I’ve accepted that no one is going to change for me, so it’s up to me to adjust. But, I’m still bipolar. I will interact with the world how I please first, and follow expectations second. To fit into society is important, and so is individuality.

    Like

  14. i cant english, but i know how to read it. so i speak indonesian language. menurutku terkadang diskriminasi terjadi bukan karna kita ingin, tapi karna ketika seseorang menjudge sesuatu, maka orang lain akan ikut menjudge dengan pikiran yang sama tanpa tau yang dia lakukan itu benar atau salah, its true for me. i proud about your heart for stay with your sister.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Iya pake bahasa indonesia aja gapapa, aku juga orang Indonesia kok ;–)
      Hooo jadi semacam kebawa pemikirian si orang yang ngejudge gitu ya? Hmm tp emg iyasih, kadang kita harus hati2 dlm beropini, takutnya ada org lain yg tergiring opini kita trs jd ikut berpikiran/ngejudge yg sama jg pdhl yg kita nilai blm tentu bener.
      Aww terima kasih!
      Salam kenal ya mba. Makasih uda baca postingan saya.

      Liked by 2 people

  15. I have invisible disability and I know how even a single word is enough to upset the whole day begin the questions and selfdobuts of am I not good enough.words are so strong every one need s to realise it’s power before uttering it.

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

w

Connecting to %s