Instead of “Making Ableists Uncomfortable”…

…let’s do something productive!

(Note: This post gets a tiny bit R-rated at the very end. Consider yourself warned.)

Yes, agreed! Mental illness is not pretty. And as a general rule, the less pretty it is, the more people struggle to acknowledge and destigmatize it. So to summarize, the problem is that people are uncomfortable with the reality of mental illness. How does making them more uncomfortable solve anything?
Sweet picture, lovely message. Minus the hashtag, I’m totally on board with this.
Depends on how you define “expert.” I’m not an autism expert. I’m autistic, so I have 20 (!) years of experience in being autistic. If you’d like my perspective on the soul-crushing impact of loud noises, I’d be happy to share. However, autism is a spectrum, I’m just one person, my experiences are not representative of everyone’s, and I hardly know a thing about the biology and psychology of autism.

Similarly, my parents have been parenting me for 20 years, and I’m sure they could give great advice to other parents of (high-functioning) autistics. In comparison to parents of autistic people who have higher support needs, they might not be “as expert,” in that they haven’t had to advocate for me to the same degree.

So that’s my not-particularly-hot take on what makes someone an “autism expert.” I have no idea how deliberately evoking discomfort in others figures into any of this.

I love this meme. It’s really funny! But what if, instead of using it to make people uncomfortable, we use it to make them more comfortable with laughing at absurd/harmful/genuinely ableist anti-vaxxer nonsense?

Super important point. So many disabled individuals are seen as disposable, and people are not nearly as outraged about this as they should be. But again, this hashtag is just going to antagonize people who might have gotten on board with this idea otherwise. Instead of deliberately causing discomfort, let’s talk about what we’re implying when we say stuff like, “Don’t worry, this just affects people with preexisting conditions.” Let’s raise awareness about what it’s like to live with an invisible illness. Let’s wear our damn masks. Let’s bring people together and rally around this goal instead of driving them apart.

This one seems very easy to disprove. I’ve never met someone with Treacher Collins syndrome. As this syndrome is characterized by distinct facial differences, I don’t think it’s something that someone wouldn’t “feel safe enough around [me] to disclose.” Not everyone has the luxury (privilege?) of being able to hide their disability.
I’m so confused. I guess this was in response to another tweet about how “just cuz [sic] I don’t LOOK like I’m a 9/10 on the pain scale, it doesn’t mean that I’m not.” Then the nurse wrote the above tweet, thus infuriating @AutiLeven. I don’t really understand why people get into these arguments on Twitter–it seems thoroughly unproductive. But to my untrained eye, it looks like both sides have a point. Pain is super difficult to quantify. Chronic pain can be particularly challenging to pin down on those numeric scales. However, it sounds like the nurse is pointing out that debilitating pain is objectively worse than non-debilitating pain, at least in medical contexts. Is that really so offensive?

People misunderstand service dogs a lot. A service dog is not a pet with a fancy vest. It’s a highly trained creature providing essential support that enables disabled people to function to the best of their abilities. I choose to operate under the assumption that most people have good intentions. If they interact inappropriately with a service dog (distracting the dog, insisting on petting them, ignoring the handler’s requests), it’s probably because they don’t know any better or they don’t really understand the impact of their actions. So let’s educate people. And call me crazy, but I think people are more open to being educated when they’re not accused of bigotry.

Well, this definitely makes me uncomfortable…



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