“Fuck Off, You’re a Scrounger” – Disability Hate

There’s an argument that “no one really hates disabled people,” and that all acts of violence against them are really about something else (racism, classism, sexism, accident, etc.). But that’s not how intersectionality works. It’s not that we identify one form of bigotry at play and let the others off the hook. Instead, we examine how they intersect and magnify each other, leaving marginalized people in danger and multiply marginalized people exceptionally so.

So it’s important to not simply accept the argument that violence against disabled people is always about something else. The core essay on this regard is from Lydia Brown, “Ableism is not bad words, it’s violence.”

They hate us, and we already know it. They aim for us. They mean to kill. They mean to harm. They know what they are doing, and we know it too. There can be no innocence, not for us. Ableism is not some arbitrary list of “bad words,” as much as language is a tool of oppression. Ableism is violence, and it kills.

Here’s two stories to illustrate the hatred:

First, from the UK, where the Tory government has been perpetuating anti-disability rhetoric for years now, we get this story:

Paula Peters, 45, from Bromley, said she was hit with the abuse after she approached a man and a woman in seats marked for wheelchair users.
She said the pair mocked her when she told them she needed to sit down as she suffered from “chronic pain” before a woman told her “f*** off, you’re a scrounger”.
Ms Peters added her disability was also questioned even though she uses a walker to aid her balance and that no passengers intervened in the row on her behalf.

Second, from the US, police raided an unauthorized marijuana dispensary run by an amputee. Recent tapes (via Copblock), reveal this dialogue from the officers:

Footage of the raid, released by the Sky High Holistic who installed cameras after similar raids in the area, shows officers busting down the door and screaming, “Get down on the fucking ground!”
Customers begin lying down before officers are seen boxing up evidence and escorting them out the door. One officer can be heard asking another, “Did you punch that one-legged old benita?”
“I was about to kick her in her fucking nub,” a female officer responds, in reference to Marla James, a local marijuana activist and wheelchair bound amputee who was present during the raid.

Just two encounters where the hatred spills out, not leading to violence in these cases thankfully.

People do hate disabled people. Ableism is not, as Brown says, just a list of bad words.

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