Kit Mead: Ableism On the Left

Kit Mead wrote a new post late last week on ableism on the Left. 

The Left isn’t especially prone to ableism; rather, ableism is a society-wide phenomenon still in its early days of being discussed, understood, and countered through speech, action, and policy. We’re still having to prove ableism exists, that (in the words of Lydia Brown), it’s not just bad words, but a hierarchal framework that leads directly to violence and other forms of marginalization.

Mead writes, in the aftermath of Salman Rushdie tweeting about Trump being insane and being dismissive of disabled individuals who questioned his word choice.

I am a mentally ill, twice-institutionalized in a psych ward person. I read your posts. I read your comments. Many of us do. We all notice. We notice how much you want to blame mental illness for bigotry and believe it’s because people are sick in the head that people could say and do such things. For distance – it’s easier to not acknowledge society’s shortcomings when you can point fingers at mental illness. We notice how much you are willing to throw us under the bus to try and defeat Trump. Defeating Trump is a good cause. Using ableism to do it is unnecessary and increases stigma. It hurts people, including me. We know what you think.

Language has power. The power of ableism can be leveraged to wound Trump, but not without consequences for the broader disability community. I believe we can do better.

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