Educate Yourself

Excusing Bigoted Speech from Disabled People is Ableist

Myth: All disabled people are socialists.

Well, sort of.

While it would be unheard of for a disabled individual to be opposed to a universal healthcare system, our demographic certainly has our fair share of bigots, racists, and overall assholes. But while it’s incredibly frustrating for disabled activists when we’re constantly dismissed as not possessing the cognitive or physical capability to participate in political rhetoric, it is even more frustrating when disabled bigots or white supremacists are dismissed and excused as “not really meaning it” or “just being angry cause they’re disabled”. All of which is complete and utter bullshit. Just like disabled people can use their experiences to help other minorities or disadvantaged demographics, other disabled people can use their voice to degrade those same groups.

One of the most notable examples of a “disabled bigot” would be Katie Hopkins, a British, white supremacist and outspoken MAGA supporter who also has severe epilepsy. She has been all over twitter and the news, most notably for claiming that diversity entails a “white genocide”, making racist remarks about Megan Markle, and using racial slurs towards a black twitter user.

She is also infamous for this particular tweet where she reaches for the victim role after demonizing and bashing all sorts of minorities.

Although her rhetoric really pisses me off, what peeves me even more are the apologists who excuse her bigotry because she has a disability. Disabled or not, she’s just as much of an asshole. The notion that disagreeing with a disabled person is cruel, mean spirited, or ableist couldn’t be further from the truth. In fact, if you disagree with me, I want to know about it! A large portion of my opinions were developed before I was ever diagnosed with learning disabilities and a simple diagnosis hasn’t changed at all who I am as a person. After all, a diagnosis is just an answer to a slew of mysterious symptoms.

So next time you hear a person with disabilities saying something awful, speak up! Call them out! You can disagree with someone without dismissing them and I think that that is one of the most important distinctions able-bodied and neurotypical people need to recognize. My disability doesn’t necessarily need to be a talking point when we are discussing institutionalized racism or police violence. So while you shouldn’t dismiss my opinion because I’m disabled, you also shouldn’t enable bigotry because you’re uncomfortable confronting a disabled person. If you do find yourself uncomfortable, you should perhaps think deeper into what makes you feel that way. Discomfort often signals that you possess some sort of bias, even though you feel that you shouldn’t.

If you have any questions, feel free to comment down below or contact me through social media or my email beatbiaswithbekah@gmail.com. I love to hear from you all.

Until next time,

Bekah

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