Below is a series of tweets I made responding to the many people on Twitter engaging in ableism after Joe Biden’s fall.
I have only edited the tweets for the web format. Each tweet is the start of a new paragraph.
As a blind person, I do not hav a mobility disability. I have no more trouble going up or down stairs than anyone else who does not have a mobility disability. I hate Biden, but the constant harping on his fall and the repeated suggestion it indicates inability pissed me off!
For much of his presidency, FDR couldn’t climb any stairs. The last time I checked, he was president for a while and did some stuff. But FDR largely hid his disability from the public. He believed if the public knew the truth, he would not be elected.
77 years after FDR’s last election, the rampant, hateful ableism displayed by some and enjoyed by many reenforces the idea that many do not consider us equal and question our competence based on superficial things that rarely indicate competence.
Obviously racist and/or sexist tweets would be rightly criticized, especially on the left. Obviously ableist tweets are retweeted and laughed about, even on the left. Almost no nondisabled people act as allies and point out the ableism.
Many with disabilities stay silent because they don’t feel safe and/or they have come to expect judgment. People with disabilities regularly discuss when to tell an employer about a disability or if it should be in a dating profile.
Societal ableism is so pervasive that many with disabilities believe they must hide part of themselves from you for a chance at acceptance. Some of us can’t or won’t hide.
I don’t try to hide my disability. I wish I could say that was always true. That would be false. Now, that I love and respect myself enough not to hide, I know many of you do not consider me your equal. You are afraid of being like me. You think being with me as uncomfortible.
Sometimes, I want to quit my job. I fantasize about not having to advocate for accommodations and inclusion all the time. I long to not have to ask about accessibility or explain how I do things. Sometimes, I want to hide from the too inaccessible world.
I won’t quit. Nor do I wish for sight. Everything I have faced has contributed to the work in progress that is me. The discrimination and pain I face is why I care about the injustice and discrimination others face.
I have no trouble with stairs. But when I walk with my cane, I can’t keep a straight line. My inability to walk straight didn’t keep me from passing a bar exam. It has resulted in people laughing at me, trying to trip me, and putting objects in my path.
When you laugh at and question Biden’s competence for something unrelated to his ability to work, you cut all of us who know that on some level you question our competence too.