Being disabled and living in an able-body centered world

Ableism manifests in a myriad of forms, ranging from the lack of access to transportation to the use of ableist language in daily conversations.

Ableism is the systemic oppression of disabled people, the actions and beliefs labeling them as inferior to other people and giving an impression that one's disability is an inconvenience to the "able" world. It manifests in a myriad of forms, ranging from the lack of access to transportation to the use of ableist language in daily conversations. Ableism has always been present in all aspects, including academia, entertainment, and even marriage. 

Frequently, ableist language crops up in the slang and literary devices used in everyday speech, like "turning a blind eye" or making false declarations like, "I'm so OCD!" for the sake of exaggerating one's tendency to stay organized. Due to how normalized ableist language has become, people do not usually utter such phrases maliciously. However, there are many alternatives to these words that are more precise and accurate representations of what people might be trying to describe instead of offensive comments to the disabled.

More often than not, the disabled tend to get their achievements and successes categorized into inspiration porn. "Inspiration porn" is a phrase that refers to the way disabled people are frequently used as objects of inspiration for abled people. It was coined by Stella Young, an Australian comedian, journalist, and disability rights activist. This attitude only serves to perpetuate the untruthful belief that "it is rare for the disabled to achieve." Moreover, it seems to solidify the notion that the disabled are "inferior" by viewing things as inspirational that would otherwise be considered ordinary if a non-disabled individual achieved the same outcome.

About 1 in 7 people are disabled globally. Yet, the majority of public places are not user-friendly for the disabled. From Braille signages to accessible facilities for wheelchairs and personal mobility devices, there has always been a lack in catering to the disabled and their needs. The disabled community is always segregated from society in "special" schools and "special" needs. While their matters are always masked under the category "special," it is clear that they are not given the acknowledgment. For instance, events are carried out in venues that have little to no access for the disabled.

Moreover, it is an uphill task for the disabled to find suitable accommodations and living spaces at affordable prices. Sign language is still not an option to learn at many "abled" schools and institutions despite the emphasis on bilingualism. According to the ableist world, this makes it clear that sign language is not a vital asset to be acquired.

Even for entertainment, the visually and auditorily impaired are left out when there are no alternative texts describing images or videos' captions. While the entertainment industry does not shy away from including characters with disabilities in their productions, such characters are usually played by non-disabled cast members. This heavily implies that the disabled are seen as "inferior" even when it comes to casting. How is it justifiable to discriminate against the disabled and replace them with a non-disabled person to mimic a disability?

Surrounded by little access to essentials they need to thrive, fundamental disabled-friendly aspects need to be implemented nationally. Increasing access to affordable wheelchairs, creating walking paths for the blind, and supporting the deaf in learning environments through translators are all examples of how to make an effort to aid disabled people. Education and awareness of disabilities and ways to be considerate and sensitive are needed to be allies to the disabled community. It is never too early to begin our efforts to break the foundation of ableism in our modern society.

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