Ableism

Ableism (əm/; also known as ablism,[1] disablism (Brit. English), anapirophobia, anapirism, and disability discrimination) is discrimination and social prejudice against people with disabilities or who are perceived to have disabilities. Ableism characterizes persons as defined by their disabilities and as inferior to the non-disabled.[2] On this basis, people are assigned or denied certain perceived abilities, skills, or character orientations.

There are stereotypes, generally inaccurate, associated with either disability in general, or with specific disabilities (for instance a presumption that all disabled people want to be cured, that wheelchair users necessarily have an intellectual disability, or that blind people have some special form of insight) [3]. These stereotypes in turn serve as a justification for ableist practices and reinforce discriminatory attitudes and behaviors toward people who are disabled.[4] Labeling affects people when it limits their options for action or changes their identity.[5]

In ableist societies, people with disabilities are viewed as less valuable, or even less than human. The eugenics movement of the early 20th century would be considered an example of widespread ableism. The mass murder of disabled people in Nazi Germany's Aktion T4 would be an extreme example of ableism.

Ableism can also be better understood by reading literature published by those who experience disability and ableism first-hand. Disability Studies is an academic discipline that is also beneficial to explore to gain a better understanding of ableism.

Etymology

Originated from -able (in disable, disabled) and -ism; first known use in 1985–1990.[6][7]