Summaries of Articles
In a sensitive article that confronts ableism, Hehir (2007) talks about the factors that make life miserable for the disabled. According to the author, society has put on a pervasive negative attitude towards disability, which defines ableism. The key problem, he says, is that ableist assumptions hinder the progress of the differently challenged.
For instance, the society preaches that it is better to be able to read normally, than to Braille. That is preferable to walk or hear on one’s won, rather than to use a wheelchair or hearing aid respectively. It is this attitude that brings in a divide and causes the disabled to feel inferior. A physically or mentally challenged student is constantly reminded of his or her shortcomings throughout life, for which he or she is in no way responsible. Especially as students, the disabled are etched with the feeling that they need special care to look normal. How then can they excel in their academics, or feel satisfied with life?
More than improving facilities and measures to “upgrade” the lives of the disabled, the more important issue is to address the attitude of the society, according to Hehir. The author goes on to say that overcoming ablesit assumptions is the key to improving the status of the disabled.
And in order to achieve this, specifically in the context of eduction, Hehir suggests that educators must make special education decisions based on the following definition for special education: minimize the effect of disability on the one hand, and try to maximize the opportunities for disabled students in terms of school and community participation on the other.
In another journal article published in 2008, Campbell attempts to theorize how disabled people cope with ableism, especially, internalized ableism. The author has clearly distinguished his research from existing literature which predominantly deals with the practice and evaluation of disableism: his work focuses on the relation and contribution of critical race theory (CRT) towards disability.
The main aim of the paper is to clearly define the points of difference between how internalized racism/ableism are considered in the phases of subjectification and to identify points of convergence, which may benefit in the policies of various sites of scholarship. In conclusion, the author claims that a study focused on ableism rather than disability would yield different questions, perspective and a better understanding of the issue.
In yet another journal publication, results from examining five groups of women, which were very important in the development of the concept of feeblemindedness in the USA.
The main aim of the paper is to analyze the features of oppression and power in the following categories of women: institutional caregivers, mothers, reformists, researchers and “feebleminded” women. The main hypothesis is that a feminist approach in analysis is essential in the understanding of the history of mental disabilities and will help in serving as a guide for future feminist studies of disability. The discussion is very focused on women disabilities (Carlson, 2001).
Four Websites that Focus on this Issue
Below is a list of websites, dedicated to this cause, along with a brief outline of their motives.
1. Disability Visibility Project - http://disabilityvisibilityproject.com/tag/ableism/
The main aim of the Disability Visibility Project is to bring together diverse voices and opinions of people in the disabled community and to keep record of the same in the name of history, for the purpose of studies and research. It is staffed by a single individual and has the support of the community.
2. Disability Intersections - http://disabilityintersections.com/category/ableism/
This is an e-magazine whose main aim is to explore disability in news, society, justice movements, and culture and so on. The contributors to the magazine also discuss personal experiences and insights about the role of disability in their lives.
3. Autistic Hoya: Ableism/Language - http://www.autistichoya.com/p/ableist-words-and-terms-to-avoid.html
This is a website started and run by an autistic person, who helps other disabled to live with their heads high.
4. Disability Discrimination: Information & Legal Cases - http://www.disabled-world.com/disability/discrimination/
As the name suggests, this website is a data bank dealing with the legal issues associated with disability and details of cases of discrimination against disability and other ableism issues.
Six Articles on the Issue:
Hehir, Thomas. "Confronting Ableism." Educational Leadership 64.5 (2007): 8-14.
Campbell, Fiona A. Kumari. "Exploring internalized ableism using critical race theory." Disability & Society 23.2 (2008): 151-162.
Carlson, Licia. "Cognitive ableism and disability studies: Feminist reflections on the history of mental retardation." Hypatia 16.4 (2001): 124-146.