Understanding and Challenging Ableism
Nearly one in five (19%) people in the United States are living with a disability. Disabilities can be physical or cognitive, visible or invisible, severe or minor. Ableism, which is bias or discrimination against people with disabilities, can take many forms, including: employment, housing and other institutional discrimination; lack of accessibility on streets, buildings and public transportation; stereotyping and ableist language, lack of media portrayals or stereotyped depictions of people with disabilities; bullying; low expectations, isolation and pity. While ableism is not often discussed when we talk about our identities and bias, it is important that students understand and reflect on examples of ableism in their own lives and in society because it contributes to a culture of intolerance and injustice.