I heard a disability slur the other day that I’d never run across before. It was in a social justice context (surprise surprise), and one commenter said to another: “If you really believe that, you probably shouldn’t go out without a carer.”
Ah, yes. It’s the ultimate insult: Being disabled and needing a caregiver. Wow. Is that the hierarchy in which most people live? Yes. Could the hatred be any clearer? I don’t think so. That kind of thinking speaks volumes about how even the most enlightened radical folk see disabled people — which makes such radical folk not radical at all, but really quite mainstream.
I am always pushing back against this kind of talk. I am always asking for people to stop using disability slurs. But on days like today, I wonder whether I shouldn’t just be quiet and let people have at it. At least, that way, the degree to which they despise us would be out in the open.
Perhaps I should just collect all of these instances and publish them. That way, no one can say, “Oh, no, no, no, no. Don’t be ridiculous. There is no such thing as disability hatred.”
© 2013 by Rachel Cohen-Rottenberg