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Ableism is a neologism of United States coinage used to describe effective discrimination against people with disabilities in favor of people who are not disabled. An ableist society is said to be one that treats non-disabled individuals as the standard of ‘normal living’, which results in public and private places and services, education, and social work that are built to serve 'standard' people, thereby inherently excluding those with various disabilities. By contrast with the US, United Kingdom usage favours 'Disablism' to describe the same processes. Other English-speaking nations may use either term or both.

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Disablism

As noted above, 'disablism' rather than 'ableism' is the term favoured in the United Kingdom, this usage flows out of a perspective driven by the Social model of disability which regards 'disability' as the discrimination experienced by a person as a response to their impairment, making 'disablist' or 'disablism' the logical terms to describe discrimination on the grounds of disability. It is also discrimination of people who are disabled.

Discrimination

The presumption that everyone is non-disabled is said to encourage environments that are inaccessible to disabled people. It is a system by which mainstream society denigrates, devalues, and thus oppresses those with disabilities, while privileging those without disabilities, according to those who describe ableist circumstances.

In extreme cases, morality, worth and intelligence may even be equated to being able-bodied or able-minded, while disability is conflated with immorality, stupidity, and worthlessness, and disabled lives may be devalued to the point that many in the society believe that one is better off dead than living with disability.[citation needed] The eugenics movement of the 19th and 20th centuries, which took its most extreme form in Nazi Germany with Action T4, was a product of this belief, and some believe the ‘right to die’ movement is also an outgrowth of ableist beliefs[1] .

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Laws against discrimination

In the U.S., Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA) enacted into law certain civil penalties for failing to make a public places comply with access codes known as the ADA Access Guidelines (ADAAG); this law also helped expand the use of certain adaptive devices, such as TTYs (phone systems for the deaf/speech impaired), some computer-related hardware and software, and ramps or lifts on public transportation buses and private automobiles.

In the UK, meanwhile, the 1995 Disability Discrimination Act and Disability Discrimination Act 2005 attempt the same.

Inclusion

Inclusion, comparatively, means that all products, services, and societal opportunities and resources are fully accessible, welcoming, functional and usable for as many different types of abilities as reasonably possible. An ableist society tends towards isolation, pity, paternalism and low self-esteem among people with disabilities, whereas an inclusive society tends toward sociability and interdependency between the able-bodied and disabled.

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References

External links


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