Ableism is the Bane of My Motherfuckin’ Existence

Exploring disability justice framework, Patty Berne and Stacey Milbern discuss the need for a politicized understanding of ableism within a context of racism, classism, colonialism, and heteropatriarchy. Berne and Milbern describe the ways that ableism functions as a dehumanizing system that favors able-bodied people at the expense of people with disabilities, producing barriers from internalized ableism and shame, to interpersonal conflicts between non-disabled people and people with disabilities, lack of access to education, employment, and housing, social control imposed through the medical industrial complex and criminalization, and the severe isolation caused by institutionalization and incarceration.

This video is part of the series No Body is Disposable, produced by Sins Invalid and the Barnard Center for Research on Women. Video by Dean Spade and Hope Dector. Learn more about the series at http://bit.ly/nobodyisdisposable.

For more on the intersections between ableism, white supremacy, colonialism, capitalism, and heteropatriarchy, and disability justice tools and tactics that center disabled people of color and queer, trans, and gender non-conforming disabled people, visit http://sinsinvalid.org or download the Sins Invalid’s “Skin, Tooth, and Bone: A Disability Justice Primer” at http://bit.ly/djprimer.

More about “No Body Is Disposable: A Disability Justice Video Series”

Ableism tells us some bodies are valuable and some are disposable.

In the U.S. context, ableism has been forged with and through white supremacy, colonial conquest, capitalist domination, and heteropatriarchy so that bodies are valued for their ability to produce profit or have it extracted from them, or are otherwise excluded or eliminated through isolation, institutionalization, incarceration, and/or death. Since the 1960s, the disability rights movement has made important strides to establish the civil rights of people with disabilities, increase access for people with mobility and communication impairments, and advance a philosophy of independent living for people with disabilities. However, the wisdom and experiences of people of color and poor people have often been marginalized in the disability rights struggle, and the solutions have often been too narrow to get to the root causes of ableism that keep people with disabilities targeted for criminalization, poverty and isolation.

The text above is amended from “Disability Justice – A Working Draft,” by Patty Berne in Sins Invalid’s “Skin, Tooth, and Bone: A Disability Justice Primer.” You can download this critical resource at bit.ly/djprimer.

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