I've tried to keep up with blogging about violence against all sorts of people with disabilities, and even blogging about the many murders, especially the ones that are often considered to be "mercy killings" (those links are just a small sample.) But it seems they go on so often that I always find I've missed one.
And that I think is the thing that gets me the most about ableism, and what it means when people don't really realize how widespread it is. Or when people think it's just for people who are "oversensitive" about words like "lame" and "retard." Or when people, like the people I presented to just a short time ago on prenatal testing and disability rights, want to make sure I understand that people don't always do nasty things to us out of ableist prejudices -- as if I didn't know that.
The thing is not so much that I want people to do "examining" and to think about cultural norms as I want them to realize that any -ism worth the name is called an -ism because people get hurt. Because violence happens. Because violation of bodily integrity happens. Because humiliation happens. Because objectification happens, and by that I don't mean ogling or something theoretical, but things like organ harvesting from people before they're dead. Because people don't get jobs. Because people can't live safe lives -- and by that I mean just what I say. Not some sort of pie in the sky idea that we ought to have perfectly safe spaces, but the idea that there is no real safety when this kind of bigotry kills.
Because that's what safety is supposed to be: not places where everything's all hunky-dory, but places where you don't have to wonder if you count as a person. If people in the room are going to assume you're better off dead. Or write you off because they think you can't communicate. Or because you seem "crazy." Or find it funny to make you fall or hurt you because you can't fight back.
That is what safe means. That's the kind of thing a world with -isms isn't.