Ableism is nothing new, but in a COVID world it’s deadlier, crueler, and more dehumanizing.
#PandemicAbleism is ableism amplified. It’s going from a whisper to a scream. It’s staring you straight in the face as it minimizes your existence, where before it pretended not to see you. It’s taking the disabled community from an afterthought to a target of scorn and aggression and dismissal.
Two years into a global pandemic and disabled people are exhausted. Fighting for healthcare, for access to daily life – these are pre-COVID realities for disabled people. In a COVID world, it’s all of that plus being the Oracles, the Cassandras. Seeing, but unheard. Watching a slow moving disaster and ringing alarms. Yelling at the tv screen, Go back! Turn around! While the character walks into danger. It’s desperately trying to save abled people from experiencing our reality. Trying to warn and protect the very people who scorn us or discard us.
The exhaustion of caring about a society that considers us disposable is a cruel existence, but we do it anyways.
Amid the eye rolling when we warn, amid the silencing when we speak out, amid being talked over and erased, we still fight. We fight to exist, to live, to be heard, and to protect others.
#EverydayAbleism is the norm for us.
#PandemicAbleism is taking microaggressions and weaponizing them.
Going into a salon and being disregarded when you ask them to mask is #PandemicAbleism.
Saying you’re “done with the pandemic” is #PandemicAbleism.
Insisting that vulnerable people can just “stay home” is #PandemicAbleism.
Ignoring the reality of Long COVID is #PandemicAbleism.
Being denied access to vital healthcare because communities let COVID run wild is #PandemicAbleism.
Saying that separating masked and unmasked children in a classroom is “discrimination” is not only a misuse of the word discrimination and it’s tragic historical context, it’s also #PandemicAbleism.
Equating masking to oppression is, among other things, #PandemicAbleism.