Fighting My Internalized Ableism

My internalized ableism and I are doing battle and I’m going to win because I’m heckin’ stubborn.

Internalized oppression is not the cause of our mistreatment; it is the result of our mistreatment. It would not exist without the real external oppression that forms the social climate in which we exist. Once oppression has been internalized, little force is needed to keep us submissive. We harbour inside ourselves the pain and the memories, the fears and the confusions, the negative self-images and the low expectations, turning them into weapons with which to re-injure ourselves, every day of our lives” (Marks, 1999).

What is Ableism?

Bogart & Dunn (2019) defined ableism as “stereotyping, prejudice, discrimination, and social oppression toward people with disabilities”.

Ableism is the discrimination against, and oppression of, disabled people based on a societal belief that being abled is “normal” and is preferred. In the neurodiverse community, this would be the assumption that being neurotypical is inherently better than being neurodiverse.

It’s not.

Internalizing this faulty belief happens because we are taught, and socialized with, this ideology for so long that we start to believe it ourselves. I’ve come to realize that internalized ableism is keeping me from being my authentic self.

I don’t mean that in the buzzword of the week, “living my truth” toxic positivity sense. I mean I am still hiding parts of myself, masking what I think needs to be hidden so that I will be accepted and taken seriously as an intellectual, as a professional, and as a person.

Read my article in Invisible Illness.

Published by Neurodiversity MB

Jillian has Child and Youth Work diploma as well as a BA in Psychology. Jillian worked on the front lines of Social Services agencies from 2003 - 2012. Jillian has taken numerous continuing education courses and has attended various workshops focused on supporting neurodiverse children, in particular children with ADHD.

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