Ableism is discrimination, prejudice, or stereotyping on the basis of perceived or actual physical and/or intellectual abilities. Ableism also includes the concept of neurodiversity. It is the customs and inclinations in society that devalue and limit the potential of persons with different abilities on the belief that typical abilities are superior.
In this video, Jesse Sparkman talks about his struggle as a person with a disability as a child and how that taught him how to love himself. He talks about how he thought it was his fault that his parents fought when he was young, and how he then found comfort in music. He shows people his ability, what he can do, and what he has done, despite what others thought.
“I can, I did, I won.” – Jesse Sparkman
Let us ask you this:
- What are your typical initial/first thoughts when you see someone who has a visible disability (mobility device, hearing assistance, vision assistance)? Do these first thoughts align with what you believe to be true about all people with visible differences?
- Have you encountered discrimination/marginalization due to a different ability of your own?
This is a reminder that every moment is an opportunity to continue learning and reflecting and that there is always room for growth in ourselves and in our communities.