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Some Quick Thoughts On The #AbledsAreWeird Hashtag, And Its Pushback On The Part Of Some People With Disabilities

These thoughts are in no particular order.

I agree that tarring an entire group with the same brush is not OK. I also understand the frustrations of everyone who’s been posting using the hashtag #AbledsAreWeird. I read stories every single day from blind people and other people with disabilities, (deaf people, people who are on the autism spectrum, ETC.), expressing frustration and anger at the way they have been treated and are still being treated by people who don’t appear to be disabled in any way, and I think jumping to condemn them for expressing that frustration which is something I see quite often, is also the wrong take. So far I’ve only seen one objector to the #AbledsAreWeird hashtag offer something that would communicate the same message without tarring an entire group with the same brush, and I think that’s telling.

I found out about the #AbledsareWeird hashtag due to the corresponding reactionary outrage on the part of those opposed, and I’m wondering at the irony of the outrage against the outrage.

Several of the people I’ve seen reacting with outrage/disgust/objection to the hashtag and accusing participants of bigotry against abled people are also more than willing to tar, say, undocumented immigrants with the same kind of brush, and I’m thinking that they should take their own advice when it comes to what is essentially tone policing of anyone participating in the AbledsAreWeird hashtag.

Alienating abled people is I think the least convincing of the arguments against the hashtag. By that logic, we shouldn’t fight for web or physical accessibility, because it might piss people off.

More broadly, I think there has to be a balance between offense/outrage and just letting live, but the people who bitch about everyone being offended all the time are just as trigger-happy and contribute to the whole thing. In other words, everybody’s offended all the time, even the people bitching about social justice warriors or whatever, but the grievances depend on who’s speaking. There is, after all, nothing new under the sun.


Comments

  • @arush I don’t have a problem with the hashtag, and I’m blind. I think everyone’s weird lol. I guess it’s because I do my best to not let myself get grabbed or pushed by the shoulders, etc. As for discussing web accessibility people do get mad about that at times. I’m one of them. It’s all relative and objective. For instance a sight that works perfectly, may not work well for a friend of mine. I’ve actually had this happen before. You can’t standardize something that’s based on someone’s experience. I’d say I can navigate and use about 98.9% of the web today. The major exception being sights that are still based on flash, which is of course dying.

  • @ladyhope You can indeed standardize web accessibility, (see: WCAG), but only to a point. Even the standards will tell you to test with actual users, because there are times when you need to deviate from the standard to create an experience that is useable and inclusive of everyone. However, you need to know when to deviate from the standards and more importantly you need to make sure that you’ve covered all the basics first. The standards are the minimum, not the ideal. Also, you are never going to achieve perfection, and there are times when you need to make a decision about functionality/visuals and how to best accommodate your entire audience.

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