Allow me to confess that I am an ableist.

I recently stumbled upon The Washington Post’s “Are You Ableist” quiz and decided to test my white, male, able-bodied Christian self against it.

I failed.

Despite the fact that I got a majority of the questions right, the newspaper informed me that I have a disability bias, informed by my ableist “thinking” and “values,” and probably need to consult “disability justice activists or disability studies scholars.” The fact that I had never even heard of “disability justice” is, I am sure, yet more proof of this. 

Of course, the expected response to such an indictment is groveling, repenting in sackcloth and ashes. I am supposed to take to social media with an immoderate, whimpering apology: “I was wrong. I have heard first-hand from the disabled community and now I know how hurtful my ableist ways were.” Then, I would signal my solidarity with the disabled community. And probably donate an obscene amount of money to one of those “disability justice” nonprofits.

After all of that, maybe, just maybe, humanity might grant me forgiveness for perpetuating ableism by virtue of my existence.  

But probably not.

I, however, won’t be doing any of that.

SEE ALSO: The purist vs. the statesman

That being said, my ableist diagnoses did cause me to reflect on why conservatives are so allergic to talk about “disability discrimination.” I mean, the terms are absurd. Disability justice; ableist values, seriously?

But as a Christian, caring for the poor, sick, and otherwise disabled is a foundational tenet of my faith. One cannot read the gospel and not conclude that Jesus cares intimately for the disabled. “The blind and the lame came to him at the temple, and he healed them” (Matthew 21:14). “Great crowds came to him, bringing the lame, the blind, the crippled, the mute and many others, and laid them at his feet; and he healed them” (Matthew 15:30).

The problem with our modern culture’s obsession with eradicating ableism is not that it’s rooted in a genuine desire to recognize the intrinsic worth of every human being, able-bodied or not.

The problem is that it’s rooted in an intersectional worldview that seeks to castigate all remotely privileged people as oppressors.

Leftism is predicated on a premise of widespread oppression. If every semblance of oppression vanished, leftism would fail overnight. This means the movement’s future is subject to the success with which it can successfully sell the drug of being a victim.

Unfortunately for the left, hard evidence of oppression is in short supply. This is why they must keep moving the goalpost, broadening their terms to encompass everyday, formerly innocent behaviors. They then cite their new terms as proof that oppression may be lurking undetected in even the most tolerant communities.

SEE ALSO: CNN invents new ‘insidious’ form of racism

No one realizes it, they argue, but all of society is actually built on a fault line of oppression. At any moment — when a white person commits “digital blackface” or organizes her pantry — oppression will rear its ugly head. Such is the logic that sustains the left’s relevance.

A prime example of this is Robin DiAngelo’s second book, “Nice Racism.” As her title would suggest, the “White Fragility” author argues that even those who exhibit zero signs of being racist might actually be racist. They don’t realize it. Their friends don’t realize it. But because they exist, we can know that racism is alive and well in America.

The same applies to ableism.

The left is desperate to prove that oppressors are everywhere. Able-bodied people, by nature of the fact that they are able-bodied, are bigoted against the disabled. Fit people, by nature of the fact that they aren’t fat, are bigoted against the morbidly obese.

When conservatives rail against this mad way of looking at the world, they aren’t creating license to be needlessly mean. They are railing against a system that reads oppression into everything in order to perpetuate leftism.

It’s an inescapable reality that a world consisting primarily of able-bodied people might not always perfectly accommodate the disabled. This does not mean that they are any less valuable. Nor does it mean that our malicious, oppressive world is intentionally repressing them. We must begin to see these ploys of the left for what they really are.

That’s why I thoroughly reject the intersectional worldview. But then again, who am I to have an opinion? I am an ableist, after all.

Jakob Fay is a staff writer for the Convention of States Project, a project of Citizens for Self-Governance.


About The Author