Mistakes Politicians Make With Disabled Voters

By Andrew Pulrang: For Complete Post, Click Here…

Earlier this summer, candidate for Minnesota Secretary of State Kim Crockett, questioned whether people who need help to vote should even be voting at all:

Some habits, practices, and statements from candidates, like this one, reveal a genuinely concerning ableism. Others, though still harmful, can be fairly categorized as “gaffes” — or perhaps more specifically, “rookie ableism.” Some observers might regard Crockett’s remarks as only accidentally “offending” non-English speakers and people with disabilities. But at least from a disability perspective, it seems more like an unintended but accurate peek at a deeper philosophy of voting — one that is instinctively more restrictive and wary of an expanding electorate, and which includes a fundamental questioning of the right to vote for people with certain disabilities.

Crockett’s words certainly seem to reflect a common ableist belief — that disability makes at least some people unqualified for certain basic rights of citizenship and participation in modern life. Other examples of deeper ableist ideologies commonly held and heard can include:

  • The idea that employment opportunities for some disabled people are essentially charity, not a fair exchange of valuable labor deserving equitable payment.
  • The notion that certain kinds of disabled people are better off being “cared for” in congregate facilities like nursing homes, group homes and institutions, and psychiatric hospitals.
  • An instinctive conviction that human society is “healthier” and more “fit” when there are fewer disabled people.

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