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When “The Done Thing” might be ableism

Ableism ~ discrimination or prejudice against people who have disabilities

I’ve thought long and hard about saying this and I think it’s necessary. This is not aimed at anyone in particular, instead it has grown from a combination of comments and actions and general thinking over a few years.

Lots of people think talking to someone face-to-face about something is the proper thing to do. The second best way is a phone call. Anything else is rude, unacceptable, lame, thoughtless, yadayadayada. I’m not saying everyone judges others who don’t do this – many people just assume it is the acceptable behaviour and so that’s how they function but many people do judge. They may not realise they are doing it until they hear themselves criticise someone not following The Order of Communicating Properly.

From what I can gather the next best way is to leave a message to say that you want to talk to someone. Or leave news or discussion with your actual voice. After this texts are allowed. Personal messages on social media are a last ditch emergency allowance.

Posting stuff on social media is often seen as inappropriate. It’s also rather cruelly called “overshare”.

But what you may not have thought about is that this is what is called “ableist”.

Many people with anxiety, many autistic people, or people with speech and language problems say what they need to say far more coherently and confidently and have an equal standing in a conversation if they can type words.

Many of us panic in stressful situations and in situations where we are being eyeballed (even in a sympathetic way). Being forced to function in ways that are not comfortable gives an unequal standing and means the person with the difficulty is diminished and their rights to equality stamped on.

Can we please get over this idea that sharing stuff on social media is wrong (unless it’s about another person without their permission); that communicating in the most comfortable way possible is somehow not understanding social etiquette.

It’s actually discrimination.

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