Why the word “stupid” is considered ableist

(Thanks to Billie Rain for this essay.  The url for the original article is at the end.)

Will someone explain to me why the word “stupid” is considered ableist? Because this seriously baffles me.

Words Can Hurt“Stupid” has been used by the medical community and the community at large to describe people with developmental disorders. My boyfriend was mocked by teachers and called “stupid” because he’s dyslexic. My doctor told my mother I was “stupid” because of various aspects of my autism. “Stupid” has been used to justify locking people like me in asylums, in basements. “Stupid” has been used to disavow testimony given by people like me. My grandmother is what is still medically classified in some places as “retarded” and as a child, was abused by various people in various ways, and when she spoke about it, nobody believed her because she was “stupid”. The eugenics movement is against us “stupid” people even existing, and I consider anyone who believes in always aborting Down Syndrome fetuses as part of this, by the way.

Intelligence is not a measure of character. Intelligence, in many ways, is also subjective. I cannot remember names or act in the usual social way. I cannot hold a pen My boyfriend cannot spell or pronounce things well. My autistic cousin Joe has been taught most of his life how to tie his shoes and he still cannot. Yet, we are all smart in various ways. My partner has a wide array of knowledge, as do I. And Joe is bloody smart for his age.

Insult someone by calling them ignorant, deliberately ill-informed, pig-headed, stubborn. Do not insult intelligence levels. Ignorance is a choice, intelligence… well, it just isn’t. Your capacity to learn, and your access to learning materials, aren’t always under your control, and have nothing to do with your character.



Graphic from: http://tachyonlabs.com/wearing-my-heart-on-the-end-of-my-sleeve/


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