People with disabilities, chronic illnesses and mental illnesses get asked curious, outright ignorant and sometimes blatantly offensive questions regularly. It’s OK to take a moment to educate someone, but it isn’t your responsibility to answer any or every question thrown at you.
You are not obliged to put up with questions or statements that are hurtful or infuriating. You also have the right to keep your medical information private, even if your disabilities are visible.
Disability advocate Imani Barbarin started the hashtag #ComebacksForAbleism on Twitter Friday after an encounter with someone in an elevator. Though Barbarin wasn’t able to respond in the moment, she had a perfect and sarcastic response in mind.
Barbarin told our partners at The Mighty she was annoyed that she didn’t say what she wanted at the time, and that people with disabilities are often “peppered with invasive questions that aren’t anyone’s business.”
Barbarin decided to start the hashtag because “it’s nice to commiserate with others that experience the same thing.” Many people on Twitter agreed and began sharing their responses to questions and statements they’ve received.
Here are 13 comebacks for ableism you might relate to or want to borrow for your next encounter.
CoWorker: Gee, must be nice to be able to park right outside the door.
Me: oh, yes, having a disabled tag makes it completely fine that I have shooting pain in my spine and hips with every step I take & totally compensates for being in severe pain 24/7. #ComebacksForAbleism
— Toni Snark (@toni_snark) November 5, 2018
I pass 2 people with my mobility scooter at the coffee machine
Woman: Wow, this should be quite the undertaking! So curious to see how you’ll pull this off!
It’s quite simpel actually. You push this button, hot water comes out. Want me 2 show you?#ComebacksForAbleism
— JNeL (@jaysgoodlife) November 3, 2018
#ComebacksForAbleism – little old lady told me I couldn’t have the Disabled park because she wanted it
I asked her if she had a permit. She claimed she didn’t and was “entitled” due to her age.
I held mine up – “well too bad lady, I have one and I was here first”.
— Cute Trainer Hannah (@Ixzianna) November 3, 2018
Someone recently told me the reason I am chronically ill is from receiving vaccinations as a child, and that the flu shot would make me sicker. I responded, “If that’s how it works, someone must have shot you up with a huge dose of Chronic Asshole Syndrome” #ComebacksForAbleism
— Michelle (@chelle__r) November 4, 2018
“Is it fun being able to use your illness as an excuse to get out of doing work?”
— Elsie Tellier ♿️💖 (@65PinkRoses) November 3, 2018
This article was originally published by our partners at The Mighty.
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