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  1. I don’t have a TV and haven’t watched any of the Paralympics (or the Olympics). I do, however, suspect that the commentary might be rife with what I discuss below.
  2. I am able-bodied and not the best person to speak on ableism – I probably engage in ableist language and attitudes myself. I would definitely appreciate helpful criticism on this post, and will gladly correct any mistakes I make. Thanks for your help.

Even without a TV, it’s difficult to avoid the sporting events that have been going on in England this summer, and there’s one idea that keeps coming up in regard to the Paralympics that I have to address.

This idea is best encapsulated by one of my friend’s Facebook statuses:

i truly am around some extraordinary superhumans, with the right will power anyone can do anything they wish no matter what adversities one may face 🙂

Really?

Anyone can do anything? An able-bodied person is saying that anyone, regardless of their physical or mental illnesses or disabilities, can do anything because Paralympic athletes? And if you don’t, it’s because of your attitude?

Hello, bootstraps!

This is pure conservative rhetoric – that by thinking hard enough you can overcome any obstacles that life throws your way. That if you are miserable or ill or infertile or physically incapable of certain things, it’s your own fault. Think positively, work harder, and things will get better. This attitude transfers easily to government and social institutions, so we begin to believe that poor people deserve their lot in life, that we should slash benefits to get them off their collective arse and back into work, with no consideration that there are very few jobs available at the moment.

Everyone faces different adversities. My facebook friend’s status is not inspiring or affirming or whatever xe intended it to be; it is a blatant lie, and it is victim-blaming.

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