I came across a book I thought would be out of date, “Microaggressions and Marginality.” Published in 2010 Edited by Derald Wing Sue. It’s actually very current for the depressing reasons that our attitudes have still not evolved beyond the examples in this book though some may have become more subtle.
Table 11.1 Examples of Disability Microaggressions in Everyday Life
|Denial of personal identity: Occurs when any aspect of a person’s identity, other than disability, is ignored or denied.||“I can’t believe you are married.”||There is no part of your life that is normal or like mine. The only thing I see when I look at you is your disability.|
|Denial of disability experience: Occurs when disability-related experiences are minimized or denied.||“Come on now, we all have some disability”||Your thoughts and feelings are probably not real and are certainly not important to me.|
|Denial of privacy:occurs when personal information is required about a disability||Someone asks what happened to you.||You are not allowed to maintain disability information privately|
|Helplessness: occurs when people frantically try to help PWDs||Someone helps you onto a bus or train, even when you need no help Someone feels incapable of rescuing you from your disability||You can’t do anything by yourself because you have a disability. Having a disability is a catastrophe. I would rather be dead than be you.|
|Secondary gain: occurs when a person expects to feel good or be praised for doing something for a PWDs||“We’re going to raise enough money tonight to get Johnny the new wheelchair”||I feel good and get recognition for being nice to you|
|Spread effect: occurs when other expectations about a person are assumed to be due to one specific disability.||“Those deaf people are retarded.” “Your other senses must be better than mine.”||Your disability invalidates you in all areas of life. You must be special in some way. You’re not normal. You have “spidey sense.”|
|Infantilization: occurs when a PWD is treated like a child||“Let me do that for you.”||You are not really capable. I know better than you how to do this|
|Patronization: occurs when a PWD is praised for almost anything||“You people are so inspiring”||You are so special for living with that|
|Second-class citizen: occurs when a PWD’s right to equality is denied because they are considered to be bothersome, expensive, and a waste of time, effort, and resources.||People work hard not to make eye contact or to physically avoid a PWD. |
A person in a wheelchair waits 15 minutes outside a restaurant for access through the kitchen. She then complains to the manager.
At a staff meeting, the question is raised about improving accessibility to the restaurant, and the official plan is that changes will be made when more PWDs come to eat.
|PWDs are disgusting and should be avoided. Those people expect too much and are so difficult to work with. they have no patience Your rights to equality are not important to me|
|Desexualisation: occurs when the sexual being is denied||“I would never date someone who uses a wheelchair”||PWDs are not my equal, not attractive, and not worthy of being with me|