You cannot liberate one group by oppressing another

[CN: Ableist slurs]

There has been a lot of rubbish on social media over the past week which really can be summarised as you can’t oppress one group while liberating another.

Things I’ve read:

“Bigots are stupid.”

Really? Bigotry is not the equivalent of people with intellectual disabilities. Stupid is an ableist word. Don’t stigmatise people with intellectual disabilities in your attempts to call out bigotry. You are being a bigot when you do that.

“The mother who abused her autistic child was probably insane.”

Really? Child abuse is not the result of mental illness. Insane is also an ableist word. Don’t stigmatise people with mental illness in your attempts to reduce the stigma that autistic people face. You’re still contributing towards stigma when you do that.

When you’re fighting for equality, you have to be fighting for the equality of all people. You can’t fight for the equality of autistic people without removing ableist words from your vocabulary because you’re doing the exact thing that you’re fighting against.

You also need to be mindful that intersectionality is a thing. Many people will be members of more than one group of people.

This means that you can’t fight against the inequality experienced by autistic people while you hold racist attitudes. People of colour can be autistic too.

This means that you can’t fight against the inequality experienced by autistic people while you believe that people with mental illnesses are dangerous. Many people are multiply neurodivergent. and that means people with mental illness can be autistic too.

This means that you can’t fight against the inequality experienced by autistic people while you have questions about the way queer people raise their children. Queer people can be autistic too.

This means that you can’t fight against the inequality experienced by autistic people while you believe that trans people are simply confused. Trans people can be autistic too.

This means that you can’t fight against the inequality experienced by autistic people while you hold misogynist attitudes. Women can be autistic too.

So, if you’re fighting for equal rights of autistic people but you’re believing any of the above, you’re not fighting for equality. You can’t attempt to liberate one group by oppressing another. You can’t do that because you will be oppressing the very same people you’re trying to liberate.

This same argument can be applied to any other fight for equality because everyone has multiple facets to their identity. Many people experience intersecting axes of oppression. Far less people experience just one form of oppression.