Originally published on Not Sorry Feminism
Probably the most difficult axis of oppression to get average people to take seriously is ableism. It doesn’t make a whole lot of sense on the face of it, because obviously disabled, autistic, and mentally/chronically ill people have issues. Employers are allowed to pay disabled people almost nothing. It is legal in the U.S. to pay disabled employees less than a dollar per hour. People in wheelchairs don’t have actual physical access to many basic places because companies don’t want to build ramps. People openly discriminate against anyone with an intellectual disabilities.
The problem is, deep down, or not that deep down, people think that those affected by ableism deserve it. Companies would lose money on disabled employees. Creating accommodations for a small amount of people is hard and expensive. Mentally ill people, autistic people, and people with intellectual disabilities can’t handle responsibilities. Employing them would just slow down the company. God forbid they be allowed in an important job like a doctor or police officer or congressperson. Could you imagine? Society is better off without people like those in important positions.
Or maybe just better off without them at all, right? Should they even be allowed to reproduce if their genes are going to hold back society?
And now you have eugenics.
Eugenics is an essential part of fascism. It’s not just about white supremacy, where they think that the white race will be stronger if they don’t mix genes with other races (the opposite is true but whatever). They think that they’ll be stronger if they eliminate all the genes that cause illness and disability. Disabled people were among those brought to the Nazi concentrations camps. Imprisoning and sterilizing disabled, autistic, and mentally/chronically ill people is a common feature of fascist regimes. Also, the U.S. government participated in it in the 1910s-1920s. It involved a lot of involuntary sterilization. Tens of thousands of women. And again from the 1940s all the way to the 1970s on Puerto Rican woman.
Involuntary sterilization is probably no longer acceptable, and it’s unlikely that you could again get away with tricking women into this with all the easy access to information we have now. So how to you keep sick people from reproducing?
For many years, pre-existing conditions kept the sickest among us from gaining access to healthcare unless they had a good amount of money. And that amount of money got better as the years went on and healthcare became ever more ridiculously expensive in this country. Obamacare, as flawed as it was, at least got rid of this massive, disgusting injustice that killed people on a regular basis. Like, all the time.
And now they’re not only trying to bring it back, they’re trying to add all kinds of things to the list of pre-existing conditions, including things that fucking everyone has, like acne and anxiety. Oh and more and more people are getting asthma because of, surprise surprise, air pollution! And with the even sharper spikes in common, life-saving drugs like epi pens and insulin lately, this is going to kill so many more people than it ever killed before. The only people who will be safe are the rich and the healthy. Which basically means the lucky. People lucky enough to be born rich, people lucky enough to be born healthy and not get sick or injured later, or both.
The rest of us can die. Those of us who are not born into rich families can die if we are or get sick. And only the healthy will survive to pass on our genes. Great.
So at the same time I’m blown away by the fact that people don’t take ableism seriously, but I can also get it. If it’s been so easy to justify eugenics for all these years, honestly, how the fuck are we going to even get to a place where people will stop using ableist slurs that have been ingrained into their vocabulary for their entire lives?
But honestly. If you could at least realize what’s happening here. That they’re trying to start up eugenics again hardcore. And for the love of god, please, make it stop before my friends start dying?