The Invisible Backpack of Able-Bodied Privilege Checklist
Written by a “twenty-something, vegetarian, disabled Canadian woman,” from the blog, B-TCH on Wheels.
I love how she begins by saying that all lists of ableist privileges she’s seen were written by able-bodied people…anyone with privileges is ultimately blinded by them. Let’s listen more and talk less.
There are a couple of these already online, but they are written by able-bodied people, and seem to miss some major points of privilege. I decided to write my own.
1. I can, if I wish, arrange to attend social events without worrying if they are accessible to me.
2. If I am in the company of people that make me uncomfortable, I can easily choose to move elsewhere.
3. I can easily find housing that is accessible to me, with no barriers to my mobility.
4. I can go shopping alone most of the time and be able to reach and obtain all of the items without assistance, know that cashiers will notice I am there, and can easily see and use the credit card machines. I also don’t have to worry about finding a dressing room I can use, or that it’s being used as a storage room.
5. I can turn on the television and see people of my ability level widely and accurately represented.
6. I am not called upon to speak as the token person for people of my mobility level
7. I can advocate for my children in their schools without my ability level being blamed for my children’s performance or behaviour.
8. I can do well in a challenging situation without being told what an inspiration I am.
9. If I ask to speak to someone “in charge”, I can be relatively assured that the person will speak directly to me and not treat me like I am stupid.
10. I can belong to an organization/class/workplace and not feel that others resent my membership because of my ability level.
11. I do not have to fear being assaulted because of my ability level. If am abused by a partner I will have a safe place to go if I wish to leave.
12. I can be reasonably assured that I won’t be late for meetings due to mobility barriers.
13. As I grow up from childhood I will not feel that my body is inferior or undesirable, and that it should be “fixed”, allowing me to feel confident in my current and future relationships.
14. When speaking with medical professionals, can expect them to understand how my body works, to answer my questions, and respect my decisions.
15. My neighborhood allows me to move about on sidewalks, into stores, and into friends’ homes without difficulty.
16. People do not tell me that my ability level means I should not have children. They will be happy for me when I become pregnant, and I can easily find supportive medical professionals and parents like me. Note: I have heard of one support group for parents with disabilities within my community. See article
17. I can be reasonably sure that my ability level will not discourage employers from hiring me
18. I know that my income can increase based on my performance, and I can seek new and better employment if I choose; I do not have to face a court battle to get an increase in my income.
19. I can choose to share my life with someone without it being seen as a disadvantage to them
20. If people like me have been discriminated against in history, I can expect to learn about it in school, and how that discrimination was overcome.
21. All people like me are seen as living lives that are worth living