Privilege is one of those discussions that seems to get people off-side very easily. People think because they are labelled “privileged”, it must mean they are well off and don’t face any problems. This is not the case. A person has privilege when they have an unearned advantage over other people. I have the privilege of being White, which means I don’t have to experience racism. However, I am both a woman and a person with a disability, and with these labels, I fall into groups that are less privileged over both men and people without a disability, or to use a term I am not fond of, “able-bodied.”
For readers who have not yet seen it, I wrote an article “10 things to know about disability” where I listed 10 things I wanted people to know about disability. In a similar vein, I want to share 10 ways in which people without a disability are more privileged than I. Please note, these are from the perspective of a wheelchair user.
1. You can go out without having to find out if the places you are going are accessible and have accessible toilets.
2. You don’t have to rely on someone to help you out of bed and get ready for the day ahead.
3. You can go out on your own when you want and not have to worry if the footpaths or gutters are accessible.
4. You don’t have to search 3 months for a hair-dresser that’s wheelchair accessible.
5. You can go out with your friend without everyone you encounter assuming they are your carer.
6. You don’t have to deal with support workers referring to the house you own with your partner as a ‘share house”, because people with disabilities clearly don’t have relationships.
7. You don’t have to put up with people making assumptions about your mental capacity based on your physical appearance.
8. You can call something ableist without people thinking you’re a troublemaker or told to get over it.
9. Household tasks are easy for you.
10. Accommodations to do what you need to do to participate in life are not considered a big ask.