Ableism is described as discrimination of and social prejudice against people with disabilities (multiple sources). Ableism manifests in many ways in our workplaces and in society: in language, stereotyping and assumptions, what is defined as “normal,” etc.

What is not often included are the ways in which ableism and disability are connected to racism and anti-Blackness — in the workplace and in society.

This de-racialized approach to ableism and disability belies other racialized societal indicators, such as the fact that jobless rates for African American and Latino workers living with disabilities remain higher than those who are white (

Addressing disability rights and ableism in the workplace without centering the intersectional “isms” that contribute to it is like creating a DEI director position without institutional resources or authority: the symbolism is the primary point. 

Our institutions and the workers within them deserve more.

#InquiringMind Questions:

  • Does your institution specifically recruit talent from disability communities? 
  • Does your organization have Accessibility Policies?

Written for Baltimore Racial Justice Action’s monthly newsletter, Racial Equity Practices (R.E.P.), and re-posted with permission.