ableist "on-the-ground" organizers are the performative ones

Disabled people are forced by ableist so-called "leftist" organizations to only engage in "performative" online organizing, while they simultaneously de-legitimize our organizing needs and efforts.

photograph of an N95 mask on the ground. the mask is brightly lit, while the rest of the photo is dark.
image description: photograph of an N95 mask on the ground. the mask is brightly lit, while the rest of the photo is dark. photo by Stephanie Cantu.

Disabled people are forced by ableist so-called "leftist" organizations to only engage in "performative" online organizing, while they simultaneously de-legitimize our organizing needs and efforts.

The absence of Disabled people at in-person events is reflective of how we are actively excluded, because people expect us to not take up space, or to only take up resources they deem as worthwhile, instead of what we actually need to be able to engage.

Disabled people are essential in the fight towards collective liberation, and yet we are continuously actively told by ableist "leftists" that our needs are unimportant or a "necessary" sacrifice.

Disabled people are treated by organizers as a disposable population and a worthwhile sacrifice, when the truth is that anybody can be rendered disabled at any time, and that we make up the largest minority population in the world.

The absence of Disabled organizers at in-person organizing events is reflective of the lack of truly revolutionary values of the ableist organizations holding these events and opportunities, not of the lack of commitment or effort of Disabled people.

Disabled people are judged for doing online organizing that is deemed illegitimate, unproductive, and performative by other "leftists", when it is completely the responsibility of these ableist "leftists" to make opportunities for us to organize in what they would deem as legitimate, effective forms of organizing.

The real performativity is in those who claim to be "revolutionary", but in fact engage in on-the-ground, in-person organizing only because this is viewed more favorably in the hierarchy of organizing.

In-person organizing is more visible, a better photo op, and the same colonial mindset as those mission trips who claim to be better just because they're engaging in-person with people in need.

It's the same self-serving motivations to appear to be "revolutionary" or "a good person" that maintains power imbalances instead of empowering people beyond providing food or money, instead of giving them the space and resources to advocate for themselves.

The real performativity is in those who claim to be "revolutionary", but refuse to do the bare minimum of wearing face masks to protect the people they "help".

If you cannot even be bothered to wear a face mask, you've failed the Disabled community.

I haven't even approached how ableist "on-the-ground" organizers make events inaccessible in other ways, such as lack of Deaf inclusivity or wheelchair inclusivity, which are some of the more visible ways to provide accessibility, since they're so worried about appearances.

Organizers need to re-evaluate how they engage in desireability politics, when it comes to how and when they do engage in palatable forms of Disability Justice.


If this post gave you free education, please support our unpaid editor here.

Share this post. / follow us on instgrm.


黃蘊子 JiJi W. Wong (pronouns: they/them/theirs) is a Disabled and autistic Malaysian Chinese person with hEDS and Myalgic Encephalomyelitis/ME, living on stolen Quinnipiac, Paugusset, and Wappinger Lands.

They are devoutly Buddhist, which has informed basically their entire outlook in life, including their Marxist-Leninist politics and advocacy.  Their passions in organizing are disability justice and transformative justice, which also inform their work as a restorative practices mentor in the public school system.

They live an interdependent life with their parents and dog, sharing the burden of oppression under white supremacist capitalism.

Please compensate JiJi for this article.
They need funds for their medical expenses.

— originally written in august 2022.

the majority of ANTIHEROINE.'s workers and contributors are based in countries of the global minority (white supremacist capitalist western imperialist states).
most of us are informed by our lived experiences of living in usameriKKKa, unless otherwise stated, and therefore our publication is usameriKKKa-centric.
we openly acknowledge our bias, and usameriKKKa-centricism.

our red and black logo was designed by amelie, a Blind queer agender vietnamese-usameriKKKan artist and designer.

Disclaimer: Neither ANTIHEROINE., nor any of its workers or contributors, is responsible for, nor necessarily supports or endorses, any of the actions, thoughts, relationships, political opinions, et cetera, of any beings or entities published here, outside of what has been chosen to be published on this platform. Neither ANTIHEROINE., nor any of its workers, is responsible for any actions taken in reaction or response to any of our articles. We are not medical professionals.