Disablism in Law Policy and Practice

Scholarly Definition

Disablist practices are ones that focus on excluding particular bodies. Disablism is a contrast term to ableism, which is the valuing of bodies. © Laura Bisaillon

Artist Statement

We co-created this illustration with a narrative story in mind. Imagine a dystopian or Orwellian society where we are all prodded, plucked and scanned like a slab of meat at the grocery store. Here we see lines of people arranged on a conveyor belt. Their faces are replaced with barcodes. We see a large, robotic arm pick someone up, and another robotic arm focus in on the person’s face. An overhead screen has rated her: she has only one leg, is branded undesirable, and dropped into the pits where she joins others who have been assessed abnormal and dysfunctional. While our societies do not have giant people working in giant factories that sorting people on the basis of their bodies, prejudicial practices towards such people does. In this image, a large robotic eye embedded in the middle of the earth hangs over the activities related to human sorting. We cannot help but to be aware all the cameras, gears and cogs. Do we not feel uneasy because of this scrutiny? We chose the infrastructure and various implements carefully: making visible the heightened surveillance and sorting out of people with chronic illness and developmental or genetic difference within the Canadian immigration system.

Medium: Scanned pencil sketch and Digital art. © Aida Radoncic and Ujwal Mantha