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MNHQ .. Can we talk about disability bashing?

(922 Posts)
Brownsugarshortbread Sun 05-Jun-11 23:58:01

Over the years i have posted on and enjoyed MN.
Sadly there seems to be a growing culture of it being okay to have a go at disabilities, those who claim DLA and those who's children have 'invisable' disabilities such as ADHD and ADD.
The terms 'freak' and 'scrounger' have been batted around and comments from some posters IMO certainly boarder on harrassment and discrimination.

When certain posts or posters have been reported, some have been removed, yet a lot haven't.

And while I agree with free speech, these types of comment or reaction to these comments, are not an education for those bigoted posters. Nor do those whose lives are touched by disability wish to be used to educate those posters.

Disability Harassment 

is unwanted behaviour based on disability,
impairment or additional need. Such behaviour may include comments that are patronising or objectionable to the recipient or which creates an intimidating, hostile or offensive environment for people with disabilities. Disability harassment includes inappropriate reference to disability, unwelcome discussion of the impact of disability, refusal to work with and exclusion of people with disabilities from social events or meetings.

moondog Mon 06-Jun-11 00:01:11

Careful. You will be asking for the thoguht police to move in next. hmm

A central tenet of a democracy is that people are free to air views that you many find objectionable. In turn they are free to find offence with your views.

Brownsugarshortbread Mon 06-Jun-11 00:01:11

I also believe that the equality act 2010 comes into matters.

Yes I could stay away from MN, I could hide the threads.. But why should we encourage difference to be seen as diffective?

AnnieOnAMapleLeaf Mon 06-Jun-11 00:03:25

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

AnnieOnAMapleLeaf Mon 06-Jun-11 00:04:28

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

moondog Mon 06-Jun-11 00:06:40

Oh God, get off your high horse.

Brownsugarshortbread Mon 06-Jun-11 00:07:53

Moondog there is a difference between free speech and thought and what has been happening on MN in recent times.

And maybe some posters ought to learn that some things are supposed to be kept in ones head and not cause offense to others.

AnnieOnAMapleLeaf Mon 06-Jun-11 00:10:32

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Glitterknickaz Mon 06-Jun-11 00:12:53

As a service provider I'm pretty sure that Mumsnet should adhere to the Equality Act 2010.

The terms of the act don't just relate to the person with disability, but those close to the person with a disability, for instance parent carers.

"The Act also protects people from being
discriminated against and harassed because of a
disability they do not personally have. For example,
it protects people who are mistakenly perceived
to be disabled. It also protects a person from being
treated less favourably because they are linked or
associated with a disabled person."

The Act protects against harrassment:

"Disability harassment is unwanted behaviour
related to disability that has the purpose or
effect of violating a person’s dignity or creating
an intimidating, hostile, degrading, humiliating or
offensive environment for them."

I know for a fact that posters have either left or considered leaving due to this. There is definitely intimidation and hostility, and humiliation is par for the course.

We have asked nicely over the last couple of years that you consider disability as abhorrent as racism, sexism or homophobia. You have declined to do this as you believe these kinds of comments are 'educational'.

We have now discovered that what you are doing is contrary to the Equalities Act 2010. We would ask that you reconsider your position in relation to disablism on these boards.

ThatVikRinA22 Mon 06-Jun-11 00:14:58

ive been on here for quite a while now, my son has aspergers, dyslexia and dyspraxia.

ive never found anything other than support on here, but if i have something i want to talk about with regard to DS i tend to post on the SN section of the board, where people tend to understand the issues.

not really noticed any disability bashing, no more than women bashing, feminist bashing, men bashing, FF ing bashing.....i think if you want to be offended you can find any number of things to get offended about. if i see a thread i think will piss me off i hide it.

Glitterknickaz Mon 06-Jun-11 00:16:32

Is FF bashing under the Equalities Act?
You would see plenty of disablism in action on AIBU. Yes many comments are written by trolls but they are not dealt with efficiently.

ThatVikRinA22 Mon 06-Jun-11 00:22:18

but my point is that people may well be equally offended by other types of perceived discrimination.

i think i would defend the right to free speech. If you dont like something that is posted there are several ways to deal with it - you report it and then you hide the thread.
like i say - my son is disabled. i dont get offended. i get more offended by the treatement he actually received in reality - not on discussion boards. he was discriminated against throughout school which i attempted to address. If its a real problem then tackle it. you will never change some peoples opinions.
i personally have not come across discrimination on these boards, but i post about DS in the SN section which i feel is the right place to post. i assumed thats why there are different sections? so like minded people with similar issues can discuss them?

Glitterknickaz Mon 06-Jun-11 00:25:25

I'm dealing with it in RL too.
Disablism is treated way too casually.
Would you feel the same way if people were speculating in a racially abusive way? If that was accepted here?

ThatVikRinA22 Mon 06-Jun-11 00:35:02

nothing has to be accepted here - you have the right to challenge any post, to report any post and to hide any thread. If a post was deemed to be unlawful im sure it would be deleted.

what exactly are you talking about? maybe if you can point me to a specific thread that is speculating in an abusive say i can answer the question.

i dont understand what this is about. I do not tolerate it if faced with it, i challenge it, i have had to fight for my son who is now 19, all his life, in RL i find this has more effect than bleating on the internet quoting acts and sections....
i am not understanding what the issue here on MN is? where is the problem?

ThatVikRinA22 Mon 06-Jun-11 00:35:45

*way
not say....

Itsjustafleshwound Mon 06-Jun-11 02:38:48

The Mumsnet board says this re: posting:

When writing your messages, please use the same courtesy that you would show when speaking face-to-face with someone.
Our policy is to keep intervention to a minimum (we don't have formal moderators) and let the conversation flow. Having said that, we will remove postings that are obscene, contain personal attacks or break the law. For more on this, see our Netiquette page.

I like to believe that the people posting on here are adults and can self-regulate themselves or take others up on any offensive postings ....

There is a special board for SN - posting on a free for all topic especially like AIBU may attract attention but sometimes not the most sensitive postings.

Abuse is abuse whether it is disablist, racist, sexist or anything else and is never acceptable

thumbwitch Mon 06-Jun-11 04:29:04

Vicar, try this thread to see a fine example of what is being discussed. The original comment has been removed, happily, but you can work out what it was about by the subsequent commentary, I'm sure.

Riveninside Mon 06-Jun-11 05:14:22

Disablism is now against the law thank god. Mn need to be careful. There has been a great deal of disabled bashing, especially in regards to benefits. Insert a race into it abd it would be removed.

Peachy Mon 06-Jun-11 07:35:01

Technically, I am no longer here, in a good part because of this.

When ds2 was referred recently for ADD instead of asking for sup[port (I know very little about it) I did not post for fear of starting the whole 'no such thing' debate off. I have been shouted at for being a carer (no different to any other parent apparently- rea;;y? if your 11 year old sleeps like a newborn you need help!), been repeatedly equated with fraudster criminals, read that my boys are not wanted in the school system (despite ASD DS1 being Chair of School council), and far worse thungs: views I was happiest to believe died with institutionalisation. I;ve tried to educate and follow the whole MN mantra but in the end you feel as if someone has stuck a large target on your head and you think whoa! Enough.

And when I realised that all mine may well have a DX by Christmas (3 ASD 1 ADD) it was clear to me that MN could not be trusted; yes most people would be nice but even I could come up with the comments about how much of a drain / freak genes / why didn;t I stop years ago (not withstanding that ds2 is ten and it took a new headmistress to ask for help, my concept of average ebing somewhat awry and not spotting it). Thing is I am knowledgeable on the ASD. I;d have liked advice on the ADD but can find it. It's a shame vulnerable newbies are at risk, however.

And more to the point, disability harassment isn;t free speech: it's where society has drawn the clear boundary. There are I understand sites online where people can say anything: Daftpunk mentioned them to me. Why is it OK to say that the people offended by disablist behaviour on MN should go when MN sets up as a parental support board, and not wish good journey to those who feel the need to say hurtful things? Parental support on a parental support board, nastiness on boards set out for that, everything in it's place.

Anyway in RL I have enough of this as it is from direct family, seems when times get ahrd the easiest targets get the elbow. I don;t blame MNHQ for the posts because they never used to be so frequent or so vile. I do think MNHQ needs to update how it handles them.

TotalChaos Mon 06-Jun-11 08:55:53

Completely agree with Peachy and Annie. Over the years there have been some horrendous views expressed on here re:disability that haven't been deleted as supposedly being good for opening up a debate hmm. I now don't even bother clicking on any AIBU threads on disability or other sensitive topics as the atmosphere will be overwhelmingly crass, judgmental or unpleasant.

Shoesytwoesy Mon 06-Jun-11 10:41:06

good grief, "thought police" and perceived discrimination" just 2 posts that show what we are up against.
MN HQ need to explain imo why they don't take the disablist post as seriously as they do racism, why they always role out the same trite excuses using words like education.
I rarely post about my dd on mn now, I really don't want to share her with people who hold these sick views, there is no where I deem safe to do thins on mn.
people always come out with the freedom of speech excuse, this has nothing to do with freedom of speech.

silverfrog Mon 06-Jun-11 10:53:01

the problem here, is that not all "free speech" is treated equally.

yes, there is the report function.

if you report somethign that is racist or homophobic, the comment gets deleted, even if so-called borderline (ie open to interpretation)

if you report somehting that is disablist, it gets left, in the name of free speech, or because it is educaitonal, and "poters are able to challenge on the thread in question"

why the inequality?

why does it take a huge outcry, and a virtual campaign of reports before a comment that is "open to interpretation" (or not!) is dleeted if it is a disablist comment, but only take a couple of reports if it is a racist comment?

Vicar: I can see what you are saying, and no, I wouldn't post for support on a SN issue outsid eof the SN boards. but really, shoudl it have to be this way? should we have to "hide" SN away, so as not to be confronted with abuse?

and aside form that, it is not often posts asking for support that go awry, but threads where SN is an incidental topic - eg in education, where half way through someone might mention a child with ADHD in their dc's class, and off the thread veers towards "doesn't exist!" "just need a good clip round the ear" etc, along wiht the worse posts of "just keep them away from my child's class" - would not be tolerated if said abot a different race/religion/whatever, but let to stand if about SN...

fanjoforthemammaries7850 Mon 06-Jun-11 10:54:50

Vicar - maybe your skin is thicker as your son is older. I am feeling delicate re my DDs very recent genetic DX and the post really upset me. And I couldn't avoid it as it didn't look like a.contentious thread, merely one about a programme I enjoy.

Shoesytwoesy Mon 06-Jun-11 11:00:12

fanjo, my dd is 16 and I can assure you my skin is no thicker, in fact I think I get angrier now than I did when she was small, I keep thinking surely things will change but they don't, in fact it seems worse.

ohanotherone Mon 06-Jun-11 11:04:18

I agree that Mumsnet should deal with discrimatory language about disabled people, perhaps more so than racist or homophobic comments, people will often answer back to those comments more than to stick up for disabled people. Disabled children can't speak for themselves and in 2011 there is still so much discrimination, it really saddens me.

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