On discrimination and ableism.

As the lockdown lifted in NSW, many stores and cafes took to their social media feeds to announce their intentions. 

Many decided to only open their doors fully after December the 1st, when the state vaccination rate reaches 90% (now looking like 95%). 

The first of many such announcements was from a local cafe and health food store, on Instagram, a beige screenshot of the ocean with a beautifully composed homily about light, spirit and wellness and kindness. Love everyone, it intoned.

This is Instagram speak for, ‘We won’t be opening our doors if we can only let the vaccinated in’. 

Some are more direct; ‘We do not discriminate against anyone, regardless of their beliefs. All are welcome here. We won’t be opening until December 1st”.

Laudable sentiments. No one likes to think of themselves as discriminating against people, especially not those who wear crystals. 

My dear friend has stage 4 cancer. She is vaccinated, but it is unlikely to have had much of an impact. Her family engages with the world. Her partner works in a shop, her kids go to school. Her family members need to work and go to school, and obviously, there is still risk, but the risk of passing Covid on is much smaller if there’s a high rate of vaccination.  

To someone with cancer, or a disability that impacts their immunity, shops that say, ‘We don’t discriminate against anyone’ are actually saying, ‘….except you, weaklings. We don’t give a fuck about you at all and if we’re honest, you probably brought your conditions on yourself. Have some potentiated dried bees’ testes!’

This position, where you assume that everyone is well and that vaccination only impacts on the person who chooses to be vaccinated, is the very definition of ableism. Making self-aggrandising comments about your ‘commitment to non discrimination’ gives the middle finger to those people who have experienced the most discrimination in their lives – disabled people. 

I have and will continue to boycott local places that cheerfully announce their lack of accumulated fucks for the most vulnerable in society. Just like them, I will discriminate.

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