Today is RUOK Day, and I’m not OK — here’s why.

  1. “What were their co-morbidities?” — People don’t realise this, but when they’re asking this question, the underlying message is that the death was ok because that person had something else wrong with them. In the UK, 60% of COVID19 deaths have been disabled people. It’s hard to find more stats like these, not because they don’t occur, but because of their importance to governments.
  2. “It’s not worse than the flu” — If you’re privileged enough to be healthy, it might just be the flu for you, but for the rest of us with disabilities, we don’t have the privilege of taking that gamble. I’ve had Pneumonia, Pleurisy, Swine Flu and as a result of that, I’ve also had a collapsed lung. There are many people out there who will die if they get it. So when you’re saying things like “it’s no worse than the flu”, you’re showing your privilege, be aware of where you are saying this.
  3. My third example is what I see as people performing what I’m sure they see to be civil disobedience, but is demonstrating able-bodied privilege. Public protests, bragging about not wearing masks because it goes against their “human rights” and “freedoms”. As a disabled person, I and many others don’t have that privilege. I can’t socially distance myself because of the assistance I need. I rely on people who I have no idea who they’ve been in contact with or where they’ve been.
  4. My final example relates to discussions around the ‘no jab, no entry’ policy. While how businesses handle this is up to them, I have seen comparisons made about the choice not to vaccine being akin to disability discrimination. While I might understand where people are attempting to come from while making comparisons, please remember that disability is NOT a choice and is not a comparison one should be making. I did not choose to be born with a disability.



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Ainslee Hooper

Ainslee Hooper


Applied Anthropologist specialising in disability inclusion.