Ableism rearing its ugly head

Please let me start this post by saying that I am probably going to get all the hate in the world for writing it.

For once, I DON’T CARE.

I need to vent about ableism in a profession in which I have worked. (I am well aware that there is ableism in other professions besides the one about which I am going to write, but since I haven’t worked in those kinds of jobs, I cannot speak for those who do or have.)

Let’s talk about scientific research—specifically, biomedical research. I received a master’s degree in biochemistry and worked in this field for eight years. I love science, especially biology, biochemistry, and molecular biology. I also have mild cerebral palsy which affects the coordination of my small muscles, especially those in my hands. It is because of this that I work significantly slower than most lab technicians of equal intelligence.

Some labs in major research universities have fired me for working too slowly or not having enough dexterity (in one case, calling me “unskilled”). I was stripped not only of my livelihood, but also of my dignity and self-confidence, all at the same horrific time.

But the staff saw results and grants as more important than treating those with disabilities with respect, so…

I attended the 2017 and 2018 Marches for Science in Washington, DC even after I had been forced out of science by those who just didn’t understand and didn’t want to. While being part of those marches was a wonderful experience, I felt jealous of all those scientists there who were not chewed up and spit out by a field they loved.

Now I am an editor, and I do not regret this one bit. Do I still love science? Yes, I do. Do I love editing just as much? Yes, I do. But typing on the computer keyboard and clicking on the mouse as easier for me than trying to restrain a mouse so I can snip off the end of its tail for genotyping (I still do not get how people do this).

Were you ever in a profession that you found ableist? If so, tell me about it in the comments.

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