I’m having an argument with someone else who keeps telling me that racism is hating any kind of person. He keeps telling me that racism is sexism, etc.

I just want to know what the term for a person that hates disabled people (like mentally or physically disabled people) would be so I can prove him wrong. I know that’s a little ridiculous, but whatever.

  • 4
    show him a dictionary and then let it go. he'll eventually use the word in the wrong place with the wrong person and get sorted out in a more meaningful way. in terms of hatred of disabled people, i'd call that prejudice.
    – tylerharms
    Mar 14, 2015 at 19:48
  • 13
    The other person seems to be confusing racism with bigotry
    – 7caifyi
    Mar 14, 2015 at 21:36
  • 1
    "Racism" clearly means bigotry based on race.
    – Hot Licks
    Mar 14, 2015 at 21:45
  • 1
    Finding such a word would not prove your friend wrong. If there were a word that meant prejudice against all people of Korean descent, that prejudice would still be racism.
    – Beta
    Mar 15, 2015 at 22:57
  • 1
    If racism is prejudice against race, and ageism is prejudice against age, why wouldn't prejudice against the disabled be disableism?
    – Zan700
    Jun 20, 2015 at 23:53

3 Answers 3


There is apparently a word - ableism - which describes people who are prejudiced against the disabled.

The word is confirmed by the OED, with the following meaning:

Discrimination in favour of able-bodied people; prejudice against or disregard of the needs of disabled people.

  • You were nine seconds late. :)
    – tchrist
    Mar 14, 2015 at 19:54
  • @tchrist Yes my apologies. I will not delete since my response does confirm that the OED is on-side with this.
    – WS2
    Mar 14, 2015 at 21:02
  • 1
    Don’t you dare delete! I was just teasing!!
    – tchrist
    Mar 14, 2015 at 21:04
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    @user3932000, it may be not the best one, but it's the only one I've heard (or read, in Tumblr) in actual usage. Mar 15, 2015 at 20:42
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    @user3932000: The idea that the word racist is overused is controversial and I would say highly political. Rather it seems to be underused by people not familiar with anti-racist thought, reserved only for overt acts of hate or intentional discrimination rather than covering the full spectrum of implicit associations, internalized prejudice, and systemic power structures that reinforce racial inequality. Mar 15, 2015 at 23:43

People who use racist these days to mean nothing more than prejudiced are diluting the brand. According to Oxford Dictionaries Online, a racist is:

A person who shows or feels discrimination or prejudice against people of other races, or who believes that a particular race is superior to another

So racism is about race. Period.

There are various, more specific words for what you are talking about. Per the eponymous Wikipedia entry on handicapism:

Handicapism is a sociological term, which describes a theory and a set of practices that promote unequal and unfair treatment, discrimination and oppression of peoples with apparent or assumed disability, a concept like to racism or sexism.

But then also there is this, again from Wikipedia’s eponymous entry on ableism:

Ableism or ablism (/ˈeɪblɪzəm/) is a form of discrimination or social prejudice against people with disabilities. It may also be referred to as disability discrimination, ablecentrism, physicalism, handicapism, and disability oppression. It includes apotemnophobia and dysmorphophobia. It is also sometimes known as disablism, although there is some dispute as to whether ableism and disablism are synonymous, and some people within disability rights circles find the latter term’s use inaccurate. Discrimination faced by those who have or are perceived to have a mental disorder is sometimes called mentalism rather than ableism.

But if you really want to get somebody’s dander up, you could call them a crippist: someone displaying prejudice against the crippled.

  • 14
    In London back in the 1980s there used to be a home for physically disabled people which straddled the boundary of two London boroughs, one Labour controlled, and one (more leafy suburban) which was Conservative controlled. Approaching from the Labour side (I think it was Enfield) there was a sign warning traffic to Take Care, Disabled Persons Crossing. Approaching from the other direction the sign read Cripples Crossing. It caused some mirth in the media.
    – WS2
    Mar 14, 2015 at 19:59
  • @WS2 That’s hilarious!
    – tchrist
    Mar 14, 2015 at 20:00
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    @WS2 That's so mirthist.
    – Mitch
    Mar 14, 2015 at 20:05
  • @tchrist: Not so hilarious for the ratepayers footing the bill for changing the signs when boundaries change or councils change tribe.
    – Magoo
    Mar 16, 2015 at 1:57

Your friend is obviously misinformed and the word for hatred of disabled is ableism, ageism for those whom are older, transmisia for those who are transgender, and Homomisia for hatred of gay people.

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