Able-bodied person: Just change your mindset. Everything else will come.
Me: It's not that easy for disabled artists. There are real barriers.
Able-bodied person: Let's talk about them! I welcome discussion.
I begin to list the myriad of ways disabled artists are locked out of participating in their industries and how it's all ableism to varying degrees. I follow it up by saying inspirational slogans and "mindset changes" only go so far when a lot of the resistance in an artist's career is external. I attempt balance and clarity. She (the able-bodied person) was already dismissive of a disabled artist speaking their truth before I became involved.
Able-bodied person: Where is the personal responsibility? Yes, "ableism" this and that. It's a word I won't soon forget. Where's the call to action?
Other people comment taking her side when no sides existed. Her friends and colleagues imply I was calling her an ableist (because she's pro-slogan, I guess). I assuage everyone's feelings as much as possible before bowing out. I didn't answer her questions, but I wanted to.
Where is my personal responsibility in what? My career? Responsibility in changing things for disabled creatives?
Just because I talk about the bullshit disabled artists face, doesn't mean I try nothing with my career or for my community. I still write, edit, submit, run a mentor program, and promote my work on social media. A person can hustle and still rage against injustice. There are very few artists who do absolutely nothing but bitch about ableism. Why do I feel like she was subtly asking me about being complicit in my own oppression?
I'm not sure I could help her with a "call to action". People either decide exclusion and bigotry are wrong and people should be allowed equal chance and participation... or they don't. After learning something, people either expand their knowledge and find a way to help... or they don't. I didn't realize I needed a podium-ready speech to make someone care about injustice. Maybe I could've given her answers if she asked what allies can do, but the onus was pushed back onto me. Perhaps she just wanted a happier conversation than ableism often requires.