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#DisabledSnark celebrates the sassiest comebacks to abled people’s insensitive questions

Mark Lyndersay

People with disabilities don’t owe you an explanation.

People on Twitter are sharing their snarkiest comebacks to the inappropriate and ignorant questions abled people have asked them about their disabilities—and they’re hilarious.  

“I cannot count the number of times I literally fell off my chair laughing at the responses to the hashtag,” Nicole G. Cowie, a mental health and disability rights activist from Trinidad and Tobago, told the Daily Dot via email. 

Cowie said she started the hashtag on Saturday after another activist friend, @Tinu, was talking about how strangers often lead with questions like “What’s your disability?” instead of a simple hello.

“I wanted to address the notion that disabled people are not supposed to clapback when you interact with them in a disrespectful way,” Cowie said. “I want to affirm the idea of choice and agency in how a disabled person chooses to respond to an ableist interaction. You don’t have to feel obligated to be the ‘crip ambassador’ and educate people about your disability all the time.”

Cowie says she is happy about the responses because they harkened back to situations she herself has been in where she couldn’t think of the right answer in the moment. And while the responses are humorous—and the hashtag a celebration of sass—they don’t take away from the lessons people are sharing about the insensitivities of abled people.

“Disabled people should be fully human in their interactions with ableist people,” Cowie said. “#DisabledSnark is just one more tool to empower how you choose to respond to ableist interactions.”

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Samira Sadeque

Samira Sadeque

Samira Sadeque is a New York-based journalist reporting on immigration, sexual violence, and mental health, and will sometimes write about memes and dinosaurs too. Her work also appears in Reuters, NPR, and NBC among other publications. She graduated from Columbia Journalism School, and her work has been nominated for SAJA awards. Follow: @Samideque