They quickly took down the post after receiving negative criticism from readers. I myself didn’t see the post until another blogger wrote a response to the website.
The Mighty has since issued an apology, asking readers for their feedback. I have felt uncomfortable about the site for a long time and so I decided to send them an email.
Dear the Mighty team,
I am writing to you in response to your call for feedback. I’m a blind student from the UK and hope that I can address some of the issues that have arisen publicly over the last couple of days.
You asked us, your readers three questions and I’m going to respond to them here as best as I can.
What improvements do you want to see made on The Mighty?
I feel like The Mighty consistently values the voices of abled people above those of disabled contributors. For example, there are far more articles written by parents and family members than there are by actual disabled people. This is harmful; there is no other way to say it.
As disabled children we experience huge amounts of ableism, from teachers, classmates…and also our families. The mistake The Mighty makes is that it assumes that living with someone who has a disability means you understand it. It doesn’t. Often parents of disabled children have extremely ableist views, and by publishing them you validate these harmful opinions.
I have a question for you, how many disabled staff do you employ? You have acknowledged that as an abled person you make mistakes, so how are you rectifying this? Are you employing actual disabled people who understand ableism?
I am very concerned that the Mighty focuses on what we call inspiration porn. This is harmful to the disability community. We do not exist so that abled people can do a good deed, or get fuzzy feelings when somebody is nice to us. Many articles involve someone doing something kind for a child. There needs to be more kindness in the world, but what disturbs me about these stories is that the person is lorded for being nice to a disabled person. Disabled children deserve respect; they do not need their life stories being plastered all over the internet before they are too young to consent. It is also extremely worrying that people are being praised for being kind to these children, as if doing something nice for a disabled person is somehow noteworthy.
Which websites and writers are covering this space the right way?
Websites that only promote disabled voices, disability bloggers that are actually disabled. I can’t stress enough how just because you know someone with a disability doesn’t actually mean you know anything about it. Parent voices are feared within the community, because so many disabled children have been unintentionally harmed by those same people.
What are we doing right? If we know this, we can do more of it.
Posts that value the voices of disabled people. That do not portray disability as a tragedy and a burden.
I hope that my response can help you. I am always willing to engage in conversation. I think the Mighty can do better; my real question is if you will.
I hope that The Mighty will respond to me. I’m glad that they are asking for advice, however it disturbs me that they are only doing this now. Why did they create a disability focussed site without considering whether the pieces they publish are harmful to that community?
Why do they continually portray disability, and disabled children especially, as a burden?
Why are parent voices valued so much more than our own?
As a disabled blogger I know the very real struggle to be heard. The world outside doesn’t want to hear what I say because I challenge everything they have been taught to think about disability. I, and other bloggers tell people that it is not ok to objectify us, to pitty us, to use our lives in order to make someone else feel better.
The Mighty can stop doing this, they have a chance to move forward, to change how they accept submitions to the site. I hope they will take into consideration the views of their disabled readers, as opposed to seeking validation from abled people.
If you would like to contact the site with your opinion you can email them at firstname.lastname@example.org