Viewing disability as a binary condition rather than placing it within a continuum is problematic for numerous reasons. One of the key problems that such a view raises is the promotion of ableism, or discrimination against people with disabilities. Ableism is furthered through the closely related problem that a binary contrast places “disabled” in strict opposition to the supposedly “normal” condition of ableness; this opposition makes people with disabilities seem deviant or abnormal. A third problem is that grouping all people with disabilities into a single category obscures the wide range of conditions and behaviors that can be considered disabilities.
Ableism is increasingly identified as a significant obstacle for people with disabilities. Numerous prejudices and types of discrimination against people with disabilities include stereotypes about the relationships between physical and mental conditions. Such discrimination often supports the continuation of policies and practices that disadvantage people with disabilities.
Positing disability as a binary also promotes the idea that there is a single standard of normality, against which people with disabilities should be measured. In such a scenario, only a tiny fraction of human beings would fit into the able category. Promoting a binary opposition also discourages the acknowledgment of the wide range of conditions that have been or may be considered disabilities.