piranha: red origami crane (Default)
[personal profile] piranha
spurred by a post from the ever-thoughtful [personal profile] coffeeandink i think it's time that i attack my own ableist language. for example, i use terms such as "lame" and "dumb" to disparage myself, and i believe i should stop. not with the disparaging, mind, but with side-swiping disabled people while i am doing it.

i'd never call a person with a disability "lame" or "crippled" to their face (or behind their back, or even just in my mind), and i thought that was good enough. i also used the justification that those terms i liked best were outdated. but i missed the fact that they still carry their history, and that people who're living with a disability are often all too aware of the history and of its remaining echoes, and how that affects their treatment today.

saying "that was a lame excuse", or calling some software "cripple-ware", or using metaphors such as "the government remains deaf and blind to the plight of native peoples" still support society's negative attitudes and often false beliefs about disability. and why in the world should disabled people be designated the go-to folks for us temporarily abled folks expressing the particular suckiness of a situation? that seems quite wrong to me. and it goes deeper than being wrong because it hurts their feelings; it's also wrong because it reduces them to this one sucky thing, and because it gives altogether a false impression of what living with a disability is like.

while it'll take some getting used to (old habits are hard to break), i don't consider it a hardship to do without those terms -- it's not like english has a shortage of colourful words if i really feel moved to insult. heck, it could be a fun challenge to come up with good ones that don't put down an already disadvantaged group.

here's my starting list of words to no longer use to disparage something or somebody: blind, crazy, cretin, crippled, deaf, dumb, idiot, imbecile, insane, lame, moron, paranoid, psycho, retarded, schizo, spaz, stupid, using something as a crutch. please call me on them if you notice a slip-up. and you might consider your own use, at least in my journal. i am not gonna police them, but i appreciate mindfulness and support for a habit change.

i don't doubt there are more words like that; feel free to share any you think are problematic, and why. i am consolidating comments on dreamwidth because i want to keep them all in one place for this.
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piranha: red origami crane (Default)
renaissance poisson

July 2015

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