Thursday, January 15, 2015

[thoughts on ableist language and why it matters (resource)]

ableist language and why it matters
You might never have even thought that sentences like "He was blind to the realities of his flaws"  or "Legislative changes crippled the economy" could be offensive to some people, but they are.

Ableist language is the use of words like lame, blind, crippling, retarded, and more to describe people or situations that have nothing to do with ability. I recently came across a well-written article on ableist language, written by Rachel Cohen-Rottenberg.

She addresses ten questions about why ableist language matters. Here is one of the questions she addresses:

5. I would never use the N-word because people of color are part of an oppressed group. But disabled people aren't really oppressed. Are they?

Yes, disabled people are members of an oppressed group, and disability rights are a civil rights issue. Disabled people are assaulted at higher rates, live in poverty at higher rates, and are unemployed at higher rates than nondisabled people.

We face widespread exclusion, discrimination, and human rights violations. For an example of what some of the issues are, please take some time over at the Disability Social History Project.
From 10 Questions About Why Ableist Language matters, Answered (source)

What I really appreciate about the article is Cohen-Rottenberg's grasp of the deeper issues behind these questions, including historical contexts and narratives, and the succinct and clear way she responds to them. Check out the rest of the article to learn more!

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