- strangers: so where did you go to school?
- me: I'd rather forget.
- strangers: What is your job situation?
- me: I'd rather forget.
omg battle of the maknaes
whitepencil asked: Hi! I ran into your article about ableist language and it made me think if there were any non-ableist idioms. For example, how can one say "being crazy for someone" or "mad about someone" without being ableist? (Sorry, I mean no offense with this question, the article just made me wonder about this, so I thought I'd ask.)
Hey, sorry, I just saw this question. (Tumblr is apparently not where I spent most of my time.)
I actually have a list of possible alternatives to ableist things on my own website, www.autistichoya.com, on the ableist language page (at the bottom), but I think most of those are aimed at the more negative feelings people want to express when they resort to ableist language. Instead of “being crazy for someone” or “mad about someone,” how about, “I would climb a thousand metaphorical mountains for you!” or “I would defeat a thousand metaphorical armies for you!” or “My love for you is like the burning intensity of a thousand flaming suns!” Why not just be more creative?
I don’t understand all of this article, as a lot of it is quite abstract (geez, accessibility problem much?) But here are some problems that I have with the article:
-Essentializes the meaning of words when, in fact, language changes over time. There are colloquial meanings of words which may not appear in dictionaries. And anyway, there’s a reason that new versions of the dictionary are printed every year. So to my mind…if most usages of the word “stupid” are incorrect usages, then what’s really incorrect? The colloquial usage or the definition? Who decides what words mean? And is not the assumption that the official definitions of words define their meaning in all circumstances a rather elitist one?
-Not all people with cognitive/developmental disabilities agree that “stupid” is a slur, and it’s damned irritating for someone to claim otherwise, regardless of their own disability status.
-Also, disability is not a uniform experience, even/especially within the variable category of “cognitive/developmental disabilities.” I am not arguing for the imposition of dehumanizing functioning labels, but I do think we as a community need to have greater awareness of disability experiences which may be very different from our own. I, as an autistic person who has never been considered to have an intellectual, cannot claim to know the experiences of someone who has been considered to have ID and is commonly perceived as that by the world at large. It would quite frankly be insulting if I were to claim I knew that experience, when I really don’t. I feel like I can best support people with different disability experiences than mine by actually listening to them, not by imposing my construct of what discrimination against them looks like. And really, look at this article. How many people, with or without disabilities, are capable of understanding it fully? I certainly can’t, and I can certainly imagine that many people with developmental and cognitive disabilities—supposedly the population which is being protected—can’t understand it, either. Why is True Disability Activism so incomprehensible?
-On a similar point, does this author realize that many people with ID/DD use the word “stupid” (and other so-called slurs) and may have a particularly hard time changing their language?
-This commentary doesn’t address my own criticism, which is basically that the “don’t say stupid” form of “activism” works to reinforce the connection between “stupidity” as a concept and disability, when in fact no such connection exists in the majority of such usages. To me, the assumption that every use of the word “stupid” is disability-related simply reinforces misconceptions and stigma. It doesn’t destroy it. I strongly question whether this is a productive line of activism for disability rights activism. I am not familiar with the blog disputes referenced in the articles, but I have a hard time believing that the usage of the word “stupid” is the biggest ableism-related problem within this particular blogging community. When this becomes our hill to die on…do we really do a good job representing our position to audiences which are by and large very unfamiliar with our ideas?