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message 1: by [deleted user] (last edited Mar 07, 2016 01:56PM) (new)

I've been reading up a lot about intersectionality and came across ableism. Ableism is the discrimination of people with disabilities.

I realised that I was guilty of using ableist language and I've been working on improving my vocabulary. However, it's really difficult for me as so many words are considered acceptable nowadays even though these are ableist.

Examples of phrases are:

They are blind to our cause.
Our problems fell on deaf ears.
Do you stand with me?

10 Questions About Why Ableist Language Matters, Answered
30+ Alternatives to Help You Stop Using Ableist and Homophobic Phrases

I also realised that demonstrations can be ableist as some people are not able to take part due to disabilities.

The world is improving and jokes about ethnicities, religions and genders are being less acceptable. We are starting to provide access to different people and we should not forget to make spaces disability-friendly.

As I mentioned, I have been ableist with my language in the past and I still need to learn more in this field. I would be grateful if we could have a constructive discussion of how we can avoid ableism in our daily lives.


message 2: by Katelyn, Our Shared Shelf Moderator (new)

Katelyn (katelynrh) | 836 comments Mod
Moved to Intersectionality folder


message 3: by Aglaea (new)

Aglaea | 987 comments Thanks for raising our awareness on this important aspect of feminism!

I was about to post something on Instagram, and found myself editing my words in my mind, thanks to having skimmed through this post earlier. It involved seeing, and while I think it's worth looking (grrr) at what we could do better, some concepts are also extremely ingrained in various languages.

Do these expressions (sensory disabilities) offend/hurt each time any of them are used, or is it more restricted, like in the examples of the two linked articles? I'd like to understand more about this important topic.

As for mental capacities and mental diseases, sexuality etc., I think all of the expressions should have been edited out of language used, yesterday. Personally I feel it's a lack of imagination and huge laziness not to think of any other word than OCD or similar.

I appreciated the alternatives offered in the second link, but the first one on deafness and blindness left me wanting more.


message 4: by Sherrie (new)

Sherrie | 184 comments I hear a lot of people talking about ableism, and it's certainly something that needs more attention, but we also need to be cognizant of not creating a problem where one doesn't exist.

For example, you use the phrase "They are blind to our cause." ...is that actually offensive to blind people? Have any sociologists studied this? I ask because the blind people I know, when asked, say they are not offended by this. The word, blind, has meaning. It means to not be able to see. If they are not able to see our cause...that's a factual statement and not a slight to people who are physically blind.

My example is anecdotal and I don't want to make an argument based on that...so please, if anybody has some scientific data on this I would love to read it. Thanks.


message 5: by [deleted user] (new)

I'm not blind - so I'm not speaking from experience, however I think that using this word in that sense is ableist. 'Blind' is used as an insult and has a negative connotation. Are people who are actually blind automatically ignoring our cause due to their disability? This is what it seems to insinuate.

Saying: "you throw like a girl" is also discrimination and I think that in our society, we realise this and there's active work being done to stop using 'girl' as an insult. It's the same way, I see the word: 'blind'.

Why not use alternatives that do not use the characteristics of people as insults?


message 6: by [deleted user] (last edited Mar 09, 2016 07:15AM) (new)

Sherrie wrote: "If they are not able to see our cause...that's a factual statement and not a slight to people who are physically blind. "

Are they really not able to see or are they being unreasonable or uninterested in find out what the issue is? I have seen argumentation similar to yours when people complain about positive racial discrimination, sexism and micro-agreesions. There will always be people who are not offended by cat-calling etc., it's still wrong - in my opinion.


"Blinded by privileged": ableist language in critical discourse

Words and Able-ism

Ableist language alternatives

Some more sources.


message 7: by Sherrie (new)

Sherrie | 184 comments I see your point, Anja, but none of the sources you provide bother to ask an actual disabled person their views on this let alone conduct an actual study on the issue. That's the information I'm looking for before I decide my views on this.

As it stands, it reads like a lot of privileged people trying to solve a problem that doesn't exist...albeit with the absolute best of intentions.


message 8: by Sherrie (new)

Sherrie | 184 comments Here is an interesting counterpoint to the Feminist Philosophers link you posted. Just something to ponder as we figure this all out.

http://nocookiesforme.blogspot.com/20...


message 9: by [deleted user] (new)

The first link I posted in message 1: 10 Questions About Why Ableist Language Matters, Answered Rachel Cohen-Rottenberg has autism - thus most probably the reason why she did not need to ask a disabled person for their opinion.

And one other:

Being crazy: An insider’s view on ableist language


message 10: by MeerderWörter (new)

MeerderWörter | 2388 comments It is an interesting and crucial subject. And German is full of it, i.e.: You throw like a girl.

But, apart from that, I think it is important to become conscious about ableisms.

Always remember, never forget:
Be kind to everyone, 'cause everyone's fighting a battle we can't see.


message 11: by Bunny (last edited Mar 09, 2016 08:48AM) (new)

Bunny I think sometimes the questions about "is it really so bad to say x?" are as much about wanting to know if its okay to get it wrong sometimes as they are about wanting to deny the problem altogether. Its okay to get it wrong sometimes, being called out isn't the end of the world and you can just acknowledge it and move on. Like, "oh, I spoke thoughtlessly, I apologize and will keep trying to learn and do better, now about that other thing..."

I have a tendency myself to be too casual about the use of language about mental illness. I am working on it, but I still make mistakes sometimes. If I make a mistake I acknowledge it and try to do better, but I don't go into a huge shame spiral because that just demands everyone else stop what they are doing and comfort me for having screwed up. Which seems a bit... maybe not the best choice.

Also different communities and groups have different mores about what's acceptable language. I think its important to be more careful in a big public group like this where people don't know each other. What I mean is, for example, I sometimes spend time with a group that includes some soldiers who are actually disabled and who do call each other names, but they have known and been supportive of each other for years and its very much an in group thing, which I would never try to take outside of the group and claim its okay in a different setting.


message 12: by Sherrie (new)

Sherrie | 184 comments Are we talking about mental illness specifically or all disabilities? I think there's a fundamental difference in how society uses words about mental illness as an insult (i.e. retarded, psycho, etc) and using a word like "blind" to mean "lacking perception" (as represented in OP's comment).

The first would be malicious ableism and I hope we all agree that's bad and to be avoided and something we need to raise awareness about.

The second is using a definition of the word that is different, but not necessarily malicious. The question at hand is if that is something to be avoided? I'm not sure of the answer and would love to get the perspective of someone (or several someones) with disabilities to discuss this.


message 13: by [deleted user] (new)

Ableist words such as 'crazy' or 'insane' also belong to the category of having different definitions, however I still consider them wrong.

When I started this topic, I did mean to cover all disabilities.


message 14: by Bunny (last edited Mar 09, 2016 08:59AM) (new)

Bunny Ableism is about all disabilities. Specifically its about organizing things - stairs, doors, language, menus, tv programs, job applications, internet platforms in ways that intentionally or unintentionally exclude or push away members of the community who have disabilities. Sometimes casual use of language can make a person feel unwelcome or misunderstood. Its not the absolute end of the world but if someone were to say to me I'm blind and I would prefer you not use the word blind to mean willfully obtuse, I would certainly apologize and not do so in future.


message 15: by Bunny (new)

Bunny Crazy is a good example of a word I still use sometimes and have to catch myself. Someone will tell me something and I'll say "that's crazy!" and then have to remind myself that I'm trying to discontinue that one. But again, its not the end of the world, its just oh oops, try again.


message 16: by MeerderWörter (new)

MeerderWörter | 2388 comments I think it is really important to talk to other people when it comes to ableism. Only together we can become aware of expressions that are offensive to some people in our society. When we discover such expressions, we have to acknowledge them, and remind us not to use them anymore.


message 17: by Aglaea (new)

Aglaea | 987 comments The first link in the OP is about sensory disabilities (hearing, seeing), which as a topic hasn't been very active globally yet. I would have loved to have people affected by language in relation to their respective disability weigh in, the way we got examples of replacement words in the second one.

My current impression is that the first article was written by someone not disabled, but admittedly I skimmed through and may have missed something. Please correct me if I'm wrong!

The second article, off the top of my head:
ADD, ADHD, OCD, depression, schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, autism, CP, Asperger's, "general mental illness" (nuts, insane, crazy, etc.).

Sherry, to answer your question or reply to your comment:
There are many more, of course, but what many of the cases have in common is that a loved one might have to step in to defend the person affected, if they are too ill or unable to advocate for themselves. And defended they have. In the West it shouldn't come as a surprise to many that "Are you retarded?" is extremely rude and hurtful. Family members have begged society to stop throwing that and other words around, as were they confetti.

If we want to say that someone behaves in a very stupid way, we don't have to say they are acting retarded, but we can come up with replacement words.

I also cringe when people, who clearly have no idea of what it's like to have OCD, are using the word to boost their coolness factor or whatever nonsense it is. They should follow a person suffering from severe OCD for one day.


message 18: by [deleted user] (new)

Aglaea wrote: "The first link in the OP is about sensory disabilities (hearing, seeing), which as a topic hasn't been very active globally yet. I would have loved to have people affected by language in relation t..."

The first article was written by someone who has autism according to my research.


message 19: by Aglaea (new)

Aglaea | 987 comments Anja wrote: "Aglaea wrote: "The first link in the OP is about sensory disabilities (hearing, seeing), which as a topic hasn't been very active globally yet. I would have loved to have people affected by languag..."

Oh, sorry I wasn't clearer. I meant deafness or blindness, neither of which have been brought into public media yet, compared to "retarded" or "crazy" or such.


message 20: by Sherrie (new)

Sherrie | 184 comments *Sherrie not Sherry.

It sounds like we all agree that using words like retarded and crazy in a derogatory manner is a problem. Because of course it is. It's derogatory and mean spirited.

My question goes back to the original post. One of the examples used was "They are blind to our cause." and I question where or not that's actually a problematic sentence. I did some searching through blogs written by people with disabilities (found a great one by a lady with CP called Crippled Scholar if you're interested) and none of them ever mention words like blind or stand or deaf as being a problem in spite of discussing ableism extensively.

This is reading to me like a solution to a problem that doesn't exist. If none of the people with disabilities in my life, as well as those I find writing about the topic online, do not have a problem with words like blind (I keep coming back to this example because blind people are who I have the most experience with. My mother is blind as well as some friends) then I can only assume it's not the big deal we're making it out to be.


message 21: by Heide (new)

Heide | 135 comments I'm totally guilty of using ableist language, too. I have a lot to unlearn.

I would love to read more from the perspective of people with disabilities/ activists. I realized this is a field I don't know much about and I want to improve. So if anyone can recommend blogs or channels, that would be great.

I recently found the channel of HotPinkSun which is great https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCTxb...


message 22: by Astrid (new)

Astrid | 215 comments I would agree with Sherrie.

I think we should leave it to the people who actually have a certain disability or condition to decide whether a term is problematic. It seems kind of arrogant to decide what words they should be hurt by.

I have never met a blind person who'd be offended if I said that somebody is 'blind to their faults'. Or a deaf person who'd be upset if I said something fell on deaf ears.
As Sherrie said, these expressions don't use blind or deaf as derogatory words; they're just metaphors.


message 23: by Heide (new)

Heide | 135 comments Sometimes you don't even have to say one of "those words" and it can still offend and stigmatize. Unfortunately Bernie Sanders did that mistake http://www.vox.com/2016/3/6/11171282/...


message 24: by Sara (new)

Sara Anja wrote: "The first link I posted in message 1: 10 Questions About Why Ableist Language Matters, Answered Rachel Cohen-Rottenberg has autism - thus most probably the reason why she did not need to ask a disa..."

I have a question - is the writer of that article, because she has autism, considered, then, an authority on all ableist language (including, language referring to blind, deaf, handicapped)? This is a very difficult topic and I feel like people from all walks of life, including voices from people will all kinds of disabilities, should be a part of the conversation.

I have had many discussions about this with my friend, who is paraplegic and she has often said that she want's this kind of stuff to be talked about and that it's better, even if it's uncomfortable for both parties, for people to talk about this and that no shaming or finger pointing be involved, because that tends to quiet the discussion or makes able-bodied people afraid to even talk about it, thus ignoring the problem. It's certainly something that more people should be thinking about. Thank you for bringing it into discussion!


message 25: by Sherrie (new)

Sherrie | 184 comments I think Sara brings up a good point when she asks if the author of the article (the person with autism) is an authority on ableist language. What may be offensive to one person might not be to another. The best way to know for sure is to know the person you are talking to and not be afraid to ask if you're unsure what's acceptable to say.

This reminds me, quite a bit, of discussions I've had with a couple trans friends of mine. I have 2 and they are both VERY different in how they self-identify. Something they have in common, though, is that they appreciate when people just ask what is the correct pronoun to use or what is the correct term to use to describe things. I appreciate that as a cis-female who wants to say the right thing, but doesn't always know what the right thing is. :)


message 26: by [deleted user] (new)

Sherrie wrote: "I think Sara brings up a good point when she asks if the author of the article (the person with autism) is an authority on ableist language. What may be offensive to one person might not be to anot..."

I think there are some words that are offensive and may not be offensive to another person. For example, when talking about racism, the word 'exotic' comes to mind. I would find it terribly offensive if someone uses this word. I think people are on the safe side if they just try to avoid words that may be offensive.

Sara wrote: "Anja wrote: "The first link I posted in message 1: 10 Questions About Why Ableist Language Matters, Answered Rachel Cohen-Rottenberg has autism - thus most probably the reason why she did not need ..."

The question that I answered was whether she was disabled, not if she is an authority. I wouldn't want to answer that question as I'm not disabled.


message 27: by Aglaea (new)

Aglaea | 987 comments Personally I have no problem with exotic. When talking to Asian taxi drivers, I've found they think of me just that way, asked questions such as "where are you from". Our conversations aren't normal in their everyday life and I'm happy to bring a piece of my exotic-in-their-eyes culture/country with me to share with them. They are curious most of the time, and have a positive attitude. What is not to appreciate about such a treatment? I like questions.


message 28: by Aglaea (new)

Aglaea | 987 comments Sara wrote: "Anja wrote: "The first link I posted in message 1: 10 Questions About Why Ableist Language Matters, Answered Rachel Cohen-Rottenberg has autism - thus most probably the reason why she did not need ..."

If the writer is neither deaf nor blind, she has the same authority as I do to speak on behalf of that kind of disabled people, at least in my opinion.


message 29: by [deleted user] (new)

Aglaea wrote: "Sara wrote: "Anja wrote: "The first link I posted in message 1: 10 Questions About Why Ableist Language Matters, Answered Rachel Cohen-Rottenberg has autism - thus most probably the reason why she ..."

Nooo, disabled people want us to treat them differently, as if they were made of glass. They don't want to be treated like anyone else, they like to be reminded of their disability everytime one has the chance. That's how we show them that we respect them even if they can't see or hear or whatever.


message 30: by Melissa (new)

Melissa Cunning | 10 comments This is an interesting subject that has come up for me as I am a woman with a physical disability. I walk with two forearm crutches due to cerebral palsy.

People make assumptions about me everyday. But I consider that my challenge to show them what I can do.

Some of the things I've seen said here, I can address. First thing, always used people focused language Ex: I am a person with a disability. NOT I am a disabled person. The disability is not who I am. I am a person first.

Second, I hate the use of the word cripple or crippled. It is one of the most demeaning terms I've ever heard and I've engaged in many fights over the use of it. It has such a derogatory context in today's day and age. Please don't use it.


message 31: by [deleted user] (new)

Melissa wrote: "This is an interesting subject that has come up for me as I am a woman with a physical disability. I walk with two forearm crutches due to cerebral palsy.

People make assumptions about me everyday..."


Thanks for that insight Melissa. I am guilty of sometimes using disability-focussed language.

Aglaea wrote: "Personally I have no problem with exotic. When talking to Asian taxi drivers, I've found they think of me just that way, asked questions such as "where are you from". Our conversations aren't norma..."

I explained what I find rude about this word in the thread: white feminism. It's the fact that the person is treated as an 'other'.


message 32: by Aglaea (new)

Aglaea | 987 comments Anja wrote: "Aglaea wrote: "Personally I have no problem with exotic. When talking to Asian taxi drivers, I've found they think of me just that way, asked questions such as "where are you from". Our conversations aren't norma..."

I explained what I find rude about this word in the thread: white feminism. It's the fact that the person is treated as an 'other'."


I understand your opinion. I just wanted to say that I personally don't find it rude in all contexts. The "otherness" can be refreshing, too, a conversation starter for something positive. I am "other" in a sea of Asian faces, and I'm fine with it. It's the way I was born, and if someone is curious about my geographic origin, I'm happy to share information about it. If the person asking something about my heritage were to think rude thoughts in their head, I still have a chance to mold the encounter to something positive - and I often try to twist events to my own advantage, to a learning experience, and to a springboard for increased understanding of myself. I don't have the energy to feel offended constantly about something.

Maybe I would think differently if I was adopted from a country, then brought up in a place where I'd look very different from the majority of the population, and where I'd face rude questions on my exotic/other appearance frequently, but I wasn't and so I can't comment on that perspective.


message 33: by Katelyn, Our Shared Shelf Moderator (new)

Katelyn (katelynrh) | 836 comments Mod
Don't mean to hijack the thread, but I wanted to draw your attention to a link I posted in another thread: https://www.goodreads.com/topic/show/...

It's a relatively recent interview with bell hooks. It doesn't deal specifically with All About Love: New Visions, so go ahead and read it whether you've read this month's book yet or not!

In the interview (which I thought was good overall despite some parts with which I took issue), she categorizes white supremacist and patriarchal biases in individuals as mental illness. I was curious, given this conversation, what you all might think about that! Feel free to respond here or in that thread :)


message 34: by MeerderWörter (new)

MeerderWörter | 2388 comments Leo wrote: "Aglaea wrote: "Sara wrote: "Anja wrote: "The first link I posted in message 1: 10 Questions About Why Ableist Language Matters, Answered Rachel Cohen-Rottenberg has autism - thus most probably the ..."

Leo, I am terribly sorry, but I have to disagree. If one is different from the others, and has problems coming to terms with it, or explaining it, it is crucial to remind them of it. I'm sure you never thought about what it's like to not be able to have children biologically, how awful that has to feel. I'm sure you would not want to be reminded of it, everytime, when somebody speaks about babies, conceiving, menstruation and all the related issues. I, at least, have thought about it and that's not a state you want to be reminded of, that's sure for me.

Sherrie wrote: "I think Sara brings up a good point when she asks if the author of the article (the person with autism) is an authority on ableist language. What may be offensive to one person might not be to anot..."

Sherrie, I share your opinion. We're all different, we all value different topics different and we all have a different life's story.
i.e.: The term hermaphrodite is very offensive for some people, that have intersex traits, while others like to be adressed as such. For others, the term intersex is very offensive, since they are reminded of what they have endured as a child and youth, when they were treated by physicians. The same condition, different words, very different opinion on these words.


message 35: by Astrid (last edited Mar 12, 2016 06:09PM) (new)

Astrid | 215 comments Katelyn wrote: "Don't mean to hijack the thread, but I wanted to draw your attention to a link I posted in another thread: https://www.goodreads.com/topic/show/......"

I only read the parts of the interview that you referenced, but I think her comments are unbelievably foolish.

First of all, I realize that none of us here are big fans of either the patriarchy or white supremacy, but just because someone believes something we disagree with, it doesn't mean they have a mental disorder.
Patriarchy is a social system; white supremacy is an ideology (and asshole-ism). Neither if these things have anything to do with mental illness.
White supremacists are ignorant and racist, but - at least most of them - are completely sane. Saying that their ignorance is an expression of mental illness not only absolves them of responsibility, it misrepresents what mental disorders actually are.

I'm in mental disorder category F3, and I'd really like to not be compared to white supremacists just because my brain doesn't work like other people's.

Someone who believes in white supremacy or patriarchy can be educated. They can learn about minorities/race/equality, and they can see the light (so to speak).
It doesn't matter how much anyone tries to educate me, I still have to take my medication and do a lot of work to function normally.
In my opinion, it seems like she doesn't really get what 'mental illness' actually means.


message 36: by MeerderWörter (new)

MeerderWörter | 2388 comments @Astrid:
That's what I thought as well! To say patriarchy or supremacy are mental disorders not only shows that she doesn't understand what mental disorders are, but furthermore it insults people who have to deal with mental disorders.

The other parts were really good and mind-broadening, but on the mental health issue she really sucked. I'm sorry, but I can't express it differently.


message 37: by Katelyn, Our Shared Shelf Moderator (new)

Katelyn (katelynrh) | 836 comments Mod
I felt the same way about it. I thought of this thread immediately when I read that, as I've been following along and I was like "here is a perfect example of what everyone has been saying in the OSS thread on Ableism!" I like it when we can connect these general discussions to the books and authors we read (even though in this case, it is an unfortunate connection).


message 38: by Finnella (new)

Finnella Flanagan | 6 comments It's so true that this is going to vary widely between people. I'm fine with some words such as 'crazy' or 'nuts' though I'd respect the wishes of anyone who was hurt by them. I'm not even particularly sensitive to someone directing those words at me unless I felt they were trying to mock my depression or Aspergers.

One of my biggest gripes is actually amongst people who object to the very word 'disabled'. The example that springs to mind has a large web presence but is not, to the best of my knowledge, disabled herself. The preferred phrase is supposed to be 'differently abled'. I've been totally disabled due to fibromyalgia for over 10 years and have the validity of my disability questioned far and wide. I had to fight hard to receive disability benefits, and people still look at me and assume I must be perfectly healthy.

I suggest that anyone interested in learning more about invisible disabilities start here: https://invisibledisabilities.org/.

I agree with everyone in this thread who's pointed out that there is going to be widespread disagreement on disabilities and language.


message 39: by MeerderWörter (new)

MeerderWörter | 2388 comments Finnella wrote: "It's so true that this is going to vary widely between people. I'm fine with some words such as 'crazy' or 'nuts' though I'd respect the wishes of anyone who was hurt by them. I'm not even particul..."

Thank you for the link. A lot to learn pleasures the Ravenclaw in me. Knowledge means power and might for me.


message 40: by Aglaea (new)

Aglaea | 987 comments These past few comments remind me of something an American once told me off in regards to. I used the word that describes white skin, albino/albinism, and she was deeply offended.

Where I am, it has no such negative connotation, at least not yet, so while I apologised for having hurt her, I also thought the reaction was completely out of proportion.

She had failed to put herself in my shoes, because I can't read minds and I don't know your culture, your context, so it's ludicrous to assume that just because I master English fairly well these days, I'd also know your local customs, what is forbidden aka politically incorrect today to say.


message 41: by Astrid (new)

Astrid | 215 comments Aglaea wrote: "These past few comments remind me of something an American once told me off in regards to. I used the word that describes white skin, albino/albinism, and she was deeply offended.

Where I am, it h..."


In this case it's not about knowing someone's culture or words that can mean different things. It's about picking up a dictionary.

White supremacy: ideology.
Patriarchy: social system.
Mental disorder: a diagnosis of a behavioral or mental pattern that causes either suffering or a poor ability to function in ordinary life.

It shouldn't be necessary to have extraordinary insight into mental illnesses to know that you can't equate ideology/social systems with a diagnosis of a mental patterns.

I'm not talking about people with mental disorders being hurt by words here. As far as I'm concerned, people can say crazy, loony, stupid, idiot, retarded - whatever they want.
But it worries me when an important feminist author, who is so concerned with language as a construct that can support or dismantle toxic ideas - when someone as aware as her completely misrepresents what mental illness actually is.

As I said, mental disorder isn't about preconceived notions, ideas or opinions. It's not something that you can cure with education or by challenging the status quo.

When she says that people she disagree with have mental disorders it isn't politically incorrect; it's just plain wrong. For the most part, people who are racist, chauvinist dirtbags are also completely sane.

At the risk of being self-indulgent: people with mental disorders can have a hard enough time as it is, trying to explain their condition to 'normal' people. With this interview, she's just introducing even more misconceptions about mental disability.


message 42: by Aglaea (new)

Aglaea | 987 comments Astrid, I feel I'm not entirely sure I'm following why you quoted me and added the reply that you did in this thread, because which author? bell hooks? This wasn't a book thread so I'm a tad confused. And what do you mean when referring to "this case"? Albinism? I can't see in my own dictionary that it is a word to avoid.

As for my albinism comment, my meandering thinking started at hermaphrodite some comments up. It was news to me that this word, too, might be offensive to some people. As would intersex. The only point I wanted to make that amidst all this vocabulary it is easy to offend, quite unintentionally too, which people in general might wish to recall.

"Mental disorder: a diagnosis of a behavioral or mental pattern that causes either suffering or a poor ability to function in ordinary life.

It shouldn't be necessary to have extraordinary insight into mental illnesses to know that you can't equate ideology/social systems with a diagnosis of a mental patterns."

Was that some kind of negative feedback to me? I'm not totally unfamiliar with medicine, and never claimed anything of the sort.


message 43: by Svenia (new)

Svenia | 3 comments I ask myself what we will be allowed to say in the future?
e.g. those examples Anja brought up:
"They are blind to our cause.
Our problems fell on deaf ears.
Do you stand with me?"
i understand those words as describing and underlining a certain behavior not as an insult. I wonder how you would say them in a way that is not "inappropriate" in your eyes?

I totally agree with using words like "mongo", "retarded", "sick" especially when meant as insults.

oh, and i asked myself, as i was reading this thread, if we are already discriminating against people with disabilities because we call them as such and therefore unwillingly devide people into two categories like disabled and non-disabled (what ever that means)?


message 44: by Astrid (new)

Astrid | 215 comments Aglaea wrote: "Astrid, I feel I'm not entirely sure I'm following why you quoted me and added the reply that you did in this thread, because which author? bell hooks? This wasn't a book thread so I'm a tad confus..."

Sorry! I thought your comment was a response to the stuff about the bell hooks interview (a few comments up).


message 45: by Aglaea (new)

Aglaea | 987 comments Astrid wrote: "Aglaea wrote: "Astrid, I feel I'm not entirely sure I'm following why you quoted me and added the reply that you did in this thread, because which author? bell hooks? This wasn't a book thread so I..."

Ah, glad we sorted it out then! :)


message 46: by Heide (new)

Heide | 135 comments Finnella wrote: "It's so true that this is going to vary widely between people. I'm fine with some words such as 'crazy' or 'nuts' though I'd respect the wishes of anyone who was hurt by them. I'm not even particul..."

There is also an opposite viewpoint. Some don't like the term "differently abled" because it further "others" people with disablities. Instead they want to reclaim the word disability and just erase the negative connotation behind it. This is an interesting blogpost form explaining why she prefers disabled http://www.autistichoya.com/2013/08/d...
She says her disability is an important part of her identity and she doesn't want to hide that part of her in order to pass as an abled person.


message 47: by Heide (last edited Mar 15, 2016 01:38PM) (new)

Heide | 135 comments Svenia wrote: "I ask myself what we will be allowed to say in the future?
e.g. those examples Anja brought up:
"They are blind to our cause.
Our problems fell on deaf ears.
Do you stand with me?"
i understand th..."


http://www.autistichoya.com/p/ableist... Here is a long list of suggestions for words one can use instead of an ableist word (you have to scroll down to "Instead of an ableist word, perhaps you actually meant to say...")


message 48: by Aglaea (new)

Aglaea | 987 comments Haydée wrote: "This is an interesting blogpost form explaining why she prefers disabled http://www.autistichoya.com/2013/08/d...
She says her disability is an important part of her identity and she doesn't want to hide that part of her in order to pass as an abled person."


I'm not intending to bring the topic to this thread at all, but merely as an analogy. In the White Feminism thread, there's a bunch of links in one of which is mentioned how "I don't see race" sounds when coming from a white person's mouth. While I understand what might be meant by such a statement, it's also rather offensive if we think about it. The same with disability, in particular if it's right there for the world to see (shorter stature to mention one example). Instead of pretending it isn't there, we might want to be prepared to help, should it be asked for.

Once in a grocery store, I asked a short person whether she needed a hand at the cashier. I was standing right after her in line and she was struggling a lot with basket and wheelchair. She looked pissy and never even acknowledged my question. Sad thing is I would have asked anyone, for instance a mom with a kid in tow or an older person with a walking stick or something, in a similar situation. I wasn't singling anyone out in a bad way, asked a neutral and polite question, yet was met with a stick up someone's ass, so in terms of disabled in wheelchairs, I'll stop asking, and only offer help when specifically hearing a question or seeing an unspoken question in someone's eyes. (And had I seen this woman's facial expression, I would never have opened my mouth to begin with, lesson learned.)


message 49: by Jodi (new)

Jodi  (gingerbreadgirl) | 9 comments I'm disabled, I have Lupus and resulting kidney disease which is very advanced. As such, I follow a few blogs aimed at life with chronic invisible illness. One of the most prevalent topics discussed is ableism and how to interact with ableists.

I saw a comment above by @Melissa stating the language used should always mention her first and disability second. I recently read a blog post by someone who wanted the exact opposite and preferred to be referred to with her disability first. So I would argue that, as with many things, it comes down to personal choice. But I 100% would support your choice in being a person first, Melissa. I just think it's a bit like feminism itself, all about choices.


message 50: by Jodi (new)

Jodi  (gingerbreadgirl) | 9 comments also, to follow up on comments on invisible disabilities as posted by @Finella, things become very tricky. Ableism is being excluded or discriminated against because of your disability and it becomes all the more difficult when people aren't sure what your disability is. For some reason, most people think it's their business to find out.

When I read blog posts from other people suffering chronic, invisible illnesses such as myself, I frequently see stories of people approached by total strangers. They (we) receive comments like, What's a young girl like you at a rheumatologist for? What do you need that came for? What's wrong with you?

Many people are really offended when questioned. They often say that having a disability doesn't diminish their right to privacy. Personally I don't mind if the person is not being rude- I think the more you discuss things the more we "normalize" disabilities. But people do make assumptions.

Yes I have a handicap plate, my legs may work fine but my organs do not!! Walking a few yards exhausts me. Similarly, there are people who use wheelchairs to preserve energy, or because their hearts are weak, or they have hyper mobility and risk joint dislocation. It's no ones place to comment just because someone is in a wheelchair and they stand up for a minute or two for something. You don't have a disability and you don't understand, so why is it your place to tell off someone who walks out of their handicapped spot or does something you think "proves" they are faking?

In short, things would be smoother if we could all be a bit less judgemental and remember that lots of people are fighting silent battles. Be kind.

Check it out: www.butyoudontlooksick.com


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