Posted in disability civil rights, Disability etiquette, Politically correct, Public Perceptions of Disability

Sometimes “political correctness” just means seeing people for who they are.

The term, “politically correct” has taken quite a beating in recent years.

The phrase can mean a lot of things, but these days it seems to be used in an insulting manner  – poking fun at people who are trying to be attentive to diversity in our society.

Granted, there are situations where “political correctness” is overdone. (Examples might be describing a janitor as a “sanitation engineer” or  a bald person as “folically challenged.”) But for every situation where the wording seems a bit overstrained, there are several where in fact, an individual is consistently defined not by who they are, but by what they have. (Examples here would be calling someone in a wheelchair “a cripple” or labeling someone with mental illness “a psycho.”}

Words matter, and the attached article does an excellent job of providing alternatives to some of the labels traditionaly used to describe people with disabilities. If there is a common theme, it is the recommendation to use “people first” language, where the fact that someone has a disability is not the first thing you learn about her. Because quite often, it ends up being the only thing that is remembered.

http://ncdj.org/style-guide/

 

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