Monthly Archives: March 2012

Handi… Disab… hmmm….

I’d like to take a moment. A serious moment to discuss something I’ve been mulling about in my head.

Labelling the Handicapped, Persons With Disabilities, the differently abled etc.

It has come to my attention that there are committees, persons, groups, etc. that discuss what exactly disabled people need to be called, in particular the medical or social assistance fields of work. I find it curious that ‘abled’ persons feel this need to label us with kinder words, and by us I mean that I have a handicap. Labels are fine to some degree, it helps us define boundaries and comfort levels among many other things. What I find offensive is able bodied groups deciding it for me, that they know better than I do what category I fall into.

I hope these meetings at least have a representative of the group they are trying to compartmentalize. Actually no, I’m gonna play hardball on this one. Drop the need for politically correct labels in everday conversation altogether. Handicapped is not a dirty word. Disabled is not a dirty word. They are facts of life. We have evolved to a state where a certain form is normal and thats just the way it is. The problem is that there are so many varying degrees of handicaps/disabilities that people need that line drawn but its not possible to draw it anymore. We have people with artificial limbs doing things unthought of years ago, but in my case while I am doing many many things I couldn’t had i been born a different generation, I am still not able to do everything someone ‘normal’ can.

It gets tricky though because of this nugget:

The ‘Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990’ It prohibits discrimination against Americans with disabilities, not those with ‘handicaps’ or ‘retardations’.

That is a bit scary if it is true. When it comes to laws very specific labels are needed to ensure protection from well… everything, so a label allows a group to have equality. Like anyone I want to be treated as an individual but at the same time I might need more protection from discrimination than one who appears more ‘normal’ if I belong to a category covered by law.

From a law standpoint labels are needed, for everyone in this world. But I don’t think people should be ashamed to refer to someone as handicapped if they meet or see them on the street and have an obvious physical disability. It has to be okay to use words with their intended meaning.

TL;DR if you’re going to label me, ask me.