FWD/ Forward (Feminists with Disabilities) has been putting together a fantastic series of posts on ableist language.
From the introductory post Why I write about ableist language:
- Ableist Word Profile is an ongoing FWD/Forward series in which we explore ableism and the way it manifests in language usage.
- Here’s what this series is about: Examining word origins, the way in which ableism is unconsciously reinforced, the power that language has.
- Here’s what this series is not about: Telling people which words they can use to define their own experiences, rejecting reclamatory word usage, telling people which words they can and cannot use.
- You don’t necessarily have to agree that a particular profiled word or phrase is ableist; we ask you to think about the way in which the language that we use is influenced, both historically and currently, by ableist thought.
I try to be aware of ableist language as much as I can but, like everyone else, I also have blind spots (we all do in one area or another). This series has been an eye opener and I cannot recommend it enough for anyone who wants to be more alert and sensitive in the use of language.
This is one of the areas I find myself stumbling in as well. ‘Lame’ has long been a go-to insult of mine and I find that I frequently need to edit out of posts/responses I’ve written. Internally, I don’t find it offensive, but I understand that others do. If I wish that people take me seriously about issues I am passionate about or feel are important, then I must also rethink my own words and actions when they are called into question.