The titled isn’t just a phrase for how different anthropologists define hominids it is also a very good way to describe the language I use when talking about the disabled and the politically correct way. The Lumpers are very PC when refering to pretty much any group. I simply have more experience with PC language referring to people with disabilities. When PC language hit the disabled it did something that complicates my life, and the lives of others, by taking the diversity of why we’re all disabled away. I get referred too in the same way as someone with mental problems or Parkinson’s disease or even an amputee. This is a big problem because I don’t have any of those problems and therefore I have different needs and considerations. While an amputee of the legs might be wheelchair bound that is where the similarities end. They can pee without equipment, empty their bowels without help and don’t have to worry about autonomicdisreflexia if there is something wrong with their body. Someone with a brain injury is even more different, or severe burn victims. Yet we all get the same considerations in the public as someone who is obese: a bigger bathroom with hand rails, ramps and closer parking spots.
Lumping all disabilities into one title has only allowed for real disability issues to be over looked. I’m not saying society has to bend to me in every way, that would be incredibly unrealistic, but there would be vast improvements if more people understood the needs of people besides the elderly. Take the three examples I mentioned: bathrooms, ramps, and parking spots. I don’t need hand rails at all. If I use a public bathroom I don’t even get onto the toilet. I self cathetrize into a urinal and never leave my chair. I need a small shelf to set my stuff on, and enough room to fit inside the stall and be able to close the door, that is it. Ramps aren’t needed by pretty much anyone not in a chair and in general tend to be too small for two people to use at the same time. A minor gripe for sure but, when you get half way up and meet someone coming down it gets old in a hurry. Parking spots are a very annoying issue for me personally. I often find I have to wait for a long time because there aren’t enough. And what really bugs me is I don’t need them because they’re close, I need them because they’re wide. If I park in a normal spot and someone parks next to me I can’t get back into my car. I don’t care if I park in the back of the lot as long as I can get into my car when I need too. There are people who need close spots who, most of the time, don’t need a wide spot. Every time I go to a busy place like the movies or costco the parking lots have spaces in the back that are empty. No one waits for an hour to park if there are spots open, except me, because I’d have to wait for the person who went into the place after me to leave so I can get back into my car. Which is very frustraiting because I know there are people parked in wide spots that don’t need the extra width. A few wide spots in the back wouldn’t be too much to ask for I think. Especially because people avoid using them unless they have no other choice. I’d use them all the time because I don’t need to be close
It’s partly why I refer to myself as crippled. Calling me differently-abled or handicapable tells people nothing about me other than I’m different. It’s too non-specific. Which brings me to another point. One that affects me in much more serious ways. If we use the same language to refer to every disability, people tend to think of us in the same way. While the idea behind PC language is to minimize offense, people thinking I have slow mental capacity because the only other handicapped person they know has Downs Syndrome is way more offensive. Not that to have Downs means they’re less than I am as a person, but I shouldn’t be treated like I’m slow unless I am. I had a councilor who worked for the disabled student services not believe my SAT scores because a person in a wheelchair couldn’t score that high. This is someone who should know these differences and didn’t and I have to deal with people who are rightfully ignorant everyday. I think this is something most people don’t understand. They can’t see the difference and those who do understand the difference don’t see that many people have this problem. I ended up going to the dean taking a placement test and having him put me in the appropriate classes because, I couldn’t get into them while that councilor had me pegged for being mentally deficient. What is really funny is when I talked about this subject in the English class that the dean had to personally place me in because of this problem, none of my classmates believed there really was such a problem because they all new I wasn’t mentally challenged.
That’s the problem with PC language, it allows everyone to avoid these issues and pretend they don’t exist. It is really strange to have people tell me I can’t call myself crippled because its rude. How is accurately describing my situation rude? I made a video about this a long time ago and I got a comment that still kind of drives me nuts.
Folks got allergic to “crippled” because they got allergic to “cripple,” and that was for a good reason. Because to call a crippled person a cripple suggests that the person’s problem is the definition of the person. You may be crippled but you’re not a cripple, you’re a human being.
I’ll call you what you want to be called. Unless you really need to be told something about yourself that you’re denying. (Which still leaves open the question of whether it’s my duty to tell you.)
The first part, while well meaning, avoids the issue all together. Any language that separates a group from another will create an err of egocentrism. Especially if the difference between the groups is, not only physical appearance, but physical ability and health. Why should I have to deal with more issues by people thinking I’m mentally slow because other able bodied people feel uncomfortable saying paralysis or crippled. Cripple, Downs patient, burn victim, head injury patient, mental retardation, none of these are rude if the person is or has the ailment. It tells people the things they need to know to interact with them. You’re not being rude if you call me a cripple. I am a cripple. It doesn’t do me, or anyone else, any good to deny it. And to assume that I need you personally to tell me I can’t walk or feel my body from the chest down is incredibly offensive. This person not only couldn’t step out of their own bias long enough to consider my position but, made it my job to not remind them I can’t walk. That’s a fail at treating me like an equal person if I ever saw it. It’s also why I’ll continue to talk about this subject. If it’s going to change I’m going to have to remind people that being a cripple isn’t always down hill. Sometimes it’s uphill both ways. So help a cripple out and be a splitter. I’m sick of convincing people I’m not dumb.
Until next time Tumblrites, happy blogging.
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