Confronting Ableist Language

Blogger Rachel Cohen-Rottenberg posts about her struggles confronting ableist language among social justice advocates:

People who are of non-normative intelligence or ability (narrowly defined) are simply considered less-than, so it’s the height of insult to call someone “stupid” or “a moron” or “a person with a low IQ.” 

Most people no longer use phrases like “that’s very white of you,” and most social justice advocates understand the problems with calling something “gay” as a term of distaste. It’s past time that we took seriously the calls to leave behind the non-technical use of “crazy”, “moron,” “idiot,” “low IQ,” “blind,” “lame,” “deaf,” and so on. It wouldn’t be that hard. People who are actually mentally disabled, lame, blind or deaf do not exist to offer us comparisons to people who see things in ways that we believe are wrong-headed and foolish.

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