Thursday, February 19, 2015
The BBC asks, "Is it OK to call disabled people 'Inspirational?'
Yeah. That's the real headline of a BBC article getting press today.
Can't let this one go.
It comes after many recent Super Bowl commercials and recent press that have highlighted or are highlighting the successes of those with exceptionalities, including Jamie Brewer, actress and activist and the first person with Down syndrome to walk the NYC Fashion Week runway.
That's a big deal.
Here's my take. I'll be brief.
Personally, I think we're getting caught up in semantics here and wasting valuable chat time when there are much bigger special needs topics to fry and discuss, like education, insurance, respite, employment, etc.
Plus, the word inspirational sure beats many of the ugly terms many with special needs have been slammed with over history and still today, words like retarded, spastic, insane, stupid, brain dead, etc.
I'm thrilled we're finally including people with exceptionalities in our daily conversations and in the major media, and on the runway. If the stories told inspire others, that's cool, too.
Many special needs families are desperate for positive examples for their own children. History books need to include more such stories, too.
That said, I do wish the media would do a better job with people-first language.
Note the "disabled people" headline used by the BBC. They aren't alone in that editorial snafu.
Use people's names, please. Stop defining people by disability before the story even gets out of the equality gate.
It does change perceptions about ability.
Disability is a part of someone's reality and life. It should never be the defining term.
Read the full article here.
What's your take on the "inspirational" discussion?