Sunday, January 3, 2010

Can we use a better word than "disability"?

Normally I don't care much for so-called political correctness. I think that, generally, we should call something what it is and not dance around it with euphemisms.

I recently ran across the word "disability" and, although I've heard this word thousands of times and didn't really have a problem with it, it just bothered me this time.

The reason it bothers me now is because it's too negative and vague. I think of it more in terms of limitations than disabilities, and where do we draw the line that a certain limitation is debilitating? We've all seen or heard stories about people who overcame huge challenges and went on to succeed beyond all expectation. When that happens, does that person's condition cease to be a disability? Ironically, they're still labeled a disabled person even though they may have achieved more success than the average non-disabled person. So, how can we call it a disability?

We ALL have limitations. Some people can see very well, and some require glasses (and some people are blind). Some people can hear the tiniest sounds and the highest pitches, and some require hearing aids (and some people are deaf). Much of what I could physically do at 17 years of age, I have a very hard time doing (or can't do) now, at 47. These limitations are just the way life is - it's just a matter of degree.

This isn't meant to be a political post, or have anything to do with the rights of the "disabled". I'm not trying to change anything - indeed, I don't necessarily disagree with the way things are regarding certain protections. I'm just airing some of my thoughts about the semantics revolving around this subject. I guess that's what a blog is for.

1 comment:

  1. I can understand your point, however; i also disagree.

    as a person with disabilities, I for one do not consider that a negative word or a negative agains myself.

    there are things i do well and there are thing i do not do well and due to my disabilities there are things i can no longer do.

    That is life. I am proud to have earned my disabilities through the military protecting this country and its people's individual rights and freedoms.

    I have no regrets, and no issues with the word disabled.