Sunday, March 21, 2010

words

I listened to a program on Studio 360 yesterday that was about autism. The longer I listened the more bothered I became by the host's repeated use of the word "autistics" in referring to the individuals in this program. I left the following comment on their website:

My belief is that each person, regardless of their abilities, prefers to be referred to as a person first. Each of us is a person - some of us have blond hair or short stature or have autism or are loud or make people laugh or are missing an arm or are blind or like chocolate. To define an individual in such narrow terms, by what she has or doesn't have, does or doesn't do, is to limit the fullness of the person and the acknowledgment that she is ALL these things. Please consider this in future programs so as to present a more accurate picture that the focus is on one area of the individual - this is a person with autism, not an autistic. Our language is so important in conveying the ways in which we see others. Thank you.

I say inappropriate, "un-PC" things in my personal life around select people, things I would never intentionally say at work, in a job interview, in public around people I don't know...does this make me a hypocrite in light of the comment I left at Studio 360? Yup, sure does. Since I felt the need to educate Studio 360 about this, I guess I need to look a little harder at my own language.

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