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Gizmo

Words...

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I have always had a tendency to make fun of the socalled political correctness, since in my opinion, it hardly helps to improve a certain attitude, but just puts a coating on top of it without changing what is underneath the surface.

Personally, I find the term "Disabled" highly judgmental, since to me, not having English as mother tongue - "dis" is synonymous with "not". Meaning "not able"? Most words starting with dis have a negative meaning "disadvantage, disagree, disappoint, disapprove, disgrace, dishonest etc. (only positive exception is probably "discount") so people with a handicap prefer to be referred to as "not being able"??? Personally I think, "handicapped" is a lot better. It just implies that you have a certain characteristic but does say anything about your ability.

Which term do you prfer? Do you challenge/correct people if they choose not to use the "right" term?

Regards,

Gizmo

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Gizmo,

This is an interesting subject and I agree with you.. I say handicapped is a lot better of a word then being called disabled because there is nothing that I'm not able to do if I put my mind to it. I always say take the Dis out of Disabled and you have Able....

I prefere to be called able....

Brenda

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You know what is funny though...in english, the word "handicapped" is kind of an "old school" word and even though it does not make reference to ability, it strongly implies that you cant do things. It implies, to me, a severe limit on activities....and I think there are many amputees on this website that are MORE active than a lot of *able bodied* people! I can think of MANY "couch potatoes" who have NO reason to be fat and lazy, they have FOUR good limbs, but really, they are *more* handicapped than most of US! I think we need to just find a whole new word....

OR I really dont mind being called "an amputee"....because that just states that I am missing a limb, not that I cant do things!

judy

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Judy,

You're right and yes I like to be called an amputee as well.. We all view our abilities in different ways.

Brenda

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When I studied in the States (Michigan State University,1988), there was the office for people with a disability right next to the department of communications where I was doing my research. And there they called themselves "handicappers", emphasizing the active aspect which I found to be a pretty good solution: However, I am not sure, if this was an invention of their own, or if other Americans use that, too?

One of the reason why I think that the word "handicap" might sound more positive than "disability" is perhaps of golf - since it has gotten a more positive association? What do you think about that?

In German it is quite easy - we just have one word. But if you analyse it, it is not too positive either. It is "Behinderung", meaning "hindering you", generalizing that a disability is in any case preventing you from leading a "normal" life. People who suffered injuries at a war, are often referred to "Invalide", so analyse this nonsense.. But see, very often you just keep saying a word and it has no negative connotations for you, since you take it for granted.

When they started to try to replace words with others, it caused a lot of annoyance and confusion here in Austria. For instance, the word "negro" had no negative association whatsoever just for the word (and after all, it does mean black originally - in most languages stemming from Latin the word for black is "negro, "nero", something like that). Plus Austria has never had any colonies or has never belonged to the commonwealth, so there was never a necessity to change words which were never bones of contention! They even started banning expressions, which have been around forever in Austria and are used without any derogatory touch. Like for example "Negro bread" which is dark chocolate with hazelnuts or almonds in it.

I am just surprised that the fans of political correctness have never taken into consideration changing the major brand name for ice-cream, which is "Eskimo". After all, Eskimo is supposed to be a derogatory term and, if you take political correctedness really seriously, you would have to use Inuit instead...

Regards,

Gizmo

PS: What about "differability", stressing that you are able, but just in a different way??

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My Goodness...Just by discussing what to name what we have is already alienating and making ourselves 'different' from our peers....! Is that the aim here???? Quite sad!

We are slightly hindered , thats all!!!

Kaz

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I kinda agree with Kaz, I don't want to be stuck with a label like disabled or handicapped. Maybe that's just me but I dont want to got through life as 'that girl with one leg' or something, it may never happen but I can help that along by not labelling myself with something to start with. Don't mean to sound unkind/mad or whatever but it's just my opinion.

Liz x :P

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Is that the aim, here?? Is that what Kaz asks? You do not want to be labeled? That´s fine. Some people might not want to but there is a major difference between "being labeled" and discussing the sense or nonsense of the socalled political correctness (but perhaps you did not get the ironic tone...)Nevertheless, please take into consideration that words are very often the beginning of each prejudice, each potential embarrassment which could, under cirumstances, be avoided, if people voiced their desires in this respect. And please, take also into consideration, that there are many people belonging to minorities, who want to be referred to in a specific way. It is pretty biased to question the value of a discussion just because one does not share a point of view!

Regards,

Gizmo

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"You can call me anythng you like; but ya doesn't have to call me Mr. Johnson!!!! " :P :lol:

Kep

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I think everyone can be "labeled" in one form or another. We all have our issues be it an amputated limb, overweight status, not liking the shape of our nose, etc. Personally, I like the term "physically challenged" myself. Honestly, I don't really see myself any different than others but if someone feels the need then that's the one I would choose. I think it all comes down to how you see yourself.

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I totally agree with you Hickster, that we can all be labeled in one form or another, not that I necessarily agree with it. Some people don't seem to mind what they're labeled with, where other's take real offense to certain words. So I try to be real careful labeling anyone. I too prefer the term "physically challenged', as that's how I see myself. That does 'NOT' make me different, than anyone else, only that the physical part of my life has been challenged, compared to what it was before the amputation. I think we all have something in common and should be proud to be labeled as such.... 'Survivors' ;)

Sheila

Keep Smiling :)

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Hi Everybody,

This is a good point to be discussed, and it fits in with "How do you tell people?", especially for lower-limb amputees (like myself) who walk well and don't show the prosthesis, wearing either pants or a mid-calf-length skirt.

When I went for a job interview to teach middle school, I was sitting with the principal privately and knew I had to communicate to him what my situation was. This was in the late 1980s. So I told him, "Like Ted Kennedy Jr., I am physically challenged." He immediately understood, and I told him I had gotten creamed on a motorcycle when I was 18, but that as he could see I walked very well and was fully able to meet the demanding needs of teaching inner-city eighth grade! I know he was impressed by what he perceived as my courage and determination; I got TWO job offers (both the high school and the middle school wanted me).

So--especially appropriate for all of us ladies, we can hold our heads high and say honestly and with some pride for our bravery and endurance: "LIKE HEATHER MILLS McCARTNEY, I AM PHYSICALLY CHALLENGED," and then elaborate from there if need be.

That's my two cents worth! Hang in there everybody, Ellen.

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This is a great discussion!! I know I stated earlier that I would prefer to be called handicapped rather then disabled.. I remember growing up in the late 60's and 70's they had a lable for amputee children called cripple children :o in fact one place was called cripple children foundation or something close to that. So being called a handicapped is way better then cripple child/children.

Brenda

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Are "mobility impaired" or "visually impaired" not terms which speak to the issue? Are they negative labels? They just seem like softer ways of saying you have a hitch on how you get along and that it isn't something to be judged about.

Don't ask, "Is my attitude toward life the right one?"~

to that question there is no answer.

Every attitude is as right as every other,

all are a part of life.

Ask instead, "Since I am as I am,

since I have these particular needs and problems

which seem to be spared so many others,

what must I do in order to bear life, nevertheless,

and if possible make something good of it?"

If you really listen to your innermost voice,

the answer will be something like this:

"Since I am as I am, I should neither envy

nor despise others for being different.

I should not ask whether my being is 'right,'

but accept my soul and its needs

just as I accept my body, my name, my origins:

as something given and inescapable,

which I must say yes to and stand up for

even if the whole world oppose it."

*Hermann Hesse

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Dear Gizmo

I wasn't being biased by asking the question. I asked what your ultimate intention is by making this a point of discussion in the first place. Especially from someone outside this 'minority' group.

I read that you are a writer, fine. Interpretation of words is your work. But unfortunately it's just this discussing what terms are correct or incorrect that stereotype and cause barriers in society.

Live and let live .... and just get on with it ., is my motto B)

PS You asked in your first message if we challenge/correct people using the wrong term....It's the wrong mentallity that i challenge.

PPS Maybe we can start a new slate on another topic at some later stage, ;)

cheers Kaz

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hhmm, only the top of my head is viewable. Can anyone help me with how i get my full pic on here....many thanks!

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Dear all,

I started this topic since I have been playing with the idea of writing a cynical article on "Political Correctness" for a while - and the initial research I did ot the internet unearthed some really incredible things (but not really in a positive way).

If I ever get to write it, it will cover a wider range of issues, not just disability topics. (Do you know for instance, that there is strong pressure from feminist pc advocates coming to refer to God as "She?" which is just as biased...)

I wonder in the first place: who comes up with these new expressions? Are the target groups (the minoritites) involved to a decisive degree or are there a couple of white, able-bodied people deciding over their heads if the term of the year is "people of color" or "physically challenged" or African-American? ( black Americans have told me, that they could not identify less with "African American" since they cannot even say for sure which generation of them came over from Africa - plus they are proud to be part of the "developed" America instead of the "underdevelopped" AFrica, so why make the connection with Africa??? Just because of the color?)

I have a friend who has been working as a High School teacher for quite a while and she keeps telling me that when she goes abroad for a couple of weeks she is always very curious which new "politically correct words" have popped up during her absence and are "compulsory" now: And she told me the following story:

When a kid used to show unusual, aggressive behavior, it used to be called "difficult to raise " (schwer erziehbar), until someone came up with the idea that this should be replaced by a more positive term. Next in line were "behaviorally impaired" (verhaltensgestört), then "behaviorally different" and the latest one is "behaviorally creative" (verhaltenskreativ). So if you ever get to a German speaking country and someone refers to you as "behaviorally creative" don´t mistake it for a compliment -LOL.

Kaz, you say, that it is the wrong mentality that you challenge. Yes, I understand that, but the mentality is for sure at least partly influenced by this political correctness nonsense. When people are "exposed" to a member of a minority, one of the first thoughts that come to mind is probably "Oh, s..., what was the latest word I was supposed to use" and exactly this causes uneasiness, frustration and potential embarrassment. I remember when I was in Monument Valley a couple of years back I was asking the Indians a few questions. And I kept reminding myself "that it is Native American, not Indian", until I realized they referred to themselves as Indians.. I think in the meantime this has changed to "indigenuous people", right? So would it still be "riding an Indian horse" or would I be riding an "Indigenuous People´s horse?

And another question, Kaz. What determines the mentality of someone? Of course prior experience. But most people do not have this first hand experience. So they have to rely on second hand experience and "prejudice" (which is nothing but images formed by the environment but which have not been confirmed or rejected yet, for lack of actual encounter or dealing with a person or subject at depth, right?)

Lili, yeah, sure, it is wise to clean up one´s own world but once I am confrontated with a new situation (and really want to confront rather than avoid it!)that is getting part of my world and it lies in the nature of man to judge and label it in some way or another, to make it easier for him/her to deal with it.

And a question to all of you in the Anglo-Saxon countries: Ellen mentioned that she would say "Like Heather Mills McCartney, I am physically challenged". But, just out of curiosity, does the average person in the States/UK/Canada know 1) who this person is 2) that she is an amputee? Since I am sure, here in Middle Europe the average person would definitely NOT know and wonder who I am referring to...LOL

I just happened to read it once in a Women´s magazine when sitting in the dentist´s waiting room, so over here it is definitely not common knowledge.

Have to run to work now, hope to have triggered some new responses!

xxx

Gizmo

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To add to your comment Lili..... There was a guy on another amputee forum who posted that an amputation is mutilation and to me that was the most degrading thing anyone has ever said and it sparked a lot of hot words flying...... I asked this person if because I was born without a foot did he consider that a mutilation and his answer was a YES and it really pissed me off (sorry) :rolleyes: because I have never considered my lack of foot a mutilation in anyway...... It offended me so to me that would be worse then being called disabled, handicapped, physically challenged or whatever else someone comes up with to lable us as amputees....

Brenda

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Hi everybody,

Lili just wrote something which is utterly important. It does not matter how words were intended, but how they are translated. (reminding me of my background in advertising where one of the major rules is: the only meaning a message has is the one it is given by the recipient".) If the target group misinterprets a message - the advertiser has a serious problem, no matter how "well-meant" the message was. I think that is what you are talking about, Lili, right?

And yes, definitely, it is the tone that makes the music. If someone uses a word which is not to your liking, but from his whole attitude it is obvious that he respects you adn your particular characteristic - no matter if it is complexion, disability, etc.-, this is probably more accepting than a jerk who is familiar with all the political correctness crap but still makes it clear between the lines what he thinks of you...

By the way, Lark once posted a link about a one-legged Australian, a comedian, and of his articles is about "words", too (I hope, I do not provoke you too much with this, Brenda)

Hope, the attaching works...

Regards,

Gizmo

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Would have been surprised if attaching had worked right away - knowing me and my computer skills..(is there a politically correct term for people who are illiterate on the computer - like soft and hard ware challenged??)

How do I attach a file??? Help, please!

Giz

http://www.bbc.co.uk/ouch/columnists/adam/...603_index.shtml

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That was easy--- my God, I am a genius!

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Yes, Lili, you recognize my outstanding virtues right away.. By the way, my boss just told me exactly the same "You are a genius" and as usual I answered "Yes, I know". Sometimes he is overanxious with his appointments, trying to please everyone - but at the same time he keeps forgetting what he has told whom (and his two sophisticated time-management systems are not a big help); so often students are nervously waiting to sit for their final surgery exam, while he is peacefully standing in the OP room, covered in blood (equine surgery is a very messy think since these animals have so much blood, it is incredible..).. Or he has to make a speech in front of the university senate but he has of course forgotten it and has gone to the airport to pick someone up. We are constantly looking for him since he has a tendency to sneak out while we are under the impression that he is in the office working. He should be implanted a chip (like it is getting a law for all dogs in Austria) so that by means of radar we could trace him all the time.

Regards,

Gizmo

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Lili,

I guess the whole thing was not the word it's self but how he went about saying it ( writing it) it hit a cord with me... I don't usually get my feathers ruffled very easy but that one ruffled them pretty bad.....

Brenda

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Why is it necessary to make having an amputation comical?? Is it really so funny? Jeez, what have i missed out on? Does it make it easier for the person to deal with his/her situation?

I completely agree with Brenda. I would have flipped too. What gives a person the right to use such words as 'mutilated' so loosely? It's translation means just the same!!! It's a strong word. Yes, i'm quite sensitive (AND PROUD OF IT), caring and very aware of the world around me and know just how 'dumb' some people can be....They don't find their strength in the 'real world' so they join sites like this one and let it hang out...

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