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London 2012: Could the 2012 Paralympics erase the word 'disability'

BBC News

As International Paralympic Day takes place in London to celebrate next year's Games, Sir Philip Craven, the president of the International Paralympic Committee, has said he refuses to use the "D-word".
Craven believes London 2012 will help to consign it to history.

Disabled. Of all the words out there that can be used to describe a person with a disability, disabled is the most apt and is in no way negative.

Some people believe that changing the meaning of words, or removing words altogether can somehow change reality.

It's not 'spaz' or 'biff' or 'cabbage'. These words are supposed to insult people. 'Disabled' is simply a descriptive word.

The attempt has been made in the past, by the PC brigade, to remove the word disabled. Do you remember 'Differently abled'? The attempt to change the correct word for something that means totally the opposite of what you are describing. (I'm sure there must be a linguistic term for that but I'm damned if I know it).

I heard one or two people in the past say that they are not disabled, they are differently abled. I challenged with,
"Ok, what's your different ability?"
"Huh? What do you mean?"
"Well. I have the ability to walk, you don't. If you have a different ability, what is it? Can you fly? Can you shoot laser beams out of your eyes?"

At that point they assure you they would deck you if they could get up.

Disabled himself, and a former wheelchair basketball player, he explains his dislike to BBC News: "It needs to be removed from the lexicon as it pertains to human beings.
"I mean, let's face it, if a machine gets disabled, it doesn't work. And that is the way that the word has influenced people's minds in the past.

If you can't walk, your legs don't work. If you can't see, your eyes don't work. I fail to see the problem. You have a disability. It's nothing to be ashamed of and people don't think of you as a lesser person.

"People say: 'Peter round the corner, he's disabled', before they even start to talk about what a wonderful guy he is, or what a not-so-nice guy he is. You immediately get to that differentiating point.

You know what? Folk also do that when talking about black people. It's not because they are prejudiced but because they are trying to accurately describe something in the listeners minds eye.

If someone says to me, "I was talking to a bloke down the market today", I see in my head a white bloke. If it was a black fellah you would say so in the conversation. It's the same with pointing out a disability.

"If you're going to be talking about the positivity of human kind, why kick off with negativity?

I think you are the only one who believes it's a negativity. There can be many negative aspects to a personality, from nasty body odour to extreme violence. Being disabled is not one of them.

"Someone said to me recently that [disability] is very much a political word for differentiation.
"I'm not getting into politics but if you think about it, it normally doesn't need to be used. What does ' you are disabled' mean?

It means you are unable to do something that you should be able to do without aid. Does that help?

"There's an incredible difference between a wheelchair user and someone who's blind, you know."

Eye. A wheelchair user can't walk, a blind person can't see. You both have a disability. It doesn't make you any less a person.

Why not stoppit with the language re-structuring and just come to terms with yourself? I'm sure you would be a lot happier for it.

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