Friday, September 6, 2013

Is the use of the word Handicapped considered offensive?

Over the last few years we can’t deny the fact that this world has become obsessed with political correctness. No place is this more apparent than in the disabled community. In fact the word “disabled” by some is considered offensive as well. Hey even the word disability is a hot topic these days. I was once at an interview and the lady told me that they don’t use the word disability to describe people with what they like to call limited abilities. But even that term is considered offensive as well. As a blogger who addresses issue that affect people with disabilities sometime I don’t even know what words are considered appropriate to use. Especially when it comes to describing people like me who are living with physical limitations. 

Now I have addressed this issue before in my blog post entitled; “Disability,Differently Abled or Abilities?” At that time I didn’t even address the issue of people using the word "handicapped" to describe people living with abilities, wait that doesn’t sound right – I mean people with disabilities. Clearly you can see that many of us have no clue of what word we should use in this situation - especially if we are no longer allowed to say disability. Anyways the main reason why I didn’t address the issue of people using the word handicapped was due to the fact that no one really uses this word any more. Until today I thought that everyone knew that the word "handicapped" was of limits and offensive. Apparently not, it seems as if a local shop didn’t get the memo. I was completely surprised to see that they replaced their government issued accessible parking signs with their own with the words “Handicapped Parking Only” on them. I was truly surprised as I haven’t seen this word used to describe accessible parking spaces for a very long time. Living with physical limitations myself I have always preferred the term accessible parking as it encompasses a wide range of people with disabilities. From those young and old to people who use wheelchairs and canes - including people who still have the ability to walk. I am sure that many people would agree that it is much better to use the term "accessible" when it comes to describing these kinds of parking spaces.

So what do you think?

Do you believe that the word “handicapped” is an offensive term or is political correctness out of control? Would accessible parking signs using the word handicapped offend you? or do people need to lighten up?

3 comments:

  1. Changing words in the dictionary will not change the fact that sickening and offensive injustices exist. It merely hides prejudices. The same people who will bend over backwards to avoid the word "cripple" will not care if you are stuck on ODSP about to get screwed or in an abusive nursing home. Those same people will walk up to you and tell you if they were like you, they would commit suicide.

    Change the injustice first, then change the dictionary. And I was repeatedly betrayed by members of my own family.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. changing the dictionary is part of the path to changing the injustice. its a matter of education, informing the public, friends and family, I feel badly for your betrayal but ask yourself... how does social change occur?

      Delete
    2. changing the dictionary is part of the path to changing the injustice. its a matter of education, informing the public, friends and family, I feel badly for your betrayal but ask yourself... how does social change occur?

      Delete