Isn’t the expression, “differently abled” — ableist?
Sunday night the 8th, I sat at the kiosk outside the casino, having my last smoke; when this handsome stranger, dressed in t-shirt and shorts, frankly kind of scruffy-looking, came up to me and asked for a smoke. I gave him one. He turned away, walked up to the curb to prepare to cross the street, looked up at the sky and said, “I’ve got a cigarette, and I’ve got weed.” I hadn’t noticed the white tube in his other hand.
His walk and his overall body language were, frankly, strange. I said, “He’s differently abled.”
Differently from WHAT?
Whether we like it or not, there are norms. They exist. The majority of people in any context have certain attributes and act certain ways. And folk who differ from those norms, will be marginalized.
The degree of marginalization, and its severity, will vary from person to person and group to group. But it’s inevitable; it’s going to be there. The big question is what value judgments people attach to the differences; whether they regard the different person as “less” because of her or his differences.
Whereas, on the one hand, social dominance orientation, the feeling that “others” are “less,” is certainly objectionable — Jesus spent more energy on this one issue than any other. — the fact that norms exist is, itself, a mere fact, and neither good nor bad in itself; and I propose that one, or we, accept that that is so.
Notwithstanding that political correctness continually rails against the fact.
This accounts for much of what gets called racism. The majority population, white folk, have their norms; which aren’t necessarily the same as the norms of a minority population, namely blacks. And there is currently a great hue and cry that the former should give up their norms, as a matter of justice toward the latter. I do not regard this as realistic.
It’s very similar to the great hue and cry that was constant, perhaps a decade ago, that peanut butter should be banned from schools and peanuts from airlines, for the sake of people who are allergic to peanuts. Whoever your are, the world is not likely to turn itself upside down to accommodate you.
And so, I have my abnormalities also, and they marginalize me, and I live with it. The world will not turn itself upside down to accommodate me.
- I am abnormally bright. Some folk might call me a borderline genius; the label is neither here nor there to me. It creates problems in that when I express myself at my native level of abstraction, many people can’t understand me. It makes the world lonely.
- And then, too, when I use words other folks don’t know, sometimes they resent it. Say “condescend,” for example, and many will think you’re condescending.
- I have a rare but real disorder known as DSPS. Basically, it means I cannot work a 9-to-5 job and be there on time. It makes co-workers resent me, and has kept me from ever earning a wage corresponding to my actual skills.
Individually or collectively, you or we cannot change all things to our liking. Norms exist. Get over it.
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