Posts Tagged ‘language’
I hate that this language is so ingrained into my own vocabulary. I am aware that I do it. I cringe most every time that the word comes out of my mouth. But most of the time, it just slips out — it’s something that has been part of my vocabulary so long that it’s just something that comes out. But that’s no excuse really. What word am I talking about? One that our society uses so often that many people don’t even think of it as an offensive or exclusionary word: lame.
I can’t tell you how many times throughout my life that I have used the phrase “that’s lame” or “don’t be lame” in my life. It’s been a part of my vocabulary since grade school. I wasn’t really aware of the exclusionary and offensive nature of the word until college. That’s when I made the connection between the word “lame” and it’s association to people with mental disabilities.
But my socialization to the world “lame” is no excuse for the continued use of it. I’m definitely more conscious of using it when I am typing because I have to think more about my word choice. But when I’m talking, “lame” still slips out every now and then. I am definitely more conscious of it now that I have developed my feminism and learned more about how forms of oppression interact with each other. I catch myself when I say it now. If I don’t catch myself before it comes out, I cringe after I say it and think “I can’t believe I just said that.” I definitely don’t say it as much as I used to. I’m more aware of it now. But it’s definitely still there.
This post is not meant as a way for me to get people to tell me “it’s ok as long as you are aware of what you are doing.” If I have learned anything from developing my feminism as well as becoming involved in the feminist blogging community, it is that no one is perfect. But these flaws have to be examined. And over the past couple days, I have been increasingly reminded that “ableism is not feminism.” I have to own up to my use of ableist language. I have to work towards eliminating ableist language from my vocabulary. But, I do not expect my admission to using ableist language and my word that I will work towards improving this will make it all better. It won’t.
While I’m not expecting people to tell me that I’m not at fault for using ableist language as long as I admit to is and work towards ending it, I do hope that this post will encourage other people to question the nature of the language they use and how it may be exlusionary or offensive.