A lot of times these days, the accusation we are all getting too politically correct (PC) gets thrown around a lot. When it comes to the topic of disability, even I will admit that the discussion around what the “appropriate” term to call someone with a disability is gets a little out of hand. My thoughts are go with whatever you’re comfortable. Yes there are certain terms that are never ok, like “cripple”, but between disabled, handi-abled, handicapped, etc., I don’t think there’s any one right term.
That being said, I think the fact that people are being held more accountable for the things they say is not being “too PC”. In fact, it’s super important. For too long disabled people have had to live with being the butt of the joke, with being teased, with being called names and being considered second and third class citizens. We’re still dealing with that shit in fact. So I’m sorry (not sorry), if you’re doing anything that ranges from outright making fun of a disabled person to just making a “harmless” joke about handicapped people as a whole, then you deserve to be called out. Things like that hurt people’s feelings. They hurt my feelings and they hurt an entire community of people’s feelings who have had to endure decades of poor treatment and “harmless” jokes at their expense. I’m pretty sure if the roles were reversed, no one would like to be the butt of other people’s jokes, no matter the context. But just because we’re different, people think that makes us a legitimate target.
I was listening to one of my favorite podcasts today and the guest made a “joke” about how the host was talking and asked her if she was handicapped or a “handicapper”. I was so upset I almost started to cry. Maybe I was foolish to think we had gotten past this juvenile bullshit where it’s perfectly acceptable to make a joke at a disabled person’s expense. Where it’s still ok for the cool kids to make fun of us “outsiders”.
I’m tired of being the butt of people’s jokes and insults and then being told I’m the one who is overreacting or that I’m being too sensitive. I think all of us are. With disabilities specifically, it’s more often the rule than the exception that it’s totally socially acceptable to just drop a disability-related joke. We’re still considered the group of people that it’s “ok” to make fun of. If we speak up about it, we’re often ignored by the able community or brushed off.
It’s time for the people saying this stuff to be held accountable. I don’t care how caught up in the moment you got or how much you didn’t think before you spoke. There’s no such thing as being “too PC” because by being “PC” you’re choosing to give a crap about how what you say might affect other people. You’re choosing to be sensitive to the feelings of others and you know what? It’s about time we started giving more of a crap about the way our words impact other people.