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These are my thoughts on a variety of subjects. So welcome to my brain!

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Why I Refuse to Use "People First" Language

1. It is insulting. It makes it sound like our disabilities are diseases when they are not. I have asthma. Yes, it is a disease. Of the lungs. But I am asthmatic. I have autism. Although a processing disorder, it is not a disease. I am autistic. 

2. It is degrading. People first language feels degrading because the people who insist that we use it are belittling us for using identity-first language.

3. It strips away my identity. Again, it makes our disabikities sound like a disease. It doesn't recognize that many of us have accepted our disabilities as part of who we are. I have autism, but I AM autistic. I identify my autism as an ingrained part of what makes me WHO I am; therefore, I identify as autistic. The Deaf identifies themselves as a culture. When you insist on calling the deaf "people who are deaf," you steal their cultural identification. They are Deaf, deaf, or deaf people. I am hard of hearing or a hard of hearing person. 

4. It is clunky. Just as it says. People first language uses too many words. This is worse than our cultures. 

5. It is awkward. Refer back to number 4.

6. It is not being used by those who actually have disabilities. If you ask most of us who actually have these disabilities and have found our way of communications, we will all tell you first hand that "people-first" language, though originally well-meaning, is the most offensive language we have ever encountered. We will often correct you and tell you what we want to be called and it is usually always identity-first language. He is autistic. She is deaf or she is a deaf person. He is a cancer patient. She is an ADHDer. Do you call an artist a person who has artistic abilities or a teacher a person who teachers or a musician a person who has musical gifting? No? Then stop trying to do it to us in the disability community. We don't need that.