Thursday, November 1, 2018

Here’s the Thing About Language

Autisticeducator, Here’s the Thing About Language on Tumblr

Here's the Thing About Language

You can change labels of what you call people all you want “to be more people friendly” or whatever reason you claim to have.
If you don’t change the social constructs behind the language, the factors limiting the group that is actually directly affected by the language, then changing the language becomes rather pointless because it doesn’t actually change any of the social issues behind it.
Take people first language (yes, I’m going to continuously be picking on people first language because it does such a good job at getting my point across). The abled bodied population was like “This sounds good, let’s use it for the entire disabled community.”
Yeah, except the autistics have been shouting “Um excuse me, but people first language dehumanizes us because it separates us from our identity. We want identity first language.”
And if those advocating for people first language (especially abled bodied parents and those in education) had ever stopped to deal with the social constructs that affect the autistic community instead of pushing on their language crusade, I wouldn’t be writing this post right now. But they didn’t.
And people first language is not harmless like they want to believe. I’ve personally had people first language used against me numerous times by people who did not want to acknowledge that I am autistic. People first makes it easier for people to deny us either our needs or our agency (or both) by allowing them to think “Oh they’re a person and I can just push this autism bit off to the side and ignore its exsistance.”
That’s why I am insistent on identity first language. I want to make it difficult to separate autism from myself because they are not separate entities. They are the same entity because I see and experience everything through an autistic lens. People who aren’t going to see me as a person won’t see me as one regardless of language used. It’s those who only want to see me as a person if autism isn’t coming along for the ride that I find really problematic.

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