Politically Correct Uncomfortable Questions

I detest the topic of what’s “politically correct” to say to someone with a limitation. Absolutely hate it. So, since I hate it, I’m going to talk about it. It’s the logical solution. Beware, I’m not really shielding myself from sarcasm today.

Is it handicapped or disabled?

Is it disabled or handi-capable? (Really, Honey? Handi-capable?)

Is it mentally delayed or … Um… The “R” word?

Is it limitation or challenge?

Before I go into my opinion.. Let me make myself clear. I have a strong opinion on this stupid topic based on reason and the way I was raised. But it is only one person’s opinion. It’s just been brought up so much lately.. I have to speak up.

Also, there is NOTHING wrong with just asking questions. I’m more offended by people that think they know my life than I am by people with hurtful questions. If you’re genuinely curious, I could care less if your question is “Are you contagious?” Just ask questions. Most of us don’t bite. Most of us (myself especially) like talking. Talking about ourselves is even more fun.

Handicapped in the 50’s was polite. That idea makes me cringe. There’s nothing polite about the word “handicapped”. Handicapped was created by the concept of “hand to cap” beggar. When the word “handicapped” gets used, you’re unknowingly saying the person in front of you can’t do anything and is forced to beg. It’s humiliating, but to be fair, a large majority of people with noticeable differences don’t even know that. I’m a geek. I researched it several years ago, and now I can’t forget it. You’re welcome.

The one that really makes me laugh is “handi-capable”. I know… You’re trying to give me a leg up by calling me capable. But you forgot the root of that phrase. You didn’t call me capable… You called me special. If you want to call me capable, just call me capable. But then that’s just awkward.

I’m not addressing the mental status one for anything other than to say– you call someone retarded, you’re showing your own retardation. Just because someone processes, survives and lives differently than you do does not make them retarded.. They’re just as precious as you are, Kid.

Limitation or challenge… Let the person decide that one. If they don’t want to face their differences, either one can be down-right offensive. I’ll be honest, there are days I hate either one. But you won’t even get to this question with the person if they have this attitude. They make it clear.

I am not a cerebral palsy epileptic who happens to have a name. I’m Cassie, a quirky 20- something that refuses to let hang ups make me stop living. I have a disability. Not a handicap. I’m disabled, but I’m able to live despite it. It’s better to say “[name] has a autism” than to say “that autistic Kid”. My disabilities aren’t my identity.. But they do exist.

Regardless.. Look in the mirror and giggle. You’re just as disabled as I am, you’re just more socially acceptable. Learn to love the person and the questions become obsolete because you realize the personality shines through no matter what the answer to the question actually is.


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