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People-first language

Posted by ESC on November 17, 2003

In Reply to: The R-word posted by SR on November 17, 2003

: : Last night during a retrospective on the year 1986 on the VH-1 cable channel, they censored the word "retarded". This was in a reference to the TV show LA Law, which featured an actor playing a retarded office assistant at the fictional Mackenzie-Brackman law firm. The person who was censored then continued her comment, using the phrase "mentally challenged", which was not censored.

: There was a little old man... sorry! There was a vertically challenged, chronologically advanced person... Political Correctness is everywhere!!

I'm in agreement with the "People-First" concept. From: bestpractices/dag/language/

"People-first" language helps us remember that people are unique individuals and that their abilities or disabilities are only attributes and do not define who they are. The following "people-first" phrases may serve as a helpful guideline:

Affirmative Phrase: person with a disability; people with disabilities
Negative Phrase: the disabled; handicapped; crippled; suffers from a disability

Affirmative Phrase: person who is blind; person with a visual impairment
Negative Phrase: the blind

Affirmative Phrase: person who is deaf; person with a hearing impairment
Negative Phrase: the deaf; deaf and dumb; suffers a hearing loss; afflicted with a hearing loss

Affirmative Phrase: person with a mental illness
Negative Phrase: crazy; psycho; lunatic

Affirmative Phrase: person with a developmental disability; person with mental retardation
Negative Phrase: retarded; mentally defective

Affirmative Phrase: person who uses a wheelchair
Negative Phrase: confined or restricted to a wheelchair; wheelchair bound

Affirmative Phrase: person with a physical disability; person with a mobility impairment
Negative Phrase: cripple; lame; handicapped; deformed