When I was a kid, I would call all sorts of things “dumb” and “lame, and my father, a conservative, would reprimand me for using words that he said “disrespected the disabled.” I didn’t know what the hell he was talking about. “That isn’t even what ‘lame’ means,” my kid self scoffed at him.
Eventually, I grew up and deviated from my father politically. I also discovered that what he had told me was right—according to the “liberal agenda” that he so often decried. I learned of the concept of anti-ableism, discussed mostly by politically liberal circles, which discourages the use of words like “lame,” “dumb,” “crazy” and other adjectives that have historically been associated with physical or mental impairment. The movement against ableism stresses that these words perpetuate the social stigma surrounding mental illness and disabilities.
Lately, I’ve been trying to phase such words out of my vocabulary. Meanwhile, what surprised me is the fact that my George Bush-supporting father agrees with everydayfeminism.com, a left-leaning website I worship.