Thank you all for your wonderful posts.
Actually, what I am trying to speak to is a Movement (and personal to a smaller extent).
Here is the stance of MANY people with disabilities:
When people say things like a person with a disability is "unhealthy" or "having a disability would be my worst nightmare" people from the disability community feel the need to speak up. These are things that the abled-bodied have been saying for many years that PWD are trying to change - for example. people will go up to folks and say"If I were like you, I'd kill myself" or "God bless you." Harriet Mcbryde Johnson explains it a lot better than me in her article with Peter Singer:
The disability movement thinks that saying such things (or using crippled or retarded) leads to PWD not getting equal rights - for example, there is no affirmative action for PWD and a 70% unemployment rate. Well into the 1980's PWD were institutionalized and abused in places like Willowbrook http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k_sYn8DnlH4
I hope this is clear...I don't want to go on a soapbox. I am just trying to get at where I am coming from seems like a PERSONAL argument when it is in NOT MEANT to be. I also stood up for the person on the Borderline Disorder post because I felt like a person with mental disability was being reduced to symptoms. When I hear ableism, yes, I feel compelled to say something, not so much for myself, but in resistance to a culture that demeans and marginalizes PWD. And PWD are commonly ignored because disability is still considered a 'personal problem." When people tell me that I am taking this too personally, that is what I tend to hear- it's not a social issue, but me just being defensive.
Again, IT IS NOT ABOUT WORDS. It is about rights. Why would you hire someone with a disability to be your lawyer or accountant or accept a child of your own if you think of disabled people as unhealthy or the worse nightmare to be in THEIR body? How can those thoughts lead to equality? How can using "that's retarded" lead to thoughts beliefs that mentally impaired folks deserve an equal life and have just as much a place in society than people with typical mental processes? Perhaps I am wrong - perhaps folks can go around saying fuck-tard and would still view a person with Downs as valid person, not sure.
What the Movement is about is having others view a "disability" as another type of movement or thinking, and not less than or unequal. We are all better at certain things than others. Many PWD think of disability as a social construction -- people are not "disabled' because of their impairment , but because there are not curbs cuts, or equal education and so on. I myself view disabled people as stronger rather than weaker, because it's hard to maneuver a impaired body than a typical one.
However, the personal thing was this, when I tried to defend myself in the other post - it got really nasty. Someone said a insult (a very strong one) directed at me personally with was "against the rules" however, when I made my argument both on the board and in PM, the mods, ect took the side and defended the person who called me a disgrace to humanity LOL. THAT is why I lost my temper.
As far as crippled, we will just have to disagree. Some people think you can reclaim a word, others don't. The folks I work with have a poetics called CRIP POETICS and there are many crip bloggers. It is actually a word I don't use - I used it here to be cheeky and that was a BAD choice. There is much discourse in Disability Studies whether or not one should use Crip...but I don't know of ANY PWD who likes to be called crippled (or retard) by an abled person.
I actually like LAME because it is accurate. I am lame. I walk "funny" and I think it's funny that people don't know what the word means.
Vix, thank you. I understand where you are coming from. Another thing is people with disabilities largely don't want people to not 'see disabilities" they want people to SEE them and give the person validity anyway. My friend who has rickets told me it took her a long time to realize that people saying "I don't even see your disability" is actually an insult... it's like telling a person I don't see you as black.