We all have words that, when we hear or see them, we are (to use the terminology of young people) triggered to take personal offense to them. As a disabled woman, I’ve often heard and been called many things that could be deemed “offensive”. Some of these words include “cripple”, “gimp” or the big offender in the disabled community, the word “retard”.
When we get offended by these antiquated phrases, we are giving them power. A power that isn’t necessary. Certain terms that were used in more ignorant times are now used in a derogatory manner. Whomever now uses these terms, even if not meant in an offensive way, are vilified by the majority because our society has become afraid of getting our feelings hurt.
More than ever, with disability no longer something rarely seen by people, we are “out and proud” so to say. We are in your face, whether people like it or not. So, why be offended by words? They are just words. They do not have control if we don’t allow it. Words are the only weapon that can injure us only if we allow them to do so. We have control to remove the bullets from the gun so to speak, removing the power from the one intending to insult and giving it to the person it is being directed at. If I’m not offended, you have no power over me. Insulting someone is all about a power trip, give yourself the power and don’t be so sensitive. If anything, it really annoys those intending to be mean. It throws them off, rendering their power to be of no effect.