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Are Deaf people "disabled?"
To me, the "efficacy" of a label has to do with "pertinence." If you don't know what those two words mean -- go look them up.
We need pertinent labels to enable us to be efficacious, relevant, and precise in our communication -- to not waste the time of our communication partner or our audience.
I currently do not have cancer and I do not relish the thought of having cancer but you can darn well bet that if I do get "cancer" I want my doctor to start slinging the word "cancer" around as directly and efficaciously as possible and doing something about it instead of using euphemisms. If I later beat cancer -- then you can label me a "survivor." (I don't have cancer and that is just an example.)
I do have lots of labels:
And so forth.
Just as it would be inappropriate for me to insist my students call me "honey" or "daddy" -- it would be a huge personal loss to shun the label "honey" or daddy" completely since those terms are at times VERY gratifying and enjoyable to me during my journey here on this earth (when interacting with my wife and kids).
You can darn well bet I'm going to (and did) grab the "disabled" label and plaster it on my shirt when it comes time to apply for Division of Rehabilitation funding to go to college so I can get the "graduate" and "professor" labels later on.
Thus, I have no problem with accurate, descriptive labels -- as long as we use them in the right time, place, and application.
Sure, I get it -- if given a choice of labels for ourselves and others if all other things are equal we should choose the label that is most likely to produce a positive mental association, outlook, and outcome.
My two cents.
William G. Vicars Ed.D.
Also see: "Deafness as a disability."
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