Submitted by extremecouponing in Ability

Hey everyone, I am still struggling to understand why words such as, "dumb," "crazy," and a number of others are harmful. I kind of understand but would really like some more resources on this because I am really tired of hearing my partner say those words, amongst others, and would like to educate some other comrades of mine, as well as just regular people in contexts where it makes sense. Really appreciate all of you!

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snack wrote

while i don't have any specific resources on hand (maybe someone else can help out with that), i can offer to share what i have learned so far:

Regarding "crazy": i'm sure you are aware of the stigmatization of mental illness or stigmas that surround mental illness, and how those can make it hard for individuals who suffer to get help. Sometimes people feel weak and ashamed for being depressed/anxious and therefore do not seek the help of a mental health professional, as they would with an eye doctor. (which can make their condition even worse) One of the reasons this happens is because society thinks it's okay to use "crazy" as a swear word, as something negative, that is: something which no one wants to be.

This is a complex topic and there are many more layers to it and perspectives to explore, so it's understandable if it gets confusing. I tried to open an entry point into the subject matter, if you want to discuss further or have questions feel free to ask/comment!

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extremecouponing OP wrote

That's mostly how I understand it as well, for right now. The part I'm somewhat confused by is when these words are used in positive contexts, such as, "this is crazy hood!" Curious to hear your thoughts on that

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snack wrote

That is indeed a difficult example, because it sounds positive. If i were to approach it purely analytical, I'd say that "crazy", in this context, is still used as something out of the norm, so far out that it is very noticeable or stands out very much - now that in and of itself isn't something bad, but if you keep in mind that you are talking about the living conditions of a human being, something that is considered to be wrong with their body or mind (in the case of crazy), just to describe something as outstanding - at the cost of hurting or triggering a person and maintaining an oppressive system - then i think it's not worth it to use "crazy" when you could just as well use "unbelievably" instead.

I'm not sure i could sufficiently explain what i meant, so ask about parts that are incomprehensible, that always helps me to word my ideas better.

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lastfutures wrote

If it bothers you when your partner says that, why? I mean, shouldn't you know?

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RadicalConstructivist wrote

you know, it's possible to feel something without fully understanding why

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lastfutures wrote

Sure, but I think exploring your own feelings about it in such a case is better than asking for the party line.

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extremecouponing OP wrote

It bothers me because I know I have talked with people before who do consider it to be ableist, and I would rather just cut that potentially hurtful language out of my life, than unknowingly harming others. My feeling is, better safe than sorry, ya know? It also hurts a little bit bc my partner doesn't entirely trust me on that, but I understand why she doesn't too. Not really looking for the party line, although that's a valid concern, more just looking for more resources to educate myself

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lastfutures wrote

I mean, it sounds like it is about a party line / lefty moralism then, since you aren't even personally bothered by it. Why would they listen to you when you don't even know why you're apparently supposed to be offended by it lol. Trying to get someone else to follow some behavioral norm that you don't even get yourself is pretty odd.

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RadicalConstructivist wrote

Trying to get someone else to follow some behavioral norm that you don't even get yourself is pretty odd.

Isn't the whole point of this thread to help them understand it? What are you even trying to say

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lastfutures wrote

I'm questioning why they are working backwards. They aren't offended by the words, they don't understand why anyone is offended by them, but they are somehow upset that their partner hasn't stopped saying them because they told them to??? That doesn't send up red flags for you?

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extremecouponing OP wrote

I did say, "It bothers me because I know I have talked with people before who do consider it to be ableist"

I could have maybe made that a little bit more clear, but I do know people who consider these words to be harmful. I wouldn't necessarily call them friends, but a few different former comrades of mine have found this word to be personally harmful.

I'm also literally asking here so that I can understand. I'm not enforcing behavioral norms, nor am I full on upset with my partner, just have mentioned to her that I understand those words to be ableist, but do not entirely understand why, which again, is why I'm here asking about it right now. Just because I don't understand the history, doesn't mean I can't tell her about the people I know who take personal offense to those words, and that I personally understand it to be ableist. I'm not starting a fight with my partner over this or otherwise manipulating/gaslighting her. Just relaying the information I have currently, with the understanding that more info is probably good in this situation

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extremecouponing OP wrote

It does personally bother me though. That's like saying because I'm white and straight hearing racial or homophobic slurs doesn't personally bother me either, but it does, because hearing people use those harmful words, especially towards others, hurts. It reminds me of all the pain and oppression in the world and how deeply ingrained it all is and it just tugs at my soul a little bit whenever I hear someone use ableist language as well

It's called empathy sweaty /s

I do understand it's kind of odd to enforce behavioral norms that I don't understand, but that is literally what I am trying to do right now, understand. I already know that it hurts some people, so now I am trying to understand so that I can speak to it better

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lastfutures wrote (edited )

Is it the same? Because presumably you can explain why racial or homophobic slurs are a problem, whereas with ableism you're just taking someone at their word without understanding it, and then enforcing behavioral norms. Like, I'd hope you don't uncritically take up the anti-racist norms without thinking about it either?

see what I was getting at there sweaty?

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RadicalConstructivist wrote

If you had multiple gay people tell you they think homophobic slurs are a problem, but didn't full understand why, would it not be reasonable to refrain from using them out of respect for them? Or, at the very least until you have a better understanding of it? You might then find that, having a vague idea that homophobic slurs are harmful, you get bothered when your partner keeps using them. What might you do in that situation? Perhaps you'd make a thread in a space that claims to be for gay liberation asking about it, only to find some smug git jumps on you about how your basic respect for and desire to understand the perspective of those people is just "moralism" and "towing the party line".

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lastfutures wrote (edited )

If that were the case, when I asked why didn't they say that's the reason? Ie. they have friends who have expressed to them that it hurts their feelings to hear those words because of x, y, and z experience. If multiple people told you that your language hurt them, that does sound like a reason to change your language. But that doesn't seem to be the case here - or anywhere - when it comes to the language being discussed. I've literally never heard of anyone sincerely objecting to the benign use of the word dumb outside of this weird controlling groupthink shit with insular leftists. OP's responses to my question doesn't indicate they have either?

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inthedustofthisplanet wrote (edited )

Considering certain people in this thread are trying to make you think a certain way I will leave you with one thing...

OP is clearly very concious of the systemic inequalities built into our world. I see a lot of well off people blaming poor people for being poor due to their lack of an education, which has very little to do with their actual ability to learn and grasp concepts. They aren't poor because they're stupid, they are poor because society is built against them.

The entire premise of eugenics is based on the idea that there are those who are more deserving of life than others. The system is rigged in such a way that only those who are deemed worthy are given virtual free-rides, while others have to scratch and crawl their ways out of a cycle of poverty they will never escape.

As someone who is trans I am considered to be stupid and often crazy due to simply existing in a way that extends outside of normalcy. This language is used to diminish, divide, and most importantly distinguish between those who are worthy of moving into the future... and everyone else who should be left behind.

Do not listen to the edge lords trying to make you feel bad for caring about those around you. You are more aware of how shit this world is then they are.

p.s. I'm not a leftist. I'm just a decent fucking person.

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Fool wrote

While I personally am not insulted, both words can be used to invalidate or write off someone's opinion, as statements to say 'your input does not matter.'

Crazy is interesting, I feel for a lot of people this a reclaimed word and positive. "let your freak flag fly", etc. However the literal connotations are something anarchist should be well aware of; being deemed outside the norm as a way to write off the views of the individual as invalid. To say that their input can't be trusted.

Dumb really goes back to the original meaning, that is being unable to talk. For nonverbal neurodiverse people this word has been used to invalidate them, defining them as unintelligent since they have difficulty articulating their thoughts. Nonverbal people face a significant amount of unintentional oppression, from being misunderstood.

For many people, it can be very draining to pretend to fit in and act "normal" due to fear that if they don't they will be excluded from society. These words are both ways of invalidating the input neurodiverse people and people with other "mental health" conditions.

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celebratedrecluse wrote

beyond ableism, it can be helpful to draw the connection to gender and race politics. there is a long history of both in the history of disability and medicine, for example it is practically impossible to understand schizophrenia in modern psychiatry without understanding the white supremacy in psychiatry and the way that diagnosis was used against black united states people. The influence was global in scope: although this type of bad politics are more extreme in north america, where they are firmly entrenched more than other places on earth.

As for gender, you're probably familiar with women and non binary people being labeled "crazy" whenever a man is offended.

it is difficult to get free of something terrible, except all together. which means, it is good to understand why the multitude of us, can all benefit from deconstruction, which is not something that has to be either academic or moralistic.

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MHC wrote

American egoist anarchists are rightwing assholes! To them anybody sick is a weakling. And there shoudn't be any safety net. Because the strong shouldn't be burdened by the weak!

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MHC wrote

The Skinnerian approach is to reward responses that you want, while ignoring those that you don't.

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