Viewing a single comment thread. View all comments

rot OP wrote

Reply to comment by ziq in Is using the word stupid ableist? by rot

I was thinking that because it was so accepted as an insult to intelligence and not a full on slur anymore. I could see how it could be ableist if used on someone who genuinely has a disability.

1

ziq wrote (edited )

There's no way you can know. But any insult to intelligence is ableist, doesn't matter who you say it to. It perpetuates ability based oppression and hierarchy.

1

jonniedarc wrote

I don't know, this really bothers me. As someone who is neurodivergent I've never associated any disability with a lack of intelligence. I don't think they're the same thing. Maybe it's because how I personally define "intelligence" but I don't really think they're even related concepts. People may erroneously associate the banned word (which literally just means to be in a daze of any kind, like waking up in the morning groggy or being drunk, i.e., in a stupor), with disability, but that's a false equivalency. It doesn't refer to the same thing. Making "foolish", "ignorant" or "uninformed" decisions (all synonyms for the banned word in that context) is not some specific or unique feature of disabled people and I think implying it is in any way is pretty ableist in itself.

I'm not arguing with you because I really want to use the word (I don't typically use it anyway) but I just wanted to express that, as someone who has been called stupid for my disability, I really resent the implication that "stupid" is a slur for what I am or who anyone is. It's not. It refers to an entirely different thing.

3

ziq wrote (edited )

What about people like me who are completely unable to do math and struggle with simple instructions and language because of our disability and are constantly called stupid because of it? It's like you're narrowing the definition of 'disability' to only meet your own disability.

2

jonniedarc wrote

I appreciate your perspective on it and I respect that there are disabled people who make the association between intelligence and disability because it's been employed as a pejorative against them. But I personally don't believe that not being able to do math or struggling with instructions actually makes a person unintelligent.

I think intelligence refers generally to seeking more knowledge on any topic and thinking critically before accepting new information. I totally 100% disagree with the notion that these are traits that are associated one way or the other with having any disability. In fact I would argue that disabled people are more often the victims of a lack of critical thinking than the perpetrators of it, so that's why I'm hesitant to explicitly link intelligence and disability. I just don't see them as being correlated.

That's just my perspective on it and I can still respect people's preferences, I'm just trying to express that different disabled people can come down differently on this.

2

rot OP wrote

Foolish and ignorant don't have ableist roots that I know of, same for uninformed. Idiot and stupid do though.

1

jonniedarc wrote

But they functionally all mean the same thing. If ziq is arguing that insulting someone's intelligence is ableist, then I don't see how it matters what synonym you use for unintelligent.

1

rot OP wrote (edited )

Then is any insult to someones intelligence ok?

1

jonniedarc wrote

I mean, I think to answer that appropriately you have to ask if it's even appropriate to insult people, period, and if it is appropriate, when? The important thing about "insults" is that they contain criticism, which can be valuable if they are warranted. Obviously whether or not an insult is "warranted" or deserved is subjective, but I think if we accept a leftist perspective we can appreciate that there are people and institutions that deserve to be criticized.

But we also have to understand that there is nothing helpful about "punching down", or denigrating people who are already victims of marginalization. This is where criticism becomes nasty and wrong. And obviously it would be just incorrect to absolutely label anyone "unintelligent" because everyone knows certain things, but no one knows everything. It's inherently a value judgement and it's temporal and situational. You may sound "intelligent" to people in a debate but be quite unintelligent about some other topic, and that's not necessarily worth criticizing.

However, if we're talking about anyone who has power in our society to affect other people's lives, they need to have knowledge about how they could affect other people and they need to think critically about everything they do. I think that's a completely appropriate criticism and it does fall under insulting someone's intelligence. If you are making assertions or decisions about a topic you know little about, it matters if you are knowledgeable about it, or in other words, to have the intelligence to make those claims or decisions. If you acted without that knowledge you would necessarily be acting foolishly, unwisely, ignorantly, and inconsiderately. I personally cannot see how making that kind of judgement could be considered ableist, because I don't understand these traits to be correlated with disability or neurodivergence.

I will always respect it when someone asks me not to use a term around them if it carries a negative association for them, but I just personally don't agree with the idea that insulting someone's intelligence is inherently ableist.

2