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jonniedarc wrote

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

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.


rot OP wrote (edited )

Then is any insult to someones intelligence ok?


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.