D is for Diss

“Diss” is a slang term, a verb meaning to show disrespect to someone.

One day I was waiting (interminably) in an uncomfortably hard reception room chair at the doctor’s office, flipping through the previous day’s newspaper and reading sad news reports of hate crimes directed at people with disabilities. Of course, the news didn’t call them “Hate Crimes”; they were simply short fillers in the corner of the page where local crimes were reported, just ordinary, everyday, unremarkable crimes that happen in a big metropolitan area.

It occurred to me that an awful lot of dreadful words come from the D section of the dictionary. Like the news omitting the term “hate crime”, we don’t even see these words used very often either, because the attitudes that create the malfeasance are not examined.

Even thought it’s about The Letter D, this is not a happy little alphabet book for children, not even Children with Disabilities.

  • Damn or Demonise someone as being “possessed”
  • Decline to discuss why something is a problem
  • Decry and condemn advocacy efforts as “mere whining” or asking for “special treatment” or “extra favors”
  • Deepen the Difficulty level beyond merely being “challenging”
  • Defame and insult advocates who work for social justice
  • Defer actions until “resources are better” but never do anything
  • Deflate ambitions of young people, recently-disabled people, and anyone trying to change jobs or retrain for new careers
  • Demote or transfer employees to Dead-end jobs
  • Denigrate parents who seek accommodations or services from schools
  • Deny or quit service previously given because the recipient has been re-identified as one of the undeserving out-group
  • Deny what really happened in workplace discrimination
  • De-personalise those on life-support as mere “vegetables”
  • Deprecate equal-access laws as undo hardship on businesses
  • Depreciate the value of slower workers’ earnings (well below minimum hourly wages) because they are paid for piece-work
  • Derail important conversations to unimportant side matters
  • Destroy or vandalize homes or vans-cars-motorcycles-bikes simply because one is seen as outcast or unable to fight back
  • Devalue creative works because they are not “normal”
  • Diminish and belittle one’s dreams
  • Discard residents’ possessions because they “will never need or miss them”
  • Discharge from the hospital and then Drop off and abandon still critically-ill people at homeless shelters, despite the fact that they are even less-able to defend or care for themselves
  • Discredit a person’s knowledge, training or skills
  • Dishonor veterans by failing to provide adequate medical, counselling, residential, educational or occupational services
  • Dismiss someone’s concerns as trivial because “nobody else has a problem with that”
  • Disown children or other relatives because they are deemed unworthy of being proper family members
  • Disparage and dismiss one’s rank or position
  • Displace existing residents because “more important” people need the space
  • Dispose of someone’s collection of favorite objects or hobby materials because it is “not valuable” to others
  • Disregard protests of innocence, because obviously someone is bullied or abused because they “asked for it”
  • Disrespect spouses or partners
  • Divest any involvement and wash hands of the problem

7 Comments

  1. 10 August 2008 at 16:04

    […] 16:04 (Community) (Thankfully this is a much pleasanter alphabetic tour than when we visited the Letter D or the Letter […]

  2. Marla said,

    8 March 2008 at 16:52

    Yup, I have never really liked the letter D. I love the letter M. Thanks for visiting my blog!

  3. 8 March 2008 at 13:00

    […] is for Diss Written by on March 8, 2008 – 3:32 am – Another fellow blogger created an interesting post today on D is for […]

  4. diddums said,

    8 March 2008 at 11:50

    “…and also about her having copied my ex into an e-mail without my permission.”

    I’ve had one of my emails at work (one I thought was conversational rather than formal) forwarded to a ‘higher power’ without my permission – partly in the name of helping me and partly in the name of sticking to company policy (‘don’t hand out advice’). It’s one thing saying “I don’t want to talk to you about that, why not ask…?” but it’s another to just forward my email to someone else and not check with me first. I’m not a parcel to be bandied around.

    What about ‘Diddums’ – does that go in the bad half of the dictionary or the good one? :-)
    The bad, I suspect.

  5. 8 March 2008 at 5:28

    Okay…. I got dissed big-time by my former service providers:

    * Decline to discuss why something is a problem

    Worker refused to listen to me on the whole issue of support into work and why her stubborn refusal to see things as an obvious and forewarned cash-flow problem was damaging my life.

    * Deepen the Difficulty level beyond merely being “challenging”

    Worker insisting that I should learn to manage on an inferior income, below the poverty line, before she would support me in finding work.

    * Defer actions until “resources are better” but never do anything

    Same thing meets this criterion

    * Deny or quit service previously given because the recipient has been re-identified as one of the undeserving out-group

    Because I dared to be dissatisfied with their ‘service’, I’m now in this out-group.

    * Derail important conversations to unimportant side matters

    Anything I brought up as an important issue was sidelined.

    * Diminish and belittle one’s dreams

    “Yes, David, we know you’re very clever!”… need I say more?

    * Discredit a person’s knowledge, training or skills

    I think that, when someone who has a BA in applied social studies tries to explain Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs motivation theory as a means to secure compliance, and is then surprised when her client – who has a BA-equivalence in psychology and a MEd in educational psychology – knows who Maslow is… that has to be a fulfillment of this criterion, right?

    * Dismiss someone’s concerns as trivial because “nobody else has a problem with that”

    Regarding the whole idea of me getting into work… needing support for that; and also about her having copied my ex into an e-mail without my permission.

    * Disparage and dismiss one’s rank or position

    Same thing as in the discrediting issue… this time because I have a higher degree than she does.

    * Disrespect spouses or partners

    Worker talking in a very belittling way about Heini… in front of me!

    * Divest any involvement and wash hands of the problem

    Worker not turning up for a meeting to review procedures and renegotiate services… mess up a life and then walk away… very professional!

    Was I dissed, or what?

  6. dkmnow said,

    8 March 2008 at 4:53

    Diversity, Deftly Demonstrated!

    –Dave

  7. qw88nb88 said,

    8 March 2008 at 3:53

    To my friends whose names start with the letter D:

    Don’t be Dismayed! There are lots of GREAT words in the D part of the dictionary. Like Daring, Darling, Debunk, Decisive, Declare, Decorous, Deduce, Deep-thinker, Defender, Defiant, Deliberate, Delicate, Deluxe, Democratic, Demonstrative, Dependable, Deputy, Deserving, Designer, Detective, Determined, and many more …

    andrea


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