A Reliable Read: Person-first language and oppositional models of disability

This post from Finn’s excellent blog, Standing in the Way of Control is an easily-accessible introduction to the uses and problems that can result with “person-first language”*.

Just an appetizer:

This oppositional attitude toward disability stems from the ableist idea that disability is something that happens to “normal” people—or that disabled people are altered able-bodied or neurotypical people—rather than a natural aspect of human existence. This applies particularly to those of us who have lifelong disabilities—we cannot envisage a life in which we were not disabled relative to the societies in which we grew up.

Now, go read “Person-first language and oppositional models of disability”! (-:


* “Person-first language” refers to the practice of saying, “person with ____”, meant to emphasizing the person rather than defining them by their condition(s). Good intentions run into the law of unintended consequences when ignoring how people define themselves by intrinsic qualities, e.g. “I am a Deaf”, “My autistic aunt”, “He’s bisexual”.