Letter to the Editors and Mr. Cirrus
STOP THE MADNESS
I am A PERSON WITH A DISABILITY. As a leader in my community I demand retractions on the articles written in your newspaper describing, abusing, and discriminating to persons with disabilities. Your paper reaches all corners of this state. The abusive language used referring to and describing us was disgraceful, degrading, inhuman, immoral, and unethical. I have been crippled, physically challenged, handicapped, and disabled. No one ever asked me who or what I wanted to be called. The persons deciding the verbage/condition persons with disabilities should be, clearly were not persons with disabilities, had no one in there sphere of friends and associates that were a person with a disability[ies].
Language is a powerful tool and your newspaper uses words in a powerful way. The Americans with Disabilities act was established decades ago. Minnesota celebrated 25 years of the ADA this year. Whenever you or your writers place items in your paper about people with disabilities, please use persons with disabilities when referring to or describing us. Continued use of the terms above deny us our Civil and human rights. It allows people to ignore our humanity because we are “conditions.” Conditions are whatever someone decides. Conditions have no civil or human rights. Conditions can’t be educated, can’t be sexually active or physically attractive. Conditions can be ignored because they have no money, no vote, and no voice. Some people believe a person with disabilities can be interchanged with disabled and the statement holds the same meaning. Believe me as a 56 year survivor of a serious childhood accident that should have taken my life, no one has the right to refer to me as a condition. [disabled][handicapped] I am a human being with every God given right, civil right, and human right to be treated fairly and equitably. To be given my respect, honor, faith, and trust as a human being on this planet. All words and terms used to describe persons with disabilities should be stricken from the English language. SPECIAL NEEDS, SPECIAL OLYMPICS, RETARDED, HANICAPPED including the blue signs in the parking lots and labels on parking meter poles, crippled up, and terms I would never use. It does not take much imagination to change the condition words used to people words. Give us our humanity. Respect our rights. Stop the mistreatment and labeling of us. All of you would not be pleased if we referred to you as some condition or inanimate object.
I am willing and able to speak with any and all of you, your peers, friends, politicians, lawmakers etc. to put you on the right path to recognizing our humanity whenever we are thought of. Continued use of condition language makes us invisible as we remain inhuman.
Do me and yourselves a favor. Find the definition of the terms used to describe us and see if there is any humanity in any of them. Also please consider the harm you have caused. Think about the cultures and persons outside White people and how the words apply.
Kenneth E. Brown
5228, 30th Ave. S.
Minneapolis, MN 55417