Diversity Leaders: 6 Things NEVER to Say About Disabilities

How can you adopt a vocabulary that's inclusive and respectful of everyone? This Ernst & Young exec, an advocate for people with disabilities, shares her insights.

How to Promote Inclusion: Things Not To Say

“The difference between the right word and the almost-right word is the difference between lightning and the lightning bug.” —Mark Twain

As diversity leaders, we understand that disability is just another kind of difference, like culture, ethnicity, gender or sexual orientation. We recognize that diversity is a valuable source of insight and adaptability, generating better business ideas and high-quality service. Differing abilities are a part of that healthy diversity. It’s our business to promote inclusiveness throughout our organizations and to advocate for policies and programs that support it.

In building an inclusive culture, we’re on the front lines and need to be visibly living our organizations’ values every day. It’s important that we set the tone not only in what we do and say, but how we say it—in formal messaging as well as everyday conversation. This is where even diversity leaders can get stuck.

Sometimes inclusive language can seem a bit cumbersome, but with a few simple changes each of us can make a significant difference—helping to promote an inclusive culture while setting an example both inside and outside our organizations.

Here are six ways never to talk about disabilities:

1.     Never say “a disabled person” or “the disabled.” Say a person or people “with disabilities.”
Put the person first. A disability is what someone has, not what someone is. For instance, “mentally ill” is less respectful than “person with mental-health issues.” “Retarded” is never an appropriate term. Say “intellectual disabilities” or “cognitive disabilities.”

2.     Never use the term “handicapped parking.” Use “accessible parking” instead.
Handicapped parking is still in use (e.g., when referring to parking placards), though the word “handicapped” is offensive and has been virtually eliminated in most other contexts. Remove it from your organization’s vocabulary completely by using the term “accessible parking.” (It’s also more accurate, as accessible describes the parking and handicapped does not.)

3.     Never use the term “impaired.” Use terms such as “low vision,” “hard of hearing” or “uses a wheelchair” instead.
Though it may be used in legal contexts, the word “impaired” can be offensive, as it implies damage. Many people with disabilities do not see themselves as damaged, but simply as different.

4.     Never say “hidden” disabilities. Say “non-visible” or “non-apparent.”Many disabilities are not apparent, such as serious illnesses or chronic health conditions, sensory limitations, or mental-health and learning disabilities. When referring to these disabilities, avoid using hidden, as it has negative connotations, implying purposeful concealment or shame.

5.     Whenever possible, don’t say “accommodations.” Say “adjustments” or “modifications.”This can be tricky, as accommodation has a specific legal meaning and must be used in certain contexts, like policy or government communications. However, accommodation suggests doing a favor for the person who has a disability. An accommodation is a workplace or work-process modification made to enable an employee to be more productive. It is necessary and not a preference or privilege. The terms adjustment and modification capture this idea without suggesting a favor or special treatment, so are preferable whenever specific legal terminology is not required.

6.     Never use victim or hero language; describe situations in a straightforward way.
Don’t use language that portrays people with disabilities as victims, such as “suffers from,” “challenged by,” or “struggles with.” Say “someone who uses a wheelchair” or “wheelchair user,” not “wheelchair-bound” or “confined to a wheelchair.” On the flip side, don’t use heroic language when people with disabilities complete everyday tasks and responsibilities. People with disabilities don’t see themselves as inspiring simply because they’re going about their daily lives. We all have challenges—working around those challenges is not heroic, it’s just human.

What Terminology Should I Use?

It’s worth noting that even in the disability community (yes, that is how advocates for inclusion of people with disabilities refer to ourselves), different people are comfortable with different terminology. Some are fine with the descriptor “disabled,” which is in common use in the United Kingdom. Others may freely use “impaired.” However, as diversity leaders, it is our job to promote behaviors that make all people feel valued and included. Knowing that some people are offended by these terms, I feel strongly that the most inclusive course is to avoid them and adopt a vocabulary that feels respectful to everyone.

As champions of diversity, we have the opportunity—and the responsibility—to set standards for how our people, organizations and society speak and think about people with disabilities. By shifting our language, we can help shift perceptions and promote the culture of inclusion that is the backbone of healthy diversity in all aspects of life.

–Lori GoldenErnst & Young AccessAbilitiesTM Leader 

Golden leads Ernst & Young’s internal initiatives in the Americas to create an enabling environment and inclusive culture for people working with disabilities. She works with Ernst & Young  AccessAbilitiesTM, the firm’s disabilities-focused Professional Network; consults on work adjustments and career development; drives efforts to enhance ergonomics and accessibility in offices, communications, meetings, trainings and technology; and educates Ernst & Young’s people on disabilities-related issues.

*The views and opinions expressed herein are solely those of the author, and do not necessarily reflect those of Ernst & Young. This article features contributed content and has not been fact-checked or copy-edited by DiversityInc.

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  • I am sorry, I don’t know where you are getting your information, but Accommodation is the legal term and must be used. Modification sounds like a favour as does adjustments.

    I also don’t agree with not using “hidden”. I have a hidden disability and I do not take offence to that word. “non-visible” is just another take on an over used politically correct world. Besides, I do not think that non-visible is plain language and those suffering from hidden disabilities such as brain injury may not understand what you are saying.

    Sorry to disagree, but sometimes we go to far with political correctness.

    • I too believe we have become overly sensitive to the political correctness. I do believe in the people first language: I am a “person” with multiple sclerosis, I have a “son” with down syndrome. But even among some of us who have MS, we jokingly call ourselves MS’ers. Yeah, I would be offended if a non-ms’er called me an ms’er. But whether it’s “modifications”, “accomodations”, “adjustments”, it doesn’t really matter, does it? They’re synonyms as far as I’m concerned. I park in “handicapped” parking. My “handicap” is “hidden” (except I limp a little). If you called my son “retarded” I might be offended. I think most people know that word is not politically correct. But let’s relax a little. Pretty soon, saying someone has a disability will be politically incorrect.

      • Luke Visconti

        You can’t have progress without the difficulty of changing people’s behavior. The only people who use the phrase “politically correct” are ignorant. They feel stress from change. In the case of reserved parking spots for people with limited mobility, or inclusion/mainstreaming of people with disabilities of every kind, including Down’s, the changes in our society over the past 40 years are amazing—and we¹re still making progress. Change bothers people, but you can’t make an omelet without breaking eggs. Luke Visconti, CEO, DiversityInc

        • I find it completely unbelievable that someone who promotes positive diversity and is actually a CEO of DiversityInc would call anyone an ignoramous.

          You wrote an article about disability and wording regarding disabilities then someone who actually lives with a disability themselves and has family members who live with disabilities disagrees with your argument. First you say their comment is silly then go on to undermine their point even more by calling them ignoramouses.

          As someone who was born with a disability and has therefore lived with one her whole life I dislike the fact that people discuss the correctness of phrasing like you have as it creates the idea that the word DISABILITY itself is a dirty word. I’m perfectly ok describing myself as having a disability, I’m perfectly ok to discuss accomodations that need to be made to make my life easier, it won’t change my situation to say I need to make modifications instead, changes still need to be made no matter what you call them.

          Most of the terms you have suggested we use are just synonyms of already existing terms and it feels petty and consecending to suggest we use them instead. You’re being offended on behalf of someone who doesn’t necessarily feel offended.

          • Luke Visconti

            Please. The poster described all the positive benefits of years of work around the issue of people with disabilities as it concerned her and her son, and then said “let’s relax a little.” People with disabilities have the highest unemployment of any college-educated group—and most employees do not disclose disabilities for fear of retribution. Let’s “relax a little” when the numbers approach the mean. And I stand by my opinion that the phrase “politically correct” is invoked by ignorant people nearly 100 percent of the time. Luke Visconti, CEO, DiversityInc

        • Good comment. And context matters. People can tell when you are trying to be kind, helpful, friendly and inclusive. My suggestion would be that one can change one’s attitude and heart and the words will follow. That object you are describing is actually a person with whom you are hopefully having a conversation with.

  • I agree with Monica. In saying “hidden disability” because its the disability itself that results in symptoms being hidden, not the person with the disability who is not deliberately hiding the disability.
    Also, accommodation, modification and adjustment all should be used without worry. In the trainings we do with businesses about disability-aware interaction, all three terms have relevance for interacting with people who have, and who don’t have disabilities.

  • A person affiliated with this site is calling a comment that expresses a different opinion “silly”? Seems a bit unprofessional, and ironic considering this site includes the word ‘diversity’ in its title.

    • Luke Visconti

      Diversity does not imply a lack of standards. Luke Visconti, CEO, DiversityInc

  • I don’t “call someone ‘disabled’, ‘handicapped’, or ‘with disabilities’ “- I call them by whatever moniker by which they have invited me to address them- anything else is condescending,demeaning and many different communities take issue with such attitudes. I try to treat people how I would like to be treated. If they want to address any specific issues they have- that is purely up to them. Many communities have their own ‘subcultural rules’. -don;t assume you know what they are- again, ASK.
    Try the the way your Mom or Grandmother taught you; ASK someone how they wish to be addressed. One of the most insulting things you can do is turn to a thrid party and ask them about the other person thereby demeaning and diminishing them.

    • Thanks, Wolfmara. I couldn’t agree more. Whenever I see someone who looks different than me, I immediately ask what moniker I should call them. Usually, they just say “Paul” or “Rachel” or “get out of my way, asshole”. But sometimes they punch me, and one unusually tall woman even called the police. It’s frustrating because I seem to be the only one who knows how sensitive I’m being towards people with differences.

  • Disabed people is growing in popularity instead of person with a disability. As a DISABLED PERSON (yes I identify that way) I feel it better recognizes that an ignorant society adds barriers to those with ddisabilities through their refusal to give people public space. Disabled people is also the pc term most commonly used in English speaking Europe so what is preferred is also geographical. I think people’s own preferences should be respected so if an individual prefers people first language, that should be respected but to say that anything but people first language should never be used it utterly rediculous because it does not allow for a nuanced understanding of disability and how people feel about those identities.

  • Candy de la Garrigue

    This is without a doubt the most ignorant piece of crap I have ever had the displeasure of reading. I am HANDICAPPED. You will make ACCOMMODATIONS for my dog and my wheelchair, as needed.I will park in a HANDICAPPED space. You will not use ridiculous terms like “challenged” “hidden”, or any other ridiculous PC terminology. You people have lost your minds.I’m aware that my body is broken (hence the dog and chair). However, my brain works just fine,and so do my ears. I’m not some little tulip who is going to cry because you made some comment about the dog, the chair, or the fact that I have a handicapped placard.

    • Luke Visconti

      I’m more like you. I need a cane and the kind I use comes in sets of two; the folks delivering it make some useful suggestions about what to do with the second one. I said I’ll need two because sooner or later someone was going to do or say something that would compel me to put my cane up that person’s behind.

      But this story requires a broader perspective. Not everyone is as hardy as you or me. But as to what you call me or anyone? As my good friend Jim Sinocchi said when he was asked for his perspective as a quadriplegic: “Call me Jim.” Luke Visconti, CEO, DiversityInc

    • I agree with ridiculous PC terms. I often refer to myself as “gimpy” and park in “gimpy parking” I have a handicap and somewhat crippled. By forcing someone to use ever changing terms it make everyone feel uncomfortable. Relax world, and embrace yourself and who you are. Terms like “hidden” are crazy and over PC. Luke may be CEO of this site, but doesn’t speak for all of us. again relax, most people do not mean to insult so don’t take it that way.

      • And you don’t speak for anybody. The difference between you and me is that I have a 400,000 person audience and you have an audience of whatever is inbetween your ears. It is not OK for people without handicaps do use the word “gimpy”. Not everyone has the strength of ego to withstand bullying like that.

        PC is an issue for people like trump to rabble rouse by telling people that their failures are the fault of Mexicans and Muslims, the rest of us have a right to demand politeness and simple human dignity. Those are conditions for productivity, which makes this a business issue. You do not have the right to destroy the productivity of your coworkers with your rediculous language.

        • PC is certainly _is_ a valid issue of discussion. Calling people “rabble rousing” who bring up concerns about it is jus short circuiting the conversation and a cheap way to discredit those who disagree with you. To be blunt, I think you’re way too sensitive.

          The fact is no amount of word shifting is going to “fix” how people feel about disabilities. Personally I can’t stand the term disabled and much prefer handicapped (I have mild but quite noticeable CP). Handicap’s common usage is in golf and some other sports and describes a spectrum of ability and applies to practically everyone to some extent and denotes an adjustment/consideration of that individual and can change over time. I really don’t give a darn about some 150+ year old misattribution to an archaic term for begging that practically no one has ever heard of (I had never heard of it in my 58 years until I finally looked up what all the fuss is about). On the other hand, when I hear disabled, it’s very grating. I immediately think of its other common usage which means “rendered inoperable/non-functioning” which is technically the exact same meaning as crippled (our “n” word).

          As to creating complex rules to where the personal pronoun is in relation the description of our condition, that’s frankly ridiculously impractical, even counter productive, as it just a means that practically no one is comfortable talking about it and makes them hyper aware of our differences (not my goal in life).

          The only thing I’d like to strike from conversation is that extremely annoying note of pity that all too often creeps in no matter what term is used. And if the speaker is terrified of making a slip in referring to my condition lest I think of them as an insensitive jerk or that I’ll be crushed and need months of counseling to recover, that’s frankly pretty friggin’ insulting as well. My goal is to have a normal conversation with the person, not making them hypersensitive to something that’s probably irrelevant 99% of the time.

          The only way to make life easier for us folks with disabilities is main streaming and getting people used to being around us and not to feel embarrassed to ask reasonable questions for fear of triggering a rant or thinking we’re so fragile we need special treatment.

          Gay rights weren’t won by hitting upon the exact right word for the condition. It happened when enough people came out for people to realize they know a fair number of gay folks and they are “just like everyone else”. Some are saints, some are real jerks and mentioning that they are gay doesn’t bring the world down around your ears. It’s a statement of fact without the need to dress it up to make it acceptable.

          P.S. Having said all that, “gimpy” _is_ pretty tacky ;) but to each his own, I guess. Maybe it’s like a gay man calling himself queer? I’m guessing Doc Walk is 80+. I’d be interested in seeing if I’m right on that point.

          • Trump is a rabble rouser. And speaking of cheap- he’s a terrible cheapskate – it’s why he gets sued regularly- if he just gave back the money to the people he ripped off with Trump University, he wouldn’t be in the press so negatively. Then again, if he hadn’t inherited $200,000,000, he would just be somebody’s nightmare next-door neighbor in Queens.

            As far as being “too sensitive”, I note you write about things that you are sensitive to. But I agree with most of your comment.

          • No defense of Trump here. (might be a little off the point but what the heck, I’ll share a good rant with you ;)

            A rational person might share a valid concern here or there (issues like what could be called “PC exhaustion” is something he’s tapped into), but just as we all agree blood is important, that doesn’t mean we want a mosquito for President. Be nice if we had Trump deet. Hmm.

            The guy is an admitted con artist, unfit to be a spokesman for anything, and is utterly unfit to be president and I’m speaking as a moderate conservative in this. (not that I feel strongly on this issue or anything ;)

  • I am in charge of the Public Services floor of the Chattanooga Public Library. Among other things, we provide 27 public computers where our library customers can access the Internet. We have one computer that we call the “Handicapped” computer. It’s main feature is a large easy-to-read keyboard. It has been suggested that we rename this computer. I cannot determine what might be a more appropriate/descriptive name, however. I have a “handicap” myself but grew up in the age in which that term was widely used and accepted. I have looked online and have seen: “Computer With Adaptive Technology.” That seems a little long to me. If we are going to change the name I need something that my staff will remember and can easily say to the public. Any suggestions?

  • Voice of Reason

    After reading this article and the many follow up comments, I must insist that all of the people on planet Earth refer to me as a “guy who is white”, or a “guy who is bald” as I find it demeaning to place my lack of melanin or follicles ahead of the fact that I am a guy. Oh wait, you should all refer to me as a “Human who is a guy who is white (or bald)” as it stresses the fact that…. OK, what you are now thinking is that you should all refer to me as an “ass who is a Jack”. I think the point to drive home here is that too many people abuse the hadicapped plackard.

    • Luke Visconti

      Like Ronald Reagan’s concocted and fictional “welfare queen.” The abuser of the handicap placard is a chimera. I have a handicap hang tag and can tell you that I have become far more sensitive to the paucity of spots in which to use it. I have not seen it abused, not once. And what if 1 percent did abuse it? Cancel the program? I do hear you about the lingual gymnastics. As Jim Sinocchi illustrated, just call me Luke. Luke Visconti, CEO, DiversityInc

      • please come to WV handicap placards are abused everyday, and people faking to get on federal and state disability is everywhere

  • I am going in for an interview at the Handicapped Children’s Association tomorrow and was just realizing that I might use the incorrect terminology in the interview and blow it. This site has been very informative and useful in my case as now I have a pretty good grasp on what has been acceptable over the years and what is currently broadly accepted, as well as which gentler terms are available. I have really enjoyed the after posts and must say that after reading them, whatever tension I had about using a slightly politically incorrect term is gone. Thanks to everyone for posting. I am truly blessed.

    • Luke Visconti

      Good luck during with your interview. I’m glad you did some homework. I think you should relax. Even if you use a slightly out-of-date term, the fact that you care and will come across to the person you’re interviewing with. I’m sure you will focus on what will benefit the children and you’ll be fine. Luke Visconti, CEO, DiversityInc

  • I work for an organization that is in a historic building that has many flights of stairs to enter. The restrooms are not on the same floor as any other room in the building. It is not wheelchair accessible and is also not accessible to people who can walk but can not climb stairs. We try to warn people who may want to visit us by saying the building is not handicap-accessible on our literature. What would be a better term to say this in a concise clear way?

    • “This building is not accessible for people with disabilities” if there’s room you can add “in violation of law” and if there’s more room you can add, “in violation of human decency”

    • Unfortunately, many historic buildings are not allowed to be brought to ADA code. Your organization may want to look into modifications that can be made within the limitations of it being designated as an historic building, if they haven’t done so already.

  • Luke, you’re a jerk with a disability. How is that for proper terminology?

    • Not bad, however your statement implies that my being a jerk is associated with my disability. I was a jerk long before I had a stroke.

      Have a nice day.

  • 1. I would rephrase #1 as “ask someone what language they prefer or listen to how they refer to themselves. ” I have been disabled my whole life, and prefer disabled over person with a disability. If someone prefers people first language, definitely use it. but it shouldn’t be forced on anyone. I have been corrected for calling myself “disabled”. Most autistic adults prefer “autistic” over “has autism”.

    2. I personally don’t mind the term “handicapped” parking. The term “handicapped” is controversial among disabled people.

    3. It depends on what the group or individuals want. Deaf people prefer deaf and hard of hearing over “hearing impaired”. Blind people don’t like the term visually impaired.

    4. “Hidden” means the disability is invisible, not the person is trying to hide it.

    5. Accommodation, adaptation, modification, alteration, adjustment, it depends on the context. An adjustment is “a small alteration or movement made to achieve a desired fit, appearance, or result.” An interpreter for the deaf is not an adjustment, but an accommodation. As a disabled person, I don’t mind the term accommodation.

    6. Don’t tie our achievements to our disabilities. Yes, recognize the achievements, advancements, and contributions by disabled people. But don’t say a disabled person deserves more credit than an able person for accomplishing the same thing. A kid running a marathon in prosthetics is NOT more inspirational / amazing than the able bodied kid doing the exact same thing.

    7. I decided to add #7, “ask disabled people what terms they prefer.” I call myself disabled, crippled, crip, etc. I guarantee you most disabled people will disagree with this article.

    • Outstanding. I didn’t have a “dog in this fight” until I became partially paralyzed due to a stroke one year ago. As far as I’m concerned, I’m “disabled”. I can walk across the room, but it isn’t pretty to watch and when I get there I can only use one arm. I don’t mind talking about it – I get by just fine and am in far better shape than some of the folks I shared the stroke ward with – not in as good shape as some, but I’m not jealous of them.

      When I see people with limited mobility, I feel a kinship, but I realize that isn’t always shared.

      Regarding your number 7, I prefer “Luke”.

  • Well, politically correct articles such as this illustrate how we are surrounded by both physically and mentally challenged. In a world where everyone is so easily offended, it’s best just to keep your mouth shut, and pretend you’re illiterate along with the majority. If I’ve lost an eyeball – it’s okay to call me the one-eyed lady, not the person with “limited vision”.
    Many suffer with chronic pain which the naked eye can’t see – it’s an insidious disability. Those people should be able to park near the entrance. It’s much easier and more comfortable for someone in a wheelchair to ride up to a store or place of business, than it is for someone with rheumatoid or psoriatic arthritis, for example, who must slowly hobble from their vehicle. There was a time when people of color wanted to be called black, now it’s African-American, even though most are not from Africa, Next decade, it will be something else. When I was a single mom, people used to introduce me as “the single mom” versus simply using my name or my occupation. People make social mistakes, and you live with it, and move on, Don’t get your panties in a wad over syntax, You’d be walking around with wedgies 24/7.

    • Sonya made a good point in saying – simply ask the disabled person what they prefer, if ANYthing, and go about your business. Most might even say they don’t care, as long you speak normally and treat them as you would want to be treated. Just like with “abled” people, there are many who enjoy being razzed and teased by friends because it makes them feel more normal..

    • Completely agree. Politically correct only exists to make those WITHOUT disabilities feel better about speaking to and referring to the disabled.

    • The thing about the handicapped parking. You have to have room to get your wheelchair around to your door. It’s impossible in a regular parking space. But if you are able to obtain a placard for any disability your state allows, please use it. It’s always a workout when you’re wheeling yourself though!

  • As a DISABLED PERSON I find this article quite idiotic, person with a disability implies that’s I am somewhat of a jackass who uses my disability as an excuse.

  • This is a ridiculous article. Yes, there are kinder ways of expressing that someone uses a wheelchair or is hearing impaired or has a disability of some kind, but to go to the lengths of making comments like you should only say Accessible regarding wheelchair accessible is just stupid.

    I’m in a wheelchair through airports, parks, sometimes malls, etc. I want to know where there is wheelchair access – not just access.

      • Cheryl Howard

        The article focused on general terminology, but the comments focus a great deal on what people say. I am developing guidelines for writers who publish work online. We will never find the words that will placate every reader, but the suggestions in the column are helpful.

        • I think just avoiding the very obvious ones—crippled, maimed, retarded, etc–are something we all can do.

          For me? I always say “I have a disability” and hope people use that when talking about me, too, but if they call me disabled I won’t get mad. I just tell them I prefer the other way. So people can call me whatever (if they are meaning well)–I’ll just correct them if I’d rather them say something else. That is how, in my eyes, it should be treated personally. Ask someone beforehand if you can, but if not, it’s likely they won’t be mad.

          For online audiences? With such a broad group I’d refer to this list.

  • As a person who has to write articles about trips to restaurants, museums, theaters, etc., I would like to know how to replace the phrase “not handicapped accessible” with a brief, clear phrase that is more appropriate and less offensive. The people I write for use wheelchairs and walkers. Thanks.

    • Especially for your audience, couldn’t you just say “not accessible”?

      I think nuance is more important. “Accessible” means different things depending upon the extent of your mobility issue. For example, Rutgers built an honors college with a gigantic staircase as a central feature. For anyone in a chair, it’s absolutely not accessible, for me, one flight of stairs with hand rails on both sides (my left hand doesn’t work) is accessible, but that monstrosity is not. To compound the issue, there was no reasonably close accessible parking spots the last time I was there. I’m waiting for the next president to begin donating to Rutgers again.

  • Thank you for this article. The suggestions are helpful. I came to find this article because I just started working for a office that has a program that employs persons with developmental disabilities. When the Manager of the program introduced the program to me he used some language which made me cringe because I have an invisible disability. He used Special Adults and that they were Mentally Challenged. While I was somewhat okay :-? with “Mentally Challenged” I was still curious if there was a better way to say it what he meant. Words have power and I think it’s most important to be compassionate and empathetic to the language you use. I see too many comments of how ridiculous PC terminology and how people are being so INSENSITIVE to the idea of political correctness. I think people are TOO quicke to be dismissive of someone’s feelings who DOES care about language.

    Maybe more negative nelly’s should consider how ashamed you would be if your child called another child a GIMP because that’s how you jokingly refer to yourself.

    Finally, your words are a reflection of yourself. Don’t be afraid to use BIG and SMART heartfelt ones.

  • I wish people would stop trying to attach a new meaning to a word that already has an understood one. It’s sound ridiculous to say “accessible” when you mean “handicap accessible” or “wheelchair accessible”. It makes no sense for a business to state “All of our stores are accessible.” if they have doors, they are accessible! Crotched Mountain in New Hampshire now has trails that they say are accessible. This used to mean that a trail was no longer flooded or eroded; you could now access it.

    • I understand what “accessible” means as it applies to access for people like me. It’s rediculous that you find it “ridiculous”.

      • ?? The only point I’m making is that the word “accessible” has long had a well defined meaning. See the above comment by Dawn Wilson dated 5/12/2016. For example, one dictionary has: ac·ces·si·ble

        1. (of a place) able to be reached or entered. “The town is accessible by bus”.
        synonyms: reachable, attainable, approachable; More
        2. (of a person, typically one in a position of authority or importance) friendly and easy to talk to; approachable. “My profeesor is more accessible than most teachers”.
        synonyms: approachable, friendly, agreeable, obliging, congenial, affable, cordial, welcoming, easygoing, pleasant

        When you reappropriate the word to mean “wheelchair accessible” you are narrowing limiting the use of an accepted word. Why not stop trying to be so PC by avoiding the use of “handicapped”?

        Even the name of your organization “Diversity Inc” is somewhat misleading, since you don’t seem to appreciate a diversity of opinions.

        One of my nephews has Down syndrome, and his mother certainly loves him, but she has no objection when other people use the word “retarded”, since she knows it simply means “slow”. A fire retardant has the purpose of slowing down the growth of a fire, and he is just not as fast as some others to understand some concepts.

        As far as being PC, there are people I work with that despise the term “African-American” because they are from specific countries in Africa like Uganda, but they are not American. They are just fine with the use of the word “black”, because they are extremely dark skinned and thus appear “black”. One fellow said “I am not a person of color, but maybe a person of no color”. I’m thinking he was being humorous, but had a valid point.

        When we have a perfectly acceptable word usage in English that is understood by everyone, why twist it and turn it until you find a meaning that’s suits you? I sure as heck don’t want to use an expression that causes discomfort to anyone, but as
        Dawn Wilson said above:

        This is a ridiculous article. Yes, there are kinder ways of expressing that someone uses a wheelchair or is hearing impaired or has a disability of some kind, but to go to the lengths of making comments like you should only say Accessible regarding wheelchair accessible is just stupid.

        I’m in a wheelchair through airports, parks, sometimes malls, etc. I want to know where there is wheelchair access – not just access.

        And your reply:
        Kind is the key word. I don’t really give a fig about the nomenclature either.

          • Touché – your point is very well made! I appreciate all the efforts your organization has make, and the work that you, as an individual, have done to help overcome the issues that many people face every that a huge portion of our population is ignorant of.

  • Please disregard the above and allow this edit; I was a bit hasty and omitted a few key words!

    Touché – your point is very well made! I appreciate all the efforts your organization has made, and the work that you, as an individual, have done to help overcome the issues that many people face every day that a huge portion of our population is ignorant of.

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