Talking about disability the right way

In March 2018 Carly Findlay, appearance activist, was interviewed by veteran ABC presenter Jon Faine.  Faine, (whether out of nervousness, not knowing what to say,  or genuine beleif he was being funny) made some poor jokes referring to her appearance and likening Findlay to a halloween mask.

Findlay talks more about the incident on her blog here: http://carlyfindlay.com.au/2018/03/28/talking-microaggressions-with-jon-faine-on-abc-radio/

Jon Faine subsequently apologised.  Carly Findlay had already made this video for the ABC this about talking about disability, which she has shared in this blog post: http://carlyfindlay.com.au/2017/08/27/my-five-tips-for-journalists-and-editors-writing-and-talking-about-disability/

In it she says, “use empowering language” amongst other things.   She recommends inviting people with disability to tell their own stories, those stories don’t have to be about “how we got like this”.  She says ” Disability/disabled is not a bad word. Stigma is created when euphemisms like special needs are used.” and that you shouldn’t treat PWD like they are super jsut because they got “out of bed and (are) going to work”.

 

If you are unsure what to say when referring to a person’s disability,  take Tiffany Carlsons advice:  “always refer to the Golden Rule. The Golden Rule is beautifully simple – treat others as you’d like to be treated. Mutual respect. At the end of the day, this is the only tip you need.” (Huffington Post 2013).

Lastly, Findlay says, “Pay people to write.”  You can support her here: http://carlyfindlay.com.au/support-me/

Check out Tiffiany Carlson’s full advice here in the Huffington Post, it’s a few years old, but still salient:   https://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/07/15/disability-etiquette_n_3600181.html

2 Replies to “Talking about disability the right way”

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