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Lydia X. Z. Brown @autistichoya
, 17 tweets, 3 min read Read on Twitter
Over the last 6 or 7 years since I first posted the original Ableist Language Glossary on my blog, I've received literally thousands of comments on it in every form.

Fan mail, hate mail, concern trolling, and mutually contradictory criticisms.

So! Let's clear some things up.
(1) The list is NOT a litmus test.

Stop fucking using it as a censored word list.

Its purpose is to inform and educate, not enforce increased policing/surveillance of random people's language.
(2) It is a RESOURCE.

It's meant to be available to help folks who would like to take a close look at their own language think about their everyday use of words with ableist pasts or presents.
(3) If you're using it to yell at people, especially people who are

- new to activism
- just figuring out their identity as disabled, chronically ill, mad, neurodivergent, etc.
- not even fluent in English
- speaking English as a second/third/etc. language

... Don't.
(4) Every word on the list is not a slur.

A word being ableist is not the same thing as it being a slur.

The list includes slurs (a narrow category) and otherwise ableist words (a broader category).
(5) It's not a list of "offensive" words.

In fact, I utterly despise the term "offensive." I don't find it useful or helpful. It's imprecise.

It's a list of words with ableist histories or current use or both.
(6) Individual disabled people all have different opinions about, reactions to, and histories with the words on the list.

Some of them don't even apply to specific disabled people because they only reference a different disability.

It's not a generally applicable list.
(7) If you or someone else uses words from the list, you/they are not evil or a Bad Activist.

Was someone upset, hurt, or outright triggered about a word choice you used?

Then the decent thing to do is apologize and if you *can*, make an effort not to use that word around them.
(8) Not everyone has the ability or privilege of being able to change their language either easily or at all.

Sometimes being disabled can make language hard, and can make changing language even harder.
(9) It can actually be extremely ableist (not to mention racist and classist) to insist that all people must be able to immediately (or near immediately) change their language by removing whole long lists of words from their vocabulary.
(10) Ableism is NOT A LIST OF BAD WORDS.

Ableism exists in all aspects of language and communication, because ableism is ... well, everywhere.

But ableism is so incredibly vast and all-encompassing beyond this list identifying a specific manifestation of it.
(11) That being said, if you DO have the privilege of changing your language, it's worth considering.

Sometimes we use ableist language when we could be more precise+specific about what we actually mean.

e.g. instead of "crazy" maybe we mean wild, unpredictable, unbelievable.
(12) But if you don't/can't eliminate 100% of the words on my list out of your vocabulary, that doesn't by itself mean you're a bad activist or a bad person.

There are many ways to show allyship and to deconstruct ableism. Language is just one of them.
(13) And for the record, it's not about "PC culture" coming from college campuses.

It's literally just about identifying how language has been/is used as ONE tool of oppression and emotional harm.

Use the list to change your vocabulary. Use it to better analyze texts. Or don't.
(14) But for the love of god and all that is holy, please stop calling it a censorship list or the language police.

And stop using it that way.

(I created it. And way too many of y'all are doing things with it that it is not meant for+that contravene its purpose.)
(15) I remain permanently irritated that it is the single most visited page on my website+blog combined.

I'd probably be less annoyed about this if folks would stop using it as the basis for every flavor of strawman attack on me.

Yes, folks ranging from alt-right to leftist.
(16) It is a resource. Not a litmus test.

It is a tool. Not a panacea.

It is about one aspect of ableism. Not the whole of what ableism is.

Ableism is, at its core, a system of violence.
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