Cripple: (n) a person who is disabled or impaired in any way:
Webster considers the word “cripple” to be offensive.
I wonder if we have reached a point in our play-it-safe-society where, in trying to pursue what we might refer to as neutral language, we’ve actually ended up becoming more offensive by pointing out that this particular language which we now eschew is forbidden because the people it refers to are constantly perceived as underdogs.
Honestly, I never gave the first thought about someone in a wheelchair until I found myself in one.
I suppose I assumed that they were paralyzed, or perhaps had been so stricken by disease that they were unable to stand and walk.
Certainly, my training as a good Midwestern Christian let me know that such individuals required healing, and if Jesus were really here, he would quickly get them back on their feet.
But you see, what is really offensive is believing that because a person can’t walk, he or she is less than someone who can, and therefore we must be careful not to offend them with some misused term.
After all, there was a time when the word “retarded” to the average person meant exactly the same thing in exactly the same spirit as the word “challenged.”
Is it less vicious to call someone challenged than to call him or her retarded?
I don’t know and neither do you. We just follow the temporary whim of society’s need to imitate inclusion.
Then again, the “N word,” which is now considered to be abominable, was derived from the romance languages. For in Latin, the word “black” is “niger.” In Spanish, it is “negra.” Perhaps that’s where they came up with the “N word.”
What is offensive is a condescending belief that we must defend people because we have decided they are incapable of speaking for themselves. Is that not truly the most prejudiced thing that we can possibly do?
So if you come to see me and you want to find out what difficulty I’m having with my legs, you can relax.
Because crippled, weakened, impaired, challenged, hobbled or blessed all sound basically the same to me.