People First Language: Let's All Be People First & Honor Each Other's Individuality by Pepi Silverman
How we describe ourselves impacts the relationships we form and how we interact with the people around us. In a world of political correctness, words are important, and while “correctness” can be tedious, it is important to understand how words can reduce a person’s sense of self. “People first” language is a way of referencing an individual with a disability by denoting the “person” first and the disability second. Too many times, people with disabilities are labeled by their disability before the acknowledgment of their individuality.
In a world in which people are sorted and categorized by external labels that result in more separation than togetherness, "people first" language creates opportunities for inclusion. By finding ways to strengthen our connections, maybe we can heal the many divisions that exist throughout our society.
For people with disabilities, their sense of self is far more important than whatever might be a limitation for them. When we label a person by their disability, we inadvertently categorize them and remove their personal qualities. Let's share what we have in common as "people first."
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