Wednesday 17 September 2014

CRIPPLE - What's In A Word?

"You shouldn't call yourself a cripple"
Right, so this has been irking me for a few days after it was reported back to me that some family members seemingly took offense to the title of this blog.
Well, I must say that I take offense to them taking offense..... ugh whatever!
I am not alone in the disabled community to reclaim ownership of this word and flip it on its head.

Undoubtedly "Cripple" is not a nice word, but that is kind of the point! 
To put it in the simplest way possible, think of it like a trend which is emulating the now mostly accepted use of the word "queer" to describe a gay person (I am gay myself).  Similar, maybe more so, is the term "nigger" to label a person who is black.  This, like "cripple" still has some way to go until it becomes acceptable for non-disabled or non-black people to use the word in every day life.
When used as a slur the word cripple is clearly being used to insinuate that the persons disability is something to be ashamed of and/or ridiculed.  I have had this shouted at me, amongst other unimaginative choices of words, in the street on more than one occasion and yes, it bloody well hurts!  It also hurts to have people telling me that I should not use this word myself as though my disability is something that should never be talked about.  
Now that doesn't mean that I should not be free to use the word myself.  Only once the word stops having prejudicial connotations, or at least gets much nearer to that point, will it then be okay to be used in everyday talk.  I am a person who strongly supports minorities or oppressed persons in reclaiming so called offensive words.
WE CAN turn those words on their head so as to remove any power those which aim to oppress us may have in using them in an offensive way. 
After writing this blog entry I chose to do a bit of Googling on this subject and you would be surprised just how many disabled bloggers are out there using the word Cripple or Crip in their blog titles or blurb.  I did also come across  THIS DISABLED BLOGGER EXPLAINING THEIR USE OF THE WORD.   Well worth a read to those who want to read a little more about this subject.
I'll finish with a quote from the blog linked in the previous paragraph:
"It is up to each individual crip to decide their comfort level with the word,
and it is the job of their friends and family to respect that"
Sam x
P.S - The disability I have is called Charcot-Marie-Tooth Disease (or CMT for short!).  It has nothing to do with teeth, but if you are interested in finding out more about CMT then pop over to for September is International CMT Awareness Month!... You are also welcome to ask me anything at all about CMT and how it affects me, I'm not shy!


  1. Otherness frightens people to death! By defining you as different from in a negative way they feel safe in their own version of "normal". Sad people! However the saying about sticks and stones and words is not true. Words leave scars too!

  2. Thanks for explaining your thoughts on the word so articulately. There is such power in words...both positive and negative. xx

  3. Makes and interesting read hun hugs Judith x

  4. I too am disabled and have 4 auto-immune illnesses that are often hidden, apart from my walking aids and hand straps, so I totally understand your 'rant' and I loved reading your thoughts x
    Sandie x

  5. Great thoughts and well written :) I have Fibromyalgia and have encountered similar reactions - people seem happy to label others but not so happy if you use those labels yourself. I have called myself a silly cripple & it was your blog title that brought me over to have a look. Loving Mr Bump too :o)


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