Delingpole: ‘Able-Bodied’ Is Offensive, Claims Disability Charity

1810: Early nineteenth century wheelchairs. (Photo by Hulton Archive/Getty Images)
Hulton Archive/Getty Images

A charity for the disabled has urged us to avoid using words like ‘able-bodied’ lest it offend people who aren’t, er, as bodily able as people who are able-bodied. This is insanity – and I shall demonstrate it why it is insanity in just a moment.

According to the Telegraph:

A list of appropriate and inappropriate terms for those with disabilities has been released by Leonard Cheshire, adding that the language used is “vital”.

The charity, set up in 1948 by RAF group captain Leonard Cheshire, said that people should say “non-disabled” rather than “able-bodied.”

The term “able-bodied” is seen by some people in the disabled community as implying that all people with disabilities do not have “able bodies”.

“Blind” should also be avoided, according to their list, with people urged to use “person with visual impairment” instead.

To help the campaign, the charity has enlisted the support of disabled rapper Kray-Z Legz who is quoted by the Telegraph thus:

Language is a powerful thing and it can be very degrading. I have personally been bullied, stared at and spoken to like a child. I can’t count the times somebody has used offensive words to describe me, even though they are being genuinely curious and friendly.

And there, ladies and gentlemen, you see perfectly illustrated why this confected debate about permissible language is stupid, dangerous and counterproductive.

If, as Kray-Z Legz says, the people using these ‘offensive’ words are ‘genuinely curious and friendly’ then what, exactly, is his problem?

Taking offence is a matter of personal choice. No one has to take offence about anything. Normally, or at least traditionally, it’s a function of the offence-giver’s perceived intention. That is, if you think somebody is deliberately having a go at you then you will take umbrage. If, on the other hand, you think their intentions are good and that they merely misspoke or if maybe they are someone much older using phraseology which was acceptable for their own generation but which is now considered politically incorrect, then you generally give them a lot more leeway.

Why take offence when none is intended? That way madness — not to mention the dirty, passive-aggressive trick of cry-bullying — lies.

As Kray-Z Legz rightly says, ‘language is a powerful thing.’ Which is precisely why the kind of woke activists who push for these linguistic changes are so relentlessly eager to take control of it. By continually changing the rules on what terms are and aren’t acceptable, they keep ordinary people treading on eggshells, never knowing quite what they can and can’t say, ever trepidatious of giving offence.

It really has much more to do with power politics than it does protecting vulnerable people from hurt feelings…

…that and generating fake controversies in order to raise your charity’s public profile.

Well if that was the intention Leonard Cheshire, I’m certainly not playing your game. Stick to the good and important work you were founded for, and skip the politics. Next time I see someone rattling a collection tin for your charity you’re getting nothing from me. I have every respect for the disabled. None at all for bullying wokerati dictating what language I can and can’t use and trying to make me feel guilty when I’ve done nothing wrong.

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