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Tag Archives: english

The term handicap has become a thorn in the side of the English language.  It is one of the words most associated with the argument of political correctness. So what is a handicap?

I read on CNN’s Young People Who Rock about a young fellow, Sean Forbes, who performs music videos with American Sign Language for the Deaf Community. He is an inspiration to the Deaf Community and he brings to them a piece of the world most people never expected they could have. Below the passage there are a number of comments flaming the mention of deafness as a disability [handicap]. In my mind a handicap is something that significantly alters the way a person experiences society. The Deaf Community is indeed a culture. ASL is the third most used language in the United States. But it is impossible to say that when outside of the Deaf Community communicating can be a struggle. I have taken a course in ASL, but having not actually sought out situations to use it, I have only used it once in the four years since I first started. People who have speaking difficulties are often considered to have disabilities or handicaps, but it merely a communication barrier. Perhaps that is why deafness is not considered a handicap because it is a communication barrier similar to the growing English-Spanish barrier. But then speaking difficulties should not be disabilities.

It is impossible to toss around the word handicap or disability without making someone angry. It is almost as if the terms themselves make people lesser than others. They are social categorizations similar to race. Ultimately, I must agree that deafness is not a handicap, but such a term can only be defined in the eye of the beholder. If I went to Russia could not someone say I am handicapped?

Language is very intriguing. This is a picture of the cover on one of my notebooks. Unfortunately, this is mostly filled with boring notes from lectures, although I do have a couple of writings in it. I actually find covers like this to be inspiring for writing poems and stories.

Citing fiction is merely a round-a-bout process of citing non-fiction. That is, the reference to another person’s thoughts, which are real whether fact or opinion. It is certainly a mistake to believe fiction can give us statistics, but to assume information based on the fictional works of a number of authors is not really different from assuming something based on a yes/no poll. In fact, the former may be more useful in a number of situations since yes/no polls offer no explanations, no additional input, and no interpretation on part of the sample. Reality is much more complex than a simple yes or no, and fiction is deeply embedded in reality.

The idea of citing fiction often can easily be criticized as too abstract. One can only try to understand what an author was truly thinking or what a passage  truly meant. Yet, one reason for citing a literary work of fiction or non-fiction is to back up a statment or presented argument. Words and numbers have a strong history of being pulled out of context or twisted. Other proof, aside from the hard facts, other proof must be coupled to make the strongest argument possible. in this way, fiction can be just as effective. And depending on the audience maybe more so, considering the impact of the fictional styles on human emotion as compared to the raw language often used with words of fact.