To complain about this language, I think it's disablist?

(128 Posts)
Lambzig Thu 25-Jul-13 17:50:05

I recently went on a speed awareness course with AA Drivetech. Totally my mistake and stupid fault for speeding and I found the course content interesting and useful.

However, one thing is really bothering me. The course talks a lot about how speeding over 30 mph can have severe and fatal impacts during any accidents. The trainer referred on at least 3 occasions to people being "left as cabbages" or "if it didn't kill you, you would be a cabbage".

I thought it was inappropriate and offensive, and wished I had said something at the time, but the whole delivery was a bit intimidating.

It's just over a week ago now, but its praying on my mind. DH thinks I am being a teeny bit preciou, that they use emotive language and that if I complain it will look like I am being petty for having to go on the course (some people there were so aggressive about it). I think AA would want to stop it being said and that I should complain.

Am I overreacting?

Secretswitch Thu 25-Jul-13 20:22:38

Ilovemyself, words have power. My 14 year old dd was asked by an older man how it felt to have a cripple for a mother. Her tears cut me to the core.

Ilovemyself Thu 25-Jul-13 20:23:08

Tbh it wouldn't bother me, if she was in a vegetative state.

MrsDeVere Thu 25-Jul-13 20:24:03

Of course it was.
It was meant as a detraction from the actual point of the thread.

I was using random numbers to illustrate a point.

It could have been 30 in a 10, 50 in a 6 or 300000 in a 9.8

The point remains the same. You do not encourage empathy by using language that reduces a human being to the level of a vegetable.

If the thread was about at what point you get referred to a speeding awareness course you would be spot on. But it isn't so you aren't.

Ilovemyself Thu 25-Jul-13 20:24:17

Words only have power if you let them.

MrsDeVere Thu 25-Jul-13 20:24:43

That isn't the question I asked.

Secretswitch Thu 25-Jul-13 20:24:56

Proof again from this thread that ignorance and casual cruelty still exists.

ifyourehoppyandyouknowit Thu 25-Jul-13 20:25:07

Op I would write to them explaining how you found the course useful and informative, but you are concerned about the offensive language used. YANBU

Ilovemyself Thu 25-Jul-13 20:25:08

MrsDevere. Fair point

MrsDeVere Thu 25-Jul-13 20:25:46

So if a teenager hangs themself after months of verbal abuse its their fault for allowing words to hurt them?

Really?

Secretswitch Thu 25-Jul-13 20:26:36

Really, ilovemyself, cold comfort to a child with a " different" mum.

Making this about the OP speeding is absolutely irrelevant. To use that term is unacceptable in any circumstances. You can't suddenly decide that it's okay to use demeaning language about human beings just because the people you're taking to have committed an offence. One has no bearing on the other.

Should burglars lose the right to complain if a police officer uses racist language around them?

Should fraudsters lose the right not to be subject to homophobic rants?

It's bizarre to suppose that its okay to behave like a bigot just because your audience had committed an offence of some kind.

MrsDeVere Thu 25-Jul-13 20:27:23

or a parent with a child with SN who has just been called a retard.

Secretswitch Thu 25-Jul-13 20:31:25

MrsDeVere, I think perhaps you understand. I don't know your circumstances but you sound as if you know how disability feels.
I am in tears remembering my poor daughter saying to that man " She's not a cripple, she's my mum".

Spartacus101 Thu 25-Jul-13 20:31:47

Jesus - disingenuous or what. The course isn't the point. Speeding isn't the point.

The point is, is it ok to use the word 'cabbage' to describe a person.

Pretty obvious answer - no it isn't.

And as for all this "It's pc gooorrrrrrrrrrrnnnn mad" crap, really?? In 2013??

Spartacus101 Thu 25-Jul-13 20:32:51

Secretswitch - [hugs] so sorry to hear of that sad There are some very unpleasant people out there angry

Twirlyhot Thu 25-Jul-13 20:33:35

Was it ever considered nice? No. You would never have said to someone, "I'm sorry your husband is a cabbage.' Unless you were a cunt.

VelvetSpoon Thu 25-Jul-13 20:37:02

YANBU.

Its utterly inappropriate to refer to the catastrophically injured as cabbages.

I would have though someone delivering a course would have been better schooled in use of suitable, and less inflammatory, terms.

As someone who has worked with those seriously injured in RTAs and their families, I can't think of a single one who would have considered it acceptable to have referred to their brain-injured relative in those terms.

SwishSwoshSwoosh Thu 25-Jul-13 20:41:45

Words have great power to hurt, I never understood why people tell children it doesn't hurt to be teased etc.

Secretswitch - sorry that happened to you and your dd.

lunar1 Thu 25-Jul-13 20:44:37

I know its not the point of the thread in the slightest but i have to stick my oar in. I have been a nurse to many people in persistent/permanent vegetative states and varying degrees of low awareness.

Every single one is treated as a person, we talk with them no differently than we would to a patient who had been admitted with a broken arm. We tell them what we are doing, ask questions, talk about their family, tell them about our day.

At no point in over 10 years have i heard the word cabbage or vegetable used to describe one of my patients. I would complain OP as it is disgusting language.

it is one of the most distressing things to see when someone is in a vegetative state, but that is just a term they are still people and are always treated as such by health care professionals.

Secretswitch Thu 25-Jul-13 20:44:59

Thanks Spartacus. I can handle whatever comes my. I am 48 and have been disabled for 35 years. This was someone trying to hurt my child. We both sat in car and cried. For someone to say words only have power if you allow them is ignorant at best. Language IS Power. Language is how we let someone know we disrespect them on the basis of their religion or ethnicity ( kike or raghead) race ( nigger, raghead, sandjockey) disability ( gimp, retard, cripple) or sexuality (homo, flamer, busheater) language is evocative, emotional and can be used as a weapon. I know this from experience..

MrsDeVere Thu 25-Jul-13 20:49:05

secret I am sorry too. My OH is disabled and so is one of my son's. My DD was a wheelchair user for the two years she was ill before we lost her.

So I do understand the hurt these words cause.

Have you heard about www.dppi.org.uk ? I used to work for them but have not been in touch with them for a while. There was also the Disabled Parents Network (again not been in touch with them for a while).

I wonder if you could get some support (if you want it).

The person who said that to your child is an ignorant fool and your daughter sounds like she is a credit to you.

TimeofChange Thu 25-Jul-13 20:50:50

Words change over years.
When I was a child there was a charity called The Spastic Society, it is now called Scope, as apparently the word spastic is now deemed offensive.

There was also a charity with the Cripple in the name.
There are still charities all over the world called the Crippled Children's Society.
My cousin wore a caliper after contracting polio, his own mother described him as crippled.

I think the words become offensive as they are used in playgrounds as terms of derision and bullying.

It is difficult to keep track of what words have become offensive.

manicinsomniac Thu 25-Jul-13 20:53:44

well you can't use brain dead or coma because they don't mean the same thing. People in a vegetative state are awake. And I can see how the term cabbage came into use from vegetative state - very related and much easier to say.

Personally - cripple, mong, retard, spastic, cunt, spesh-ull etc all chime a very negative note with me and feel instantly wrong and offensive. But cabbage doesn't. I don't know why but it seems totally benign and inoffensive.

But I don't have a relative in a vegetative state and if someone who did told me that they found the word upsetting I wouldn't use it (not that I think I've ever had occasion to use it.)

TimeofChange Thu 25-Jul-13 20:54:46

Secret: I have never even heard of most of those words you have listed - except of course, cripple and retard.

HotCrossPun Thu 25-Jul-13 20:57:38

The level of ignorance on this thread is unbelievable.

I got torn apart on a thread I started yesterday. It was about a customer who I'd spoken to on the phone who made what I thought were offensive comments about wheel-chair users.

Most of the comments were about how I was being unreasonable for not being friendly and chatty with the customer after she had made her comments.

OP is not saying that speeding isn't dangerous and selfish. She is asking whether she should complain about the trainers' use of language.

Which she should.

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