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?

I'd have complained. That's very disablist indeed and downright nasty to boot.

OwlinaTree Thu 25-Jul-13 17:56:20

It's not very pc really. I can see why you would be offended, although i don't expect it was said to belittle the people, as the course would be about prevention of this happening.

Send a letter to say how useful you found the course and it's content but were a little uncomfortable with this language. Often you get asked to evaluate these sort of things, could you ask for an evaluation form?

OwlinaTree Thu 25-Jul-13 17:56:58

its not it's

quoteunquote Thu 25-Jul-13 17:59:01

Please complain it is not acceptable.

Lambzig Thu 25-Jul-13 17:59:48

Owlina, aargghhh, stupid ipad autocorrect, I hate that too

But yet talking of a vegatative state is okay .... I don't quite know what you could do about it after the event without sounding a bit sensitive

ilovesooty Thu 25-Jul-13 18:07:18

It's not acceptable. Nothing to do with being PC which in itself is a dreadful term.

cannotfuckingbelievethis Thu 25-Jul-13 18:09:13

Instructor was being an arse to use language like that. If it's still bothering you (which is obviously is) it's not too late to complain...

RatUpADrainpipe Thu 25-Jul-13 18:37:58

If you had been really bothered you would have said something to his face at the time. Then you'd have been able to concentrate on what you were actually there for instead of worrying about the instruction being politically correct.

HotCrossPun Thu 25-Jul-13 18:56:26

It's not acceptable language at all.

And nothing to do with being PC ffs. hmm

Calling somebody who has suffered such a severe accident that they are in a vegetative state a 'cabbage' is offensive and unnecessary.

cannotfuckingbelievethis Thu 25-Jul-13 19:01:12

Rat - I disagree, whilst it probably won't have the same impact to complain after the event rather than at the time, not everyone has the confidence or balls basically to pull someone up for something like this. But they can still be deeply offended.

McNewPants2013 Thu 25-Jul-13 19:09:59

Why not say the person may be brain dead or in a coma. There is no need to call people who have been in an accident a vegetable.

Op I hope you found the course useful and wasn't to distracted by the offensive comment.

TimeofChange Thu 25-Jul-13 19:16:23

The list of words that are not PC seems to be continually getting longer.

Calling someone in a vegetative a cabbage did not used to be offensive.
It is news to me that it is offensive.

Sorry, I am not meaning to be awkward, but is a 'vegetative' state not offensive too?
There should be an official list of offensive words.

Ilovemyself Thu 25-Jul-13 19:20:43

I have to agree with Timeofchange. The list of words gets longer, and PC speak can make the language unwieldy.

Just because some are offended doesnt mean that things should be changed. After all, you will always find someone offended by something.

SwishSwoshSwoosh Thu 25-Jul-13 19:26:17

I think that if you found it offensive, which you did, you should complain. It is not a term I would use as it seems demeaning.

I think the fact that a word did not used to be considered offensive is irrelevant!

zatyaballerina Thu 25-Jul-13 19:28:28

Oh for gods sake, causing an accident that causes someone to become brain dead is offensive, driving in a manner that could cause someone to become brain dead is offensive, getting the point across to potential speeders by warning them of the consequences is not offensive no matter what descriptions they use. A brain dead person may as well be a cabbage for all the use their brain is, which is why they are described as such and they won't be offended by it because they have no brain functioning to get insulted. Now get insulted by bad driving, if the brain dead could curse anyone it would be the idiots that got them into that situation by selfish, inconsiderate road behaviour.

yabu, precious and very misguided.

valiumredhead Thu 25-Jul-13 19:28:42


hazeyjane Thu 25-Jul-13 19:29:20

'Vegetative state' is a medical term, but referring to someone who suffered horrific brain injury, 'a cabbage' is not.

If a relative was injured in such a way, I think most of us would find it offensive if they were referred to as 'a cabbage'

Nothing to do with being pc, or not being 'allowed' to use certain terms, just common courtesy and common sense.

Kiriwawa Thu 25-Jul-13 19:30:18

I'd complain as well. And no, it's not ok to call someone in a vegetative state a type of vegetable.

'PC speak' doesn't make language unwieldy - you seemed to have no issue with typing vegetative state.

MrsDeVere Thu 25-Jul-13 19:30:39

PC is an irrelevance. There is no 'list of words' or 'PC speak'. Its a myth invented by people who want the freedom to be rude and bigoted.

It is unacceptable language.
Apart from being offensive it is inaccurate.

It is a meaningless phrase and contributes nothing to the education of drivers.

Calling someone a cabbage or a vegetable has always been offensive. When was it ever a positive way of describing things?

There is always someone ready to defend the indefensible.

MrsDeVere Thu 25-Jul-13 19:32:00

Is vegetative state still used? <genuine question>

ilovesooty Thu 25-Jul-13 19:33:06

The list of words that are not PC

* PC speak*

Here we go again.

ilovesooty Thu 25-Jul-13 19:34:07

PC is an irrelevance. There is no 'list of words' or 'PC speak'. Its a myth invented by people who want the freedom to be rude and bigoted


McNewPants2013 Thu 25-Jul-13 19:34:52

The person may not have the skills to be offended, but the families and friend do.

Secretswitch Thu 25-Jul-13 19:35:02

I do not think you are being precious or misguided in the least. As a women with a prosthetic leg, I know I find it delightful when someone refers to me as a cripple or gimp.For God's sake bring back the good old days when we cold just spout whatever racist, homophobic, disabilist, garbage we wanted!

HardlyMotherTheresa Thu 25-Jul-13 19:35:38

I agree with zatya and think many posters here are missing the important point: stopping idiots driving too fast which is a causative factor in many serious injuries.

By all means focus on a petty mis-use of language (the term "cabbage' is indeed offensive but it won't kill anyone) if you want but I find it very odd. SPEEDING is offensive.

Well done OP for coming right out with it being your "mistake" (not sure how you drive fast by mistake though) and for taking on board some of the messages of the course (I hope). I am not getting at you in particular but am surprised you are picking on the instructor and not some of the prats on the course who had chosen to speed thus risking injury to others for the sake of a bit of excitement or a few second saved for themselves.

PolterGoose Thu 25-Jul-13 19:35:43

It is offensive. Please complain.

hazeyjane Thu 25-Jul-13 19:37:46

vegetative state – when a person is awake but showing no signs of awareness

From nhs choices, to describe various types of brain injury.

Zatyaballerina, do you not think that someone who has severe brain injury, possibly resulting in a lack of awareness, or very minimal awareness is still a person, who deserves respect and dignity? And that their families are deserving of sensitivity?

ilovesooty Thu 25-Jul-13 19:38:17

SPEEDING is offensive

No one said it wasn't. One offensive act or concept doesn't preclude something else being offensive.

McNewPants2013 Thu 25-Jul-13 19:40:28

Two wrongs don't make a right.

I hope the op has learnt what speed limits are for and she will in future keep to the speed limit. However this isn't a thread about the wrongs of speeding.

GiveItYourBestShot Thu 25-Jul-13 19:40:28

I don't think it would be unreasonable to complain, not least because your discomfort at the language has distracted you from the important content that they want you to remember!

I went on one recently and the instructor showed photos of real local accidents. The victims in one of the crashes were personally known to one of the other people in the room. I thought that was pretty crass. There's making a point, and there's causing needless pain...

GiveItYourBestShot Thu 25-Jul-13 19:42:42

hardlyMotherTeresa it is possible to speed by mistake by for example, thinking you are in a 40 not a 30 if you missed the sign marking the change.

MrsDeVere Thu 25-Jul-13 19:43:56

That is best example of a straw man argument I have seen in a long time.

People are missing the point. Really?


The speeding issue is separate. But if you do want to mix the two up I would say this,

if you wish to educate someone who is selfish enough to speed (sorry op) you will be doing them no favours by teaching them that it is is acceptable to use terms that reduce a human being to an object with no feelings or rights.

How will this increase ability to think about others when they are doing 100mph in a 60mph zone?

MikeOxard Thu 25-Jul-13 19:45:41

I agree with Zatya and Hardly.

You are trying to claw back some moral high ground by saying 'he used insensitive language about disabled people' when the reason you were there listening to him talking about those people, is because YOU were the one risking making someone disabled. Get off your high horse and concentrate on the more important things about the course.

Ilovemyself Thu 25-Jul-13 19:47:52

Giveityourbestshot. You should know if the limit changes as there will be repeaters. If the repeaters vanish and you are in a built up area or there are lamp posts then it is a 30 limit. So there is no excuse for speeding by mistake.

ilovesooty Thu 25-Jul-13 19:48:25

You are trying to claw back some moral high ground

Bollocks she is: it's a completely separate issue. She also admitted being at fault and made positive use of the course.

SlangWhangering Thu 25-Jul-13 19:48:38

I would let the people running the course know. It is not a nice thing to say. I dont think you need to be 'outraged' and angry. Just let them know, I would bet they will sort it out.

Ilovemyself Thu 25-Jul-13 19:50:24

Hi MrsDeVere. I don't think you would be on a speed awareness course for 100 in a 60........

Flojobunny Thu 25-Jul-13 19:52:05

I think 'vegetative state' needs updating too, I find that offensive.

GiveItYourBestShot Thu 25-Jul-13 19:55:27

ilovemyeelf i know that, but there are a lot of people who have no idea that lampposts + no other signs = 30mph. Until they've done a speed awareness course, that is.

When I speed I do it deliberately....

Flojobunny Thu 25-Jul-13 19:59:19

Lamp posts hmm

Ilovemyself Thu 25-Jul-13 20:02:15

Giveityourbest. Those that don't know are not accidentally breaking the law. Ignorance is no defence. If you get behind the wheel of a car you should know the rules. And know how to park a Q7 ( sorry lol)

MrsDeVere Thu 25-Jul-13 20:03:48

Is that important Ilove.
My point is clear.

Why muddy the waters further with yet another irrelevance?

If you want to educate people to behave in a way that acknowledges the importance of fellow human beings you do not do it by using language that reduces people to the level of a vegetable.

GiveItYourBestShot Thu 25-Jul-13 20:04:52

Motherteresa didn't ask people could speed by accident, she asked how people could speed by mistake. I have suggested one way in which you can be mistaken about the speed limit in force on a road. Go away and polish your halo if you have never, ever, once made a mistake behind the wheel. Because I won't believe you. But yes, if you drive it you should be able to park it ;)

MrsDeVere Thu 25-Jul-13 20:05:58

Mike that makes no sense whatsoever.

The op has admitted she was speeding. She went on the course. She listened intently enough to notice the language used.

It IS offensive. There is no question that comparing a human being to a foodstuff with no brain, no emotion and no importance IS offensive.

MrsDeVere Thu 25-Jul-13 20:07:34

If I speed and I get caught I have no defence.

When I drive my OH's car it is much harder for me to gauge my speed. His car is newer, bigger and much smoother.

But I know that so if I get caught out because I am not paying attention I have not been speeding deliberately but it is still my fault.

susiedaisy Thu 25-Jul-13 20:13:53

I think cabbage is inappropriate and outdated, it is along the same lines as words like retard and mongrel I grew up in the 1970's hearing those words but thankfully we have moved on.

Ilovemyself Thu 25-Jul-13 20:14:22

Tbh I have no real problem with a lot of language that people find offensive. As they are only words.

And the comment about 100 in a 60 was not, in my opinion, irrelevant as they would be feeling the full force of the law and are not the sort of people the course is aimed at.

MrsDeVere Thu 25-Jul-13 20:21:12

I wonder if anyone would think it ok to have their child or mother referred to as a cabbage?

Regardless of their state of consciousness. If someone told you they thought your dear old mum was a cabbage.

Would you think it was a term of endearment or an insult?

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?


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


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 ? 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.

Secretswitch Thu 25-Jul-13 20:58:11

Thank you do much MrsDeVere. I wonder if it is possible to have disabled triggers? I am so upset remembering this episode. I thought my dd conducted herself with poise and dignity. It was only in the car that we cried. The bugger thought he was being funny. He said it with a laugh..
I have been in US now for a badillion years. I attend an amputee support group here. They are wonderful about organising activities for our families at very low cost. It is such a relief to do things with persons experiencing the same life issues as yourself..
You sound like a wonderful woman..many many poster's here (including you Op!) seem to understand the destruction that can be wrought by simple words..

manicinsomniac Thu 25-Jul-13 21:01:08

gosh, secretswitch can I ask you what diability a gimp is mocking? I hear children at school call each other this all the time and it has never come onto my radar as being inappropriate at all! I thought 'you're such a gim' was just moder kid slang for 'you're so silly'. Feel really stupid now.

valiumredhead Thu 25-Jul-13 21:01:50

What twirly said.

I seen to be saying that a lot recently because you speak a lot of sense!

Secretswitch Thu 25-Jul-13 21:05:06

Gimp is a derogatory term for a person who is lame or limping. All three words have been tossed at me throughout my life.

manicinsomniac Thu 25-Jul-13 21:06:12

wow. I'm sorry and thanks for explaining. I will pull children up on it from now on.

MrsDeVere Thu 25-Jul-13 21:11:39

Its really not that hard to keep up with what words are acceptable.

Unless you believe the stream of bilge in the tabloids that claim perfectly normal words are now verboten.

In which case you need to be laying the blame for your confusion at their door. They make bollocks up and people believe it and repeat it and it becomes urban myth.

Kiriwawa Thu 25-Jul-13 21:12:56

TimeofChange - my parents are in their 80s and would no more say spastic or cripple than they would nigger.

It's not okay to plead ignorance. None of those words are acceptable.

Kiriwawa Thu 25-Jul-13 21:13:31

xposted with mrsDV who is far more eloquent

TimeofChange Thu 25-Jul-13 21:23:10

I don't read tabloids and I only know three of those derogatory words that SecretSwitch has listed.
I didn't know they existed - never heard of them or read them before.

As I have said cripple is not a derisory term in Australia or NZ.

Now I know not to use them, thank you.

littlemisswise Thu 25-Jul-13 21:23:28

The OP definitely should complain. I don't understand how anyone can not see that the language used is offensive.

My DC have had the same thing said to them as Secret's DD. It is incredibly hurtful. All this "words only have power if you let them" is a crock of shit. Words are terribly hurtful, and the people who say them do it to cause hurt because they know they will, then they sit back and feel all powerful and big about what they have just done.

MrsDeVere Thu 25-Jul-13 21:32:51

I just did a quick google out of interest and it seems that cripple is an offensive and outdated term in NZ.

Fakebook Thu 25-Jul-13 22:34:46

I have been on a speed awareness course and at no point did the instructor use the term "cabbage" or "vegetable". He told us a story about his good friend's son who was "full of beans" and had been left paralysed at aged 16 when a car was doing 36 in a 30mph zone. I guess he couldn't and wouldn't use those terms because he was someone he knew and cared about. If you wouldn't use the term for a loved one then why use it for a hypothetical person or a stranger?

whois Thu 25-Jul-13 22:39:24

zatyaballerina said it on p1 better than I would.

manicinsomniac Thu 25-Jul-13 22:42:52

Fakebook I don't know if he will have known and cared about him because, unless we're from the same area, the instructor of a course I did also told a story about his good friend's son who was left paralysed at age 16 by a car doing 36 in a 30. So I suspect it's just a story they're given in training to share as if it's their own.

MrsDeVere Thu 25-Jul-13 22:43:43

I can well believe it.
Not sure its something I would want to admit to though.

MrsDeVere Thu 25-Jul-13 22:46:50

I am not sure about that manic.
Its not an uncommon type of accident.
16 year old boys must be in the highest risk group for serious accident/death.
RTAs are not unusual
RTAs are a common cause of spinal injury.

Fakebook Fri 26-Jul-13 00:11:04

Manic, it was the Thames Valley area if that's any help? I don't think it was just a story they all tell. Why would they lie about people dying/getting paralysed in RTAs? The truth is everyone knows or knows of someone who has been hurt/killed in an road accident.

Lambzig Fri 26-Jul-13 11:02:15

Thanks for your posts and i am really sorry for the experiences some of you have had in hearing such awful terms. MrsDV, having read your posts for some time, you were someone I would have wanted to ask about this, so I appreciate your posts.

For what it is worth, I am thoroughly ashamed of having had to go on the course. I have driven for 25 years and never had an accident or offended before and I do not take the offence I committed lightly. I learned a lot on the course and hopefully it will make me a better driver.

In addition, I was appalled at the attitude of at least half of the attendees who were variously, extremely hostile to the trainer, completely disengaged or trying to take the mickey and treated it as a joke. This annoyed me and I had sympathy for the trainer. It also made it difficult to speak up at the time. But my post wasnt about that.

I am sorry, but I think this is two separate issues. The use of cabbage made me wince each time, but it did not stop me paying attention.

As part of my job, I develop run and manage training courses in a completely separate field and recruit trainers, so I am always going to notice styles of training and how important use of language is in a learning environment. I also know that they use emotive images and language on the course to shock people and I think in the context that is appropriate.

That said, i strongly believe that if you wouldn't use the term to someone with the disability or their loved ones, then essentially it's not appropriate in a training course, let alone in normal life. If that's my high horse, then so be it.

I have done as some suggested and emailed, emphasising how useful I found the content and the trainer, but was uncomfortable about the term cabbage being used.

lougle Fri 26-Jul-13 12:26:10

I'm always baffled when people try to justify words that have caused offence and then start complaining about 'PC gorn maaaad'.

If you want to use a word to describe another human being, imagine standing next to their most loved one and saying it to them in a sentence:

"So, how's your retard doing?"

"How's Suzy doing, I heard that she's a cabbage now?"'s not hard to work out that it's just not right.

valiumredhead Fri 26-Jul-13 13:05:06


Although my step mum did say to me 'oh you don't look too much like a cripple !'hmm

lougle Fri 26-Jul-13 13:21:09

Your Step Mum is the exception which proves the rule, valiumredhead wink

valiumredhead Fri 26-Jul-13 14:19:59

She's in a league all of her very ownwink

Beastofburden Fri 26-Jul-13 14:29:44

coming a bit late but I think "cabbage" is disrespectful of a terrible tragedy for a family so I would quietly suggest that it is unprofessional to use it.

While I am on the subject I do lose my sense of humour when people say something is "spastic" meaning that it is rubbish.

In the end it is not about PC traps, it is about the failure of common kindess and respect in our daily habits.

MrsDeVere Fri 26-Jul-13 14:33:35

OH has been done for speeding sad
so he will get to find out if this is a widely used term I suppose.
I am cross with him.
We have just started travelling to and from our caravan and the roads are totally unfamiliar to us. I err on the side of caution because I find all the different speed limits every 10 minutes very confusing.

But like I said, we have to suck it up. Our fault entirely.

I know lots of people who have lost their kids to RTAs. Speeding is wrong. Simple.

We have to make sure we learn the routes properly.

Bit scared though. Its been an utterly horrible month. Really, really bad. This is just another crap thing.
But it was within our control and it shouldn't have happened.

Beastofburden Fri 26-Jul-13 14:41:10

Mrsdevere, HUGS, and never mind. He has learned his lesson without hurting anyone else. Just imagine if he had an accident and hurt or killed someone- that would be infinitely worse.

MrsDeVere Fri 26-Jul-13 14:51:33

Thanks beast It would be worse but we still did it.
I know he didn't do it on purpose but he wasn't paying attention so it was still his fault.

And he feels crap about it. For doing it and for stressing me.

I am not dealing with things brilliantly atm so it is bothering me more than it should.

I need to get a grip.

valiumredhead Fri 26-Jul-13 15:35:38

Sorry you're having a hard time Mrs D thanks

Beastofburden Fri 26-Jul-13 15:41:18

He has made a mistake. Nobody gets through life without making a mistake at least once. It does not make him a bad person, or you, by association. Don't be ashamed of the natural and human tendency to screw up. What matters is not occasional mistakes but how he deals with them.

You are doing all the right things, you need to accept that there is a legitimate way for people to make a mistake, do the right thing, and escape with self-esteem and reputation intact.

Recognise he did something wrong (tick).
Apologise (tick)
Do something to put it right- perhaps as well as going on the course, you/he could give something back another way? a donation to a charity that cares for head injury victims?

be kind to yourself, this is not wicked, it was just slightly incompetent.

keskiviikko Fri 26-Jul-13 16:00:33

I always thought gimp was an S&M term! How words mean different things to different people!

Secretswitch Fri 26-Jul-13 17:08:02

<hugs> for you Mrs.DeVere! I am sending love and good thoughts from across the ocean. Xx

valiumredhead Fri 26-Jul-13 17:45:25

It is a sex term hence gimp mask.

valiumredhead Fri 26-Jul-13 17:47:59

Gimp Congress from the French writers guimpe Erinn means to limp-I just googled.

Not a nice word anyway.

MrsDeVere Fri 26-Jul-13 17:48:19

But it comes from the idea that a gimp is someone 'other'.
The gimp role is the subservient and deviant one (in the sexual context)

So just as 'spaz' can be used against someone who is not disabled, so can gimp.
The root is the same.

Basically, it aint nice.

MrsDeVere Fri 26-Jul-13 17:49:18

x post smile

valiumredhead Fri 26-Jul-13 17:49:34

Ffs fecking auto correct!blush

Gimp comes from the French word guimpe which means to limp. I googled.

Not a nice word.

Secretswitch Fri 26-Jul-13 18:27:34

I have been called a gimp, cripple, limp along,lame, and my all time favourite legged fat chick.
I always toy with writing a book called ONE LEGGED FAT CHICK TELLS ALL.
Thank you for the kind pm Mrs.DeVere smile

valiumredhead Fri 26-Jul-13 18:53:21

Urgh how vilesad

Secretswitch Fri 26-Jul-13 19:08:43

Indeed Valiumredhead. Those words flung at me were meant to cause hurt. Anyone who actually believes that words carry no power are dead wrong. I know I would be beyond sick if anyone i knew/loved were described as cabbages. People who are insensate are still humans. They are loved, have families, and above all are deserving of respect.

garlicagain Fri 26-Jul-13 19:09:00

Your point is valid.

If anyone's suggested strong alternatives, though, I've missed them. "Quadriplegic & brain damaged" will not only sail past most listeners, but seems too medically specific for a warning that's intended to convey terrible, irreversible, life-restrictive injuries. "Badly injured" doesn't mean anything, especially to boy racers who wear speed scars with pride.

A short, universally understood, expression that drives cold fear into the heart - ie, an offensive and emotive term - is needed. I'm certainly not saying it should be "cabbage" if only because it's a cliché but am stumped for the right term.

valiumredhead Fri 26-Jul-13 19:12:27

Words hurt, any one who says other wise is wrong.

footphobic Fri 26-Jul-13 20:06:46

I attended one of these courses - as an aside, in response to a pp, I was 'accidentally' speeding. I came out of a private residence a couple of miles out of a small rural town. I thought it was 40mph, which in almost every other similar place in my experience it would be. No repeaters. It was 30, as I found out around the next bend when PC got me with a speed gun.

Clean license for 25 years, but hey ho. Chatting with another policeman, he said in those circumstances he would have given me a warning and let it go, but they do have quotas to fill and hands up, I was speeding.

In this area, rural/semi rural, there are often not repeaters.

Getting back to the point, my course leader also used this word. 95% of the people on my course were 50-70 year old men, so that may be relative to his choice of language or style.

He also said something personally to me I found extremely rude in response to (what I thought was) a reasonable question I asked and I'm definitely not the over sensitive type. I emailed a complaint afterwards and they clearly could not be less bothered, so I'm not sure you would get far if you chose to complain.

valiumredhead Fri 26-Jul-13 20:11:19

Oh how rude! what did he say?

footphobic Fri 26-Jul-13 20:43:58

To me valium?

It's probably an AIBU in it's own right. I have dcs with a very serious inherited (potentially life threatening) illness. Well managed, but I need to be contactable by schools as my DH works away.

He asked everyone to switch off mobile phones. Rather than just not do it, I asked discreetly if under the circumstances I could leave mine on but turn ringer right down. He said no, and proceeded rudely and loudly to inform me that under the circumstances I shouldn't have chosen to do a course if I have an issue with children/contact. Yes, because people with/or with children with medical conditions shouldn't have the audacity to go anywhere or participate in anything. Well I didn't actually know it would be run by an unreasonable, ignorant, patronising twat at the time of signing up.

I don't think I'm entitled (?), perhaps he felt I was, I just know I have to find ways to make things work for us so that we can do 'normal' things and get on with life. I personally think a little common sense or discreet flexibility should prevail in certain circumstances just to make life workable for people who in their normal life, on a daily basis deal with difficulties people like him can't even imagine.

The other option would have been to step out and phone 3 schools to leave a contact number, but he said this would in effect be leaving and would disqualify me from the course. I would usually rationally state my case, but there was no point.

It just made me angry and upset at the time (which I hid).

valiumredhead Fri 26-Jul-13 20:50:39

Oh that's pretty shit! I'd want my phone on too so the school could contact me and that's without any extra issues.

Awomansworth Fri 26-Jul-13 21:03:42

Do some folk really need an written instruction manual on terms that are offensive...

Pretty straightforward to work that out for yourself surely.

Awomansworth Fri 26-Jul-13 21:07:02

BTW I would be complaining... There are ways to drum home the message without being offensive. If the instructor has to resort to using language like this, he/she isn't the right person to run the course.

Alisvolatpropiis Fri 26-Jul-13 21:08:08

That's awful Secrets

I'm not sure how anybody could think they were saying such a thing and being funny. Mind boggling.

Secretswitch Fri 26-Jul-13 21:19:09

Thanks Alisvolatpropiis. I can't imagine what point he was trying to make. It was so stunning. Like when you stub your toe and the pain just washes over you in waves. I stupidly felt ashamed too. I never wanted my children to suffer because of me.

Alisvolatpropiis Fri 26-Jul-13 21:21:53

I think the point he was making loud and clear was that he's a cunt.

Most people wouldn't even think something like that never mind say it out loud like it was hilarious and expect the people on receiving end to be gratefully amused.

Secretswitch Fri 26-Jul-13 21:30:47

Often behaviour like that is found in packs. Abuser's seem to draw courage from their comrades. The words they use are meant to cause hurt and intimidation. I used to think bullies must have had shit lives to behave badly. Studies are now showing in many circumstances abuser's have high self esteem and feel very entitled.

Alisvolatpropiis Fri 26-Jul-13 21:42:04


That's worse in a way, a deluded sense of entitlement. Given how pathetic these people really are anyway.

I think the thing some people forget is that disability can affect you or your family at any stage of your or their life. Randomly with no obvious cause, tragic accident, sudden illness. They mock and are cruel because their mindset is too narrow to accept that simple fact. Their minds are far too narrow to even comprehend the fact that it's not "disabled people" they're talking about,it's a person with a disability. I think taking the individuality away makes it easier for them, as well as the pack mentality.

TheAAOrganisation Tue 30-Jul-13 11:50:34

Hello, we would very much like to discuss the points raised in your post here.

Please email with your course reference number, full name, address and entitle your email FOR 47112.

We look forward to hearing from you.

Kind Regards,
The AA

ComposHat Tue 30-Jul-13 12:01:55

OP yes the instructor used crass and insensitive language.

However I would be more concerned that I'd been driving in a way thst could have caused someone else to be left in a vegetative state rather than chucking brickbats at someone who used an off colour word to describe the potential outcome of my bad driving.

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