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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 20:58:11

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

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

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

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

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

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

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

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

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

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

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.

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