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Can I ask if this would upset/offend you?

(102 Posts)
JaneFonda Wed 19-Nov-14 12:49:34

Another thread got me thinking about this, and I just thought I'd ask here because I'd really appreciate honest answers!

If someone uses the incorrect terminology for something eg. Disabled toilet instead of accessible toilet, or autistic child instead of child with autism, does it offend you?

I really try not to upset anyone and to be sensitive when I talk, but reading threads on here has made me realise that I may inadvertently be doing so by using incorrect phrases that I genuinely didn't know weren't the right thing to say.

I understand different people prefer or dislike different terminology, but I'm just curious as to if it's upsetting for you when someone uses the wrong word.

JaneFonda Wed 19-Nov-14 12:50:30

Sorry, I didn't mean to post this in AIBU - how unreasonable of me. [

wheresthelight Wed 19-Nov-14 12:51:17

as someone who deals with a disability nope it doesn't bother me in the slightest! and tbh I am not sure why so many people on here feign offence about it!

itiswhatitiswhatitis Wed 19-Nov-14 12:53:12

I notice it but it doesn't always upset me, you can easily tell from the tone and content of what someone is saying if they are generally sensitive and understanding about these issues but maybe gets the terminology a bit wrong. I'm not going to jump down someone's throat about it unless they are being a bit goady and generally offensive about disability in general.

I would rather you talk to me and asked questions that avoided the topic altogether!

itiswhatitiswhatitis Wed 19-Nov-14 12:54:51

Than not that

JaneFonda Wed 19-Nov-14 12:55:12

Thanks for your reply, wheres - I tended to think that all people can recognise when the intention of someone is good, but reading some threads on here has made me doubt that a little.

Corygal Wed 19-Nov-14 12:55:36

No it doesn't. And unless the terms used are deliberately rude, I find people who affect offence very silly.

Unidentifieditem Wed 19-Nov-14 12:56:18

The professionally outraged of Mumsnet is not a fair representation of reality. Fret not!

JaneFonda Wed 19-Nov-14 12:56:29

Sorry itis - x post!

LurkingHusband Wed 19-Nov-14 12:57:39

I think it's stupid to get hung up on certain words - after all, a word is just a collection of noises - it's more the intent behind them. It's possible to be very offensive even using the "correct" word/phrase, and (by my view) it's possible to not be offensive even if using the "wrong" word. And since language is a generational thing, it's possible an older person might use a word or phrase in all innocence, that younger people would baulk at.

The problem with making words taboo, is you just give them a power they don't warrant.

Jackie0 Wed 19-Nov-14 13:00:01

Im of an age now where the PC replacement for the words I grew up with have now been deemed offensive and have been replaced again.
I must be saying the wrong thing all the time sad

Gileswithachainsaw Wed 19-Nov-14 13:00:26

I think most people can tell what the op meant and how they meant it.

There's also no harm in pointing it out that there are better ways of putting it.But jumping on someone claiming to be all offended when it's clearly not meant in.any such way gets tiring.

JamaicanMeCrazy Wed 19-Nov-14 13:03:05

Nope. I couldn't be arsed getting offended unless there was actual malice intended with the words.

I am both disabled and have a child on the spectrum, and tbh I have bigger issues to deal with that. whether someone has used the correct terminology.

I would only really correct someone (rather than get offended) that was using offensive terminology as I would assume that they didn't know otherwise.

eg. a friend of mine once called me (in a lighthearted way) a cripple, and I pointed out that while I knew they were not meaning to be rude, it was infact not a nice thing to say to anyone, let alone someone with mobility problems wink

GoldfishSpy Wed 19-Nov-14 13:03:52

Nope .

WeirdCatLady Wed 19-Nov-14 13:10:05

I don't like to hear my child being described as "Disabled" but that is more about my own issues rather than anything else. I prefer the term "additional needs". But I was brought up in the 70's so remember terms such as "spastic".

I agree that it depends how it is meant, and that can be hard to judge online. I do think some people are primed and ready for a fight on such issues.

lurkernowposter Wed 19-Nov-14 13:10:15

No, life's to short. Some people do go out of their way to take offence at things, particularly keyboard warriors with nothing better to do.

Vitalstatistix Wed 19-Nov-14 13:12:17

Not normally.

If it was a word that anyone would reasonably expect a person in this day and age to know was offensive, then I would certainly question why they chose to use it and if they intended offence.

Otherwise, no. You can tell when someone is being offensive and you can tell whether that is malice or ignorance and you deal with it accordingly.

I always tell people if the term they are using is one that has the potential to offend, because they need to know in order to decide what they want to do, if anything.

I do expect people to make a reasonable effort to not offend. I don't think that's an unfair thing to ask. That people are aware and consider the effect their words can have. I think it is arrogant of anyone to say I will use whatever words I want to use, I don't intend to offend and so if you are offended, I don't care. That's not nice. You don't have to be like that when it does not hurt you in any way at all to use a different word. You aren't damaged by replacing a word and you avoid possible hurt. I think no reasonable person wants to communicate in a way that has real potential to hurt, upset or offend and I think it's little enough to do to make small changes in language.

AMumInScotland Wed 19-Nov-14 13:12:26

I think on Mumsnet it is more often people who are not personally affected by an issue who are most verbal about it being 'offensive' to use certain terms. Possibly because they are determined to be PC about things, possibly because they want to be helpful, but possibly also because they have the time and energy to worry about stuff that those living with the issue are using up on their day to day lives.

If someone is coming across as really ignorant, I do try to point out that they could benefit from reading around the subject a bit more and choose words that are less likely to upset others. But if someone posts something polite and considerate while happening to use a term that's slightly-less-PC then I don't think it's actualy offensive to anyone.

NCIS Wed 19-Nov-14 13:13:59

The only thing I don't like, not really offended by it though, is anyone calling my DS 'an aspie' I just don't like the term. If he wants to call himself that or wants others to do so then fine, but he's never mentioned it so I would be happier if people didn't. I never correct people though, it's my issue not theirs.

IAmNotAPrincessIAmAKahleesi Wed 19-Nov-14 13:17:15

I don't like being called a 'disabled person'

And I don't like that the wheelchair accessible lift that I have to use is made by 'invalifts'

But I would never say anything about it and I don't take offence as such, it just hurts a bit. I accept that is totally my issue

offtoseethewizard64 Wed 19-Nov-14 13:25:10

As the parent of a child with autism/autistic child and another child with a disability/disabled child, I have far bigger things to deal with and worry about than which way around someone uses words.
Even our LA couldn't decide if they wanted to have a Children with Disabilities Team or a Disabled Childrens Team.
I am stunned at the number of people on here that are offended by such things. I sometimes thing they need to look at some real world issues.
As long as no one is intending to be insulting to my family I couldn't care less.
My own Mother describes my DD as "handicapped". It is not a word that is used frequently in this country now, but she is of a generation where it was used and I accept that rather than correct her just for the sake of political correctness.

outofcontrol2014 Wed 19-Nov-14 13:25:41

It depends what it is, and how it's done. Sometimes it's clearly that someone simply doesn't know the correct term, but their heart is 100% in the right place - in which case it seems socially churlish to take offence. My Dad once used the word 'coloured' for 'black' - he is absolutely not racist but it was what he grew up with and he was mortified and horribly embarrassed when it was gently pointed out that it wasn't the preferred terminology!

Other times, when language is being used in a discriminatory way, I do say something (e.g. any use of the n-word, sexist, homophobic language).

Dawndonnaagain Wed 19-Nov-14 13:28:10

Invalid does not mean Invalid.
Think about it.
Oh, and my dd has additional needs, she is also disabled and handicapped by other people's attitudes. Therein lies the difference.

Feigning offence of Suffolk. hmm

SilentAllTheseYears Wed 19-Nov-14 13:30:34

No, I couldn't care less, it's how you behave towards my child and their needs that is more important.

confused79 Wed 19-Nov-14 13:32:14

I don't think it's what's said, it's how it's said. Just as long there's no malice involved then I don't see the problem.

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