If we say PoC or people of colour instead of “coloured people”, oughtn’t we also be saying people with disabilities instead of “disabled people”? Or no, is that not the same? Or it it used and I’ve just never heard it?
Hi. Disabled wheelchair using person here. The preferred way to refer to disabled people in general is “disabled people” or “people with disabilities.” I use disabled people because I prefer the adjective noun construction and view my disabilities as traits… like I would say I have short hair and not hair with shortness, or white teeth and not teeth with whiteness, and I am a gay person and not a person with gayness. Each disabled person will have their own preference of how to be referred to, though, and that should be respected. but when you’re talking about disabled people in general either of those constructions works.
phrases like “differently abled” and “specially abled” are generally not acceptable and should only be used for those individuals who prefer those terms. I’m not even sure where those terms came from but at this point they are perpetuated by abled people in a way that otherizes, infantilizes, and demeans us. so even if certain disabled people prefer those terms, it’s inappropriate for abled people to use them in a widespread manner without consulting the people they’re referring to. I’ve asked a couple disabled people while writing this reply and we agree on this. We do not under any circumstances want to be referred to in this way.
On the subject of PoC’s preferred terms, there are many essays by PoC on that topic and how that choice of preferred language came about. Reading their work would be the best way to understand. Language preferences often come down to history and using one marginalized group’s preference to assume another’s ignores that those groups have different (although interconnected and intersectional) histories.
I hope this is helpful and I hope it clears a few things up.
I referenced PoC terms as a PoC myself, but yes, this is super helpful and I appreciate it, so thank you.