Posted on March 8, 2018
When people refer to people with disabilities, they try to use terms that they think are respectful and polite. There are two different languages for these terms: person first language and identity first language. Person first language was initially made to fight the stigma against disabilities. It does this by separating the person from the disability. On the other hand, identity first language does the opposite by putting the disability before the person. Because there are two different languages available for people to use, it has fueled a discussion on which language should be used. Many people of the disabled community believe that identity first language is preferred because they identify with their disability. However, those of the non disabled community argue that person first language is polite because it does not acknowledge the disability at all. But by doing this, doesn’t person first language defeat it’s whole purpose? Is person first language any better than identity first language?
I chose to research this topic because I became interested in PFL and IFL after focusing on that topic while writing my essay for the textual analysis essay. Researching the topic while writing the textual analysis essay helped me gain insight into the debate. From reading about the two different sides to the argument, I believe that people with disabilities should be able to choose which language they want people to use. Similar to how people identify with gender identities, people with disabilities can identify using whatever language they choose to. I would never want someone to call me by a name I don’t identify by, hence why I think this topic is really important to focus on.
I know some things about this issue because of articles I looked through for the textual analysis essay I wrote (Fernandes et al.)(Ladau). Some things I need to learn more on this issue is how the different types of languages affect the perceptions of people with disabilities, and how it affects the disabled people themselves. I also need more research done to find articles supporting both sides of the issue.
The debate between PFL and IFL is crucial in our world today. People are people, no matter what differences we may have from one another, whether is be skin color, background, disability, and more. Knowing how different languages can affect people with disabilities is important to people because it helps create a better, and more peaceful world. To add on, by overcoming the argument of PFL and IFL people may be able to overcome other issues in the world such as respect for each other’s religion, race, gender, and more.