Just when I thought we’ve pushed the bounds of “political correctness” too far with the whole “Is it a Christmas Tree or a Holiday Tree?” debate, here we go with having to stick our anal retentive noses into the Autism community.
The idea is that we should “put the person first” before the disorder. And conversely, if you say “Autistic Person” then you are putting the disorder first and somehow implying that it has more importance.
I put a little more thought into this and have wondered at the following statements:
- Would I refer to someone as being a brunette, a brunette person or a person of brunette haired persuasion?
- Would I mention that someone is a Canadian person or a person born of the nation of Canada?
- Should I refer to Mr Smith as Smith whom is a Mister?
- Should job titles start coming after the name? CEO Steve Jobs or Steve Jobs, CEO?
- Do we stop calling someone a cancer survivor a cancer survivor and instead say “a person whom has survived cancer”?
Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m all for being politically correct so long as it’s serving a proper purpose. These include proper formalities, curbing racism and so on.
However, for the sake of knit picking your own interpretation of what you think someone else may or may not be inadvertently implying on some other level of perception… is this really what we need to spend our time and energy on?
Again, don’t get me wrong, I am not dismissing the idea of putting the person first, never have, never will.. but only in a very real, active, sense.
Finally, let me put it this way, in conclusion:
In speech, Autistic is an adjective just like any other and therefore as important or unimportant as any other… including hairy, blonde, brunette, shaven, unshaven, tall, short, fat, skinny, striped or bouncy (oops, sorry, was just watching Winnie the Pooh).
If it offends you, then YOU are the ones giving it more importance than the person by being offended by it in the first place. YOU are the one who thinks it’s more important when you hear it and YOU are the one who gives it more importance by getting all upset about it.
The person that says “Autistic Person” had never considered ever putting anything first before their child until you came along and pointed it out.