What does the word disabled mean? Recently, I watched a video of a woman named Aimee Mullins giving a speech about the misconceptions of what the word means. I also want to say that this woman knows what she is talking about because she has a disability herself. I encourage you to watch the video that is apart of my blog to hear Ms. Mullins inspiring story. At the beginning of her speech Ms. Mullins talks about how she looked up the word “disabled” in her thesaurus. She then showed the words she found that were accepted as meaning the same; words like helpless and useless.
She also showed the words that were considered the opposite; words like strong and capable. While watching this video and seeing all those words on the screen I felt upset, angry and sad. I also knew that it was an opportunity to express my thoughts and I knew it was time to correct the meaning of the word from my perspective. The 2009 version of the thesaurus is not much better with words that only note some disabilities. Let me just say that words do not hurt me; people can say whatever they like to say or think whatever they like to think because I know who I am and what I stand for and that’s all that really matters to me. I just cannot believe that our society looks upon disabled people in this manner. The thing that really bothered me was the preconception about the whole disabled community as useless. We are not useless; we all have something different to offer to help make this world a better place. I know I am strong and capable of doing many things and I have had many hardships in my life but I don’t look at my hardships in a negative way. I could go on and on and say how unfair my life has been or say “why me”? But I don’t because, to me, that would just waste my life. Instead, I look at the hardships and try to find solutions to help others as well as myself. So what does the word disabled mean to me? To me, the word disabled means being able to do things in a different way and sometimes needing extra help but also being able to help yourself. I also think it means being able to learn new things from a different point of view. I know not all people think that disabled means useless or helpless and I know that many people have misconceptions but don’t mean any offense. That is why now is the time to speak up and let the world know the true definition of disabled. Different people will have different definitions, but if all people knew how much a disabled person can change the world than I think all the definitions will have a common thought and message and not use these harsh words that may insult some. Please know that all people disabled or not are capable of doing something and are strong in their own way. So, now I want to ask: What does the word disabled mean to YOU?
by: Victor Torres