There is much to glean from reading and studying the disability advocates who have gone before us or who are currently defending our dignity. The more and more I study luminaries such as Ed Robinson, Judi Heumann, Emily Ladau, et al, the more I gain a deep appreciation for how their arguments flow as much as what their writings say.

They say many good things about forming alliances between the disabilities community and defenders of equal opportunities for people of various ethnicities and races. But let’s examine a caveat in how we speak since we want to reach as wide an audience as possible. That is, let’s try making our points and positions known without using the jargon buzz words like ally, diversity, equity, inclusion, intersection and so forth.

After all, the more the casual or run-of-the-mill person hears such words, the easier they may get turned off or overwhelmed. Speaking politically, we want to reach both sides of the aisle, the right and the left. Like it or not, because our movement’ affects the private sector as well as the public politique, we must speak according to our audience’s presuppositions. After all, we do believe our case is “nonpartisan.” So let’s keep it there.

Since the passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act, championed by the late Judi Heumann and by the late Sen. Bob Dole during George H.W. Bush’s administration, the push for laws and folkways moving away from discrimination against us who are disabled has gained good steam. The problem we run into, therefore, is the language often employed by some which by its very nature causes division.

Case in point: The wooden use in speaking and writing one’s preferred pronouns along with their name when introducing them in advocacy situations buries our message behind terms which only part of those in attendance appreciate hearing. People get more caught up in not offending someone with the wrong manner of speech that the real desire for everyone, liberal and conservative, to become less discriminatory of us who have disabilities gets muddied like the reams of paperwork someone going through an agencies in-take forms must sign.

Unfortunately, the overemphasis on microaggressions in society has made employers afraid of asking the good questions of future team members who are disabled as well as afraid of presenting the less desirable ones. Gone is the good old-fashioned “sorry” and moving on when resolving a hicup in a conversation between someone who is disabled and someone who is not.

We who have striven for inclusion, accommodation, and acceptance before terms like diversity and inclusion became socially cool haven’t changed our aims. We boldly go wherever we need to when duty calls to speak up for the dignity of friends, coworkers, and other associates who are disabled. Our message hasn’t changed one iota and won’t if we don’t feel the need to use terms that only a handful of people in the body politique insist on using.

In other words, I don’t have to be an ally or say how much I’m an ally to join a friend who’s quadriplegic as I, a person who is blind, speak up for his public rights.

I don’t have to speak of diversity as part of my talk to enjoy times when sharing the platform or Facebook conversation with people who are black or Asian, heterosexual or homosexual when it comes to discussing disabilities.

So the next time we speak publicly or privately regarding our aims as people who are blind, deaf, quadriplegic, or so forth, let’s find ways of presenting our good case in language that avoids the jargon. Then, maybe, the intersections can clear of whatever traffic jams others or we may cause when trying to figure out whose more privileged or marginalized than another. In all our endeavors of being boldly blind, we rejoice in mixing it up with ourselves or others when raising awareness and bringing encouragement.

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