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Question to disabled people, well anyone really.

(36 Posts)
Baggs Mon 05-Nov-18 14:19:56

I've just read a thread on Twitter about a taxi driver who asked a security guard at the BBC if he could park by the kerb (don't know what the alternative was) because he had "got a disabled". Disabled was obviously used as a noun or, as the disabled person in question said "an adjective left hanging".

Someone replied to the original tweet that this was degrading for the disabled person. She said she didn't tip the driver.

I don't think it should automatically be seen as degrading. It depends on how the taxi driver said it for a start. Some tweeters mentioned that it could be a sign of a lack of education and consequent poor language skills. I don't think a poorly educated person with poor language skills should be assumed to be more than just awkward and ignorant about the correct thing to say.

What do other gransnetters think?

Charleygirl5 Mon 05-Nov-18 14:37:29

I personally think it would be more acceptable if the word person or lady had been added.

Bridgeit Mon 05-Nov-18 14:38:30

Ohh sorry to read about , it is difficult to interpret accurately if we did not hear how it was said.But
it does sound disrespectful, it is also lazy speech.
A bit like an ambulance person saying saying something like I’ve got a bleeder, or an arrester, it’s sort of shorthand between various service givers, but not very pleasant or palatable to the general public. Definitely not deserving of a tip .

Alima Mon 05-Nov-18 14:44:35

I think it sounds disrespectful. “I have a disabled passenger” isn’t too much effort is it?

Baggs Mon 05-Nov-18 15:08:13

Supposing the passenger had been a sporty type and the taxi driver said "got a sporty" at the destination, would that have been disrespectful too?

BTW, I'm not disagreeing with the people who think it would have been better with 'person' or 'passenger' added. I just think one can't assume such things are (meant to be) disrespectful or degrading.

Baggs Mon 05-Nov-18 15:11:43

I think some people feel genuinely socially awkward when they are with a disabled person and not used to that. The awkwardness of not quite knowing which words are acceptable.

I had an aunt who suffered cerebral palsy at birth and was both mentally and physically disabled as a result. It was said that she was handicapped, an expression one doesn't hear nowadays except with reference to golfing handicaps and such.

kathsue Mon 05-Nov-18 15:15:05

I would just be grateful that the taxi driver had made the effort to drop me at the most convenient place for me, which obviously wasn't a normal drop-off point.
I think "disabled" was a shorthand not an insult. It wouldn't have bothered me.

merlotgran Mon 05-Nov-18 15:34:39

It wouldn't bother me either. There is a lot of shorthand about these days but I can see why it could offend some people.

Our vet often leaves off the end of a sentence when referring to treatment because she knows that we know what she's talking about like, 'Doing a dental' - leaving off the word procedure.

downtoearth Mon 05-Nov-18 15:35:07

Reminds me of a delivery driver,I have a parcel for you

Riverwalk Mon 05-Nov-18 15:44:58

It wouldn't bother me either.

But are you disabled merlot? The driver probably didn't intend to be disrespectful but I can see how the passenger was annoyed.

Reminds me of an East End boxing trainer on the local news - he was extoling the virtues of boxing for local kids as a way of keeping them off the streets, etc. He was very proud that his boys were a reflection of the diverse community saying in a strong Cockney accent

We got loads of 'Efnics' - everyone's welcome!

Eglantine21 Mon 05-Nov-18 16:52:33

Both my mother and my husband were disabled. Life had its challenges but both of them met them with determination and humour.

It was what they could do that defined them.

I think we all would have had a bit of a joke about it.

Evereyones so ready to be offended........

M0nica Mon 05-Nov-18 17:17:07

Not offended, but consider it discourteous. It is demeaning and turning a person into a thing, which in the ordinary discourse of life, should not be done. My opinion of anyone, with any level of language and education who used a term like this would drop considerably.

When it is used in a closed group, like between paramedics and other medical staff, it is a shorthand where information has to be conveyed quickly, and life and death decisions need to be made. Most professions have their jargon and shorthand, but it should be kept in house.

Maybelle Mon 05-Nov-18 17:23:26

It is polite to refer to the person first. Disability, if requiring mention, second.
From many years of personal experience.

FlexibleFriend Mon 05-Nov-18 17:33:03

I'm disabled, I'm a wheelchair user and can't stand without assistance or aids, I can use crutches and move quite well once standing but not for long. I wouldn't be offended just pleased he'd attempted to get me as close to my destination as possible. If I was offended by something someone said either to or about me I would take it up with them at the time.

NfkDumpling Mon 05-Nov-18 17:41:59

I’ve been a Disabled. And at an airport, an Assisted. And it didn’t bother me. I was at the time. I’d rather be that than a Person of Limited Mobility!

merlotgran Mon 05-Nov-18 17:49:09

No, I'm not disabled, Riverwalk but DH is registered blind so a Blue Badge holder.

I did say I could understand how the remark could offend.

DH would have given the driver a tip for getting him as close as possible.

Baggs Mon 05-Nov-18 18:20:20

It does seem as if the driver was trying to be helpful. I think that would count most with me. Besides, I'd probably assume I hadn't heard correctly what he said.

stree Mon 05-Nov-18 19:37:21

According to my GP I am severely disabled and I certainly would not be offended by that description from a taxi driver.
Top points to him for trying to get the best parking spot.

stree Mon 05-Nov-18 19:38:01

MOnica......are you disabled?

POGS Mon 05-Nov-18 20:30:40


I am disabled , have a disability blue badge and get PIP because of my disability.

I would not be in the least bit upset as I am disabled and the word holds no form or degradation nor humiliation to me, it is a descriptive word nothing more nothing less.

It was obvious the taxi driver was giving a reason why he was requesting to drop off his passenger and the reason was his/her disability. He/she was disabled.

If the issue here is the taxi driver driver did not use the word ' passenger' then I'm sorry but it is all very silly, sadly not surprising . Not all disabled people feel less of a human being and are grateful for the wonderful support they receive in general and I am one of them.

janeainsworth Mon 05-Nov-18 20:40:14

It’s not really any different from referring to people with diabetes as diabetics.
But apparently some people take offence at that, on the grounds that they are being identified by their condition.
It’s their right to feel offended, but not their right to expect others to moderate their speech.
Turning adjectives into nouns and vice versa is a modern trend, not confined to descriptions of people.

grandtanteJE65 Tue 06-Nov-18 15:42:06

To me it sounds thoughtless. He could just as well have said, "May I stop here, it would be easier for my passenger?"

Luckygirl Tue 06-Nov-18 15:59:12

Words come and go - what is PC one time, is not another. I worked most of my life with people with one disability or another and on the whole they did not much care about the language, but looked at the person's attitude.

It is also worth remembering that people who have a disability do also have a sense of humour!

M0nica Tue 06-Nov-18 17:06:07

I am not, but DD was for many months after being badly injured in a road accident, and we lived with her and nursed her through it. I also accompanied her for a week when she was going to work by taxi (from North Herts to Central London) when she was seeing if she could safely get back to work, without exacerbating her injury.

If anyone had described her as 'a disabled', as you might say 'a parcel' or 'a suitcase' I would have considered that a rude and dismissive way to describe a person and probably reported it. She was psychological as well as physically frail and a term like that would have deeply upset her. We had experienced her being distressed by quite harmless words and phrases we used once or twice.

As it was the taxi drivers whose cabs she occupied were kind, considerate and thoughtful of her injury.

stree Wed 07-Nov-18 10:37:42

As probably was the taxi driver in question and showed it by the act of ensuring the most convenient parking place for his "disabled"
That to me would be noted in his favour and far outweigh his perhaps clumsy shorthand way of describing his passenger.
Monica, I think you are unwise to speak for the disabled when you are not yourself, whilst having every sympathy for your daughter and her situation it does not give you the right to sit in judgement on our behalf.
I am sure you meant well and felt indignant on our behalf, but believe me, most disabled I know and myself included have to be far more resilient than you abled.