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Apr. 10th, 2015

Recently, belenen wrote about the offensiveness of ableist slurs, especially those that include "stupid", "dumb", "idiotic" as meaning that someone is less intelligent than the others.

This made me think (like their entries often do) about my own use of these words, especially given that I have a special tag "am_an_idiot" in my LJ. After monitoring my thoughts and reactions for a while, I have drawn two conclusions:
1. I usually apply these words to a situation or someone's course of action, not the person themselves, and I mean "but they should have known better", or "this should have been avoided if only people had thought";
2. I have a reverse problem with slurs against intelligence. Or rather, I have a problem with people acting a certain way towards myself.

My intelligence is above average. It's a fact. It's also a sad fact as far as I am concerned. As in many other areas of my life, I am stuck dealing with two opposing attitudes. One is from people like my mother who know me quite well and acknowledge the above fact by expecting me to do something profound with said intelligence, and get exasperated when I seemingly 'waste' it. The other is from people who do not know me, and yet judge my intelligence by the formal outward signs, and say stupid things like "Wow, you have graduated from that college, wow you must be clever", or "Wow, you did this or that, you must be so clever".

And you know what? I am ready to acknowledge that both are mildly triggering and make me either want to do things "normal" people do, if to the best of my ability, or doing "clever" things completely anonymously.

Where I am concerned, I am actually very average among the people of my level of education, experience, working in my fields of interest, etc, etc. I have always been. I attended the college I did because it was something I was interested in and liked, and because it was something that was not exactly easy for me but not over my head either.

Also, I know that for all my supposed intelligence, I barely graze the surface of many things, I do not really know them on a profound level, because I constantly get distracted by other bright and shiny things.

So, there. Not interested in general platitudes about my intelligence, only those for specific things I do.


Недавно belenen писали про оскорбительное употребление слов вроде "тупой", "глупый", "идиот", в значении что у кого-то буквально меньше ума чем у других.

Эта запись заставила меня задуматься (как их ЖЖ часто делает) о том, в каком значении употребляю эти слова я, потому что у меня даже метка такая есть, "ну какой же я идиот". Последив за собой какое-то время, я пришла к двум выводам:
1. Обычно я употребляю эти слова применительно к ситуации или к чьим-либо действиям, а не к самому человеку, в значении "ты можешь и лучше поступать" и "чем только люди думают? Они вообще думают?";
2. Моя проблема с упоминанием чьих-то умственных способностей прямо противоположна. Точнее, проблема с чужой оценкой моих умственных способностей.

Я умнее среднего. Это факт. И факт достаточно грустный. Как и во многих других случаях, приходится иметь дело с двумя противоположными отношениями. Один от людей вроде моей матери, которые достаточно хорошо меня знают, признают вышеуказанный факт, и ожидают от меня, что я буду свои мозги как-то круто использовать; когда использовать их так я отказываюсь, они выражают сильное недоумение. Второе отношение выражают люди со мной плохо знакомые, которые формируют его по формальным признакам вроде "Ух ты, ты закончила этот институт, ну ты, должно быть, и умная" и "Фигасе с чем ты работаешь, ты наверняка такая умная".

Достали до печёнок и те, и другие. Хочется либо делать (пусть и очень хорошо) то, что запросто могут делать "нормальные" люди, или делать "умные" вещи совершенно анонимно и закулисно.

Потому что я знаю, что во мне нет ничего такого сверхособенного, и среди людей с тем же уровнем образования или опыта я ничем не выделяюсь, и в своих сферах интереса тоже. И никогда не выделялась, и не хотела выделяться. Я училась там, где училась, потому что было интересно и, хотя и достаточно сложно, но не выше головы.

И к тому же, что из того, что у меня много мозгов? Я их использую на то, чтобы кататься по поверхности многих вещей, а вглубь редко где заглядываю, отвлекаюсь на очередную рядом лежащую блестяшку.

Отвяжитесь от моего ума. (Я не к конкретному человеку здесь обращаюсь, а вообще к ситуации.)


( 5 comments — Leave a comment )
Apr. 10th, 2015 07:20 pm (UTC)
think of it like the word "faggot." It's a slur because it has been used in conjunction with systwmic oppression and abuse, not just because it's a mean word. People can reclaim it if they experience that oppression and abuse, but it is merely contributing to that abuse for others to use it. In this example, even if you only said stuff like "that chair is faggoty" or "my car is a faggot" you're still implying that being gay is bad, and in using the slur, you're putting yourself on the same side as the people who thibk all gays should die. You're not actually BEING them, but there is no way for a peraon to know that you dont match your words with actions. Whether you intend it or not, these are the connotations if using such a word in a world where people are often beaten and killed for being percieved as gay or disabled.
Apr. 10th, 2015 07:36 pm (UTC)
I understand what you mean. In fact, I had to reclaim the words "lesbian" and "gay" in Russian after realizing that every single synonym describing homosexual people that I knew I perceived a slur first, and the only way to not use them as such was to change my own attitude toward them.

I have a problem with ableist slurs in general. There are so many, and they are used so causally that it is going to be an uphill battle to avoid them.

In this particular case, do you think "thoughtless" is an acceptable substitution in the situations I mentioned?
Apr. 12th, 2015 04:17 pm (UTC)
When I was learning sign language I found it is still very common for hearing people to call Deaf people 'deaf and dumb' which obviously the Deaf people take offense to as it seems as if they are calling them stupid.

I accidently dropped something a while back and caught myself saying that I was being 'cack handed' and was horrified with myself! I said it to mean that I was being clumsy and I realised how insulting a word it was, as it sort of goes back to the insult that a left handed person is called when they have problems and seem clumsy (which is mainly due to things like scissors and tin openers being right handed!!)

And funny that belenen talked about the word 'Faggot' because it is a word we have used locally since the late 1700's to mean a local meal of meatballs - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Faggot_%28food%29
This has caused a lot of problems when people have talked about Faggots (meaning the meal) in innocence and we have been told by the US that we in UK are not allowed to use the word anymore as it's offensive. I obviously would never use the word offensively and would only use it to talk about meatballs (which admittedly I really don't often talk about lol!) but to stop local people using the original term of the word and to try to make the company change the name of the food is like changing history! The derogatory word only came into use in 1914 which is nearly 150 years after the term to mean a meal of meat balls started! It's an interesting world of words and I hope I haven't been offensive to anyone by arguing the case of the innocent meatball!

Edited at 2015-04-12 04:24 pm (UTC)
Apr. 12th, 2015 06:07 pm (UTC)
I have decided to avoid saying 'silly' and 'stupid' for now. And of course, many situations started occuring where I used to cuss and say 'but that's stupid!' Also, did you notice how much more satisfying it is to cuss using words that are borderline unacceptable in 'polite' company?

I am not familiar with the expression 'cack handed', but it, and your first comment reminded me of the nasty attitude ignorant people have toward foreigners who speak their language, but only just. Some act as if such people are slow and use simpler words and speak slower, but not slower so as to make it easier to follow, but as when speaking to a child. These occasions make me angry and ashamed for them.

As for the last point, it reminded me of a time several years back when I was unaware of the slang meaning of 'cock', because we only learned that it meant 'rooster' at school. Since then, I've encountered it in its primary meaning many times in books, but I avoid using it!


I think it's impossible to speak in a way that is not accidentally offensive to someone with specific triggers, but one should try to avoid the most common ones as well as the ones that are such for their friends, at the very least.
Apr. 12th, 2015 09:54 pm (UTC)
I agree and do avoid saying a word once I know it's offending meaning. I really hope I didn't upset either of you my comment. x

Today I've been reading more on the subject of ableism and it is very interesting, and think I'll have to read more in the future.

( 5 comments — Leave a comment )

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