Toronto Star

Words have the power to heal . . . and harm

- First Vice-President, Alliance for Equality of Blind Canadians, Toronto

Re Standing by the tools of our craft

Column, Jan. 5

Kathy English is correct when she says, “The words that newspaper reporters and columnists choose to communicat­e the news and voice opinions hold great power to define experience and shape ideas.” They also give powerful effect to how we feel about an individual or group in society, and words can and do hurt. Fortunatel­y, in the disability community, language is progressin­g, but like many other areas of life, change is slow and not embraced by all, especially at first. To me, as a person who is blind, phrases like “blind rage,” “blind drunk,” “robbed us blind” or “blind faith” are outdated and should be added to the scrap heap of history. In 2006, the Canadian Associatio­n of Broadcaste­rs published guidelines on the use of language pertaining to persons with disabiliti­es. The manual discusses commonly used terminolog­y and provides alternativ­es to outdated phrases. It’s time phrases that demean members of the disability community were replaced by more up-to-date terms. John Rae,

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