A few weeks ago, a post was registered on the free board of Waagle, the portal site of CWNU. It was about the sign attached on the door of a toilet for the 'disabled', located on the 1st floor of the library. The sign says, "The ordinary people will not be allowed to use here." The writer said that 'ordinary' is not the antonym of 'disabled' and demanded the expression to be changed. He or she claimed that the disabled are also ordinary people. For 3 years, I have walked in front of the sign and read it many times, but I couldn't recognize that it is wrong. This point made me feel regret and forced me to think about this topic.
[Disabled] a. crippled, paralyzed, weakened, lame, wounded. Ant. Healthy, strong, capable. These are what actually could be looked up in a dictionary. Why do people call those who are challenged physically or mentally as the 'disabled'? Have you ever thought about this?
The views on the 'disabled' from our society usually include words like 'defective' or 'abnormal'. People who are challenged physically or mentally may need more time and effort to do something. However, it does not mean that they are disabled from doing anything.
Aimee Mullins was born without splint bones. She amputated her legs from the knees down and wears artificial legs. Surprisingly, she played as an athlete on the behalf of the U.S.A. in the 10th Atlanta Paralympics. Also, she plays as an actress and a model. Her nickname is 'Wonder Woman'. She contends that the dictionary definition of the 'disabled' encourages prejudice. As she says, the word determines a person's way of thinking. In addition, it has a huge effect to control our point of view. We may be forced to think about 'disability' as the antonym of 'integrity' or 'healthy', from society. Even we don't know what is normal or abnormal. What is the exact standard to divide and decide who is and isn’t?
There are many words which encourage prejudice. However, there is a saying that 'prejudice is the tallest wall and also the easiest wall to break down.' The only thing we have to remember is, if people would just fight against prejudice, the wall will collapse.
Jeong Won-kyeong -
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