Sticks and Stones: Editors' Introduction
We've all heard the children's rhyme, "sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me." An iteration of this rhyme first appeared in 1830, in a book called Eothen: Traces of Travel Brought Home From the East by Alexander William Kinglake.
But of course, it's a lie. "Mean" words—used to demean, discredit, and dehumanize our identities—can leave some of the deepest and most painful emotional scars. As disabled people, our experiences with mean words are typically defined by ableist language, or language targeted specifically to hurt our feelings about our status as people with disabilities—words like "dumb," "stupid," "lame," "spaz," and "crazy." And, due to the prevalence of ableist language in everyday use, us disabled people are met with a constant influx of "mean words."
For this issue of The Deaf Poets Society, we have highlighted the various ways ableist language has affected your life, your experiences, and your reclamation of the language. Because you matter, and you deserve better words.
This issue is for you.
The Deaf Poets Society editors