Labels in Society
The use of labels in society helps us understand who is capable of doing what and who is not based on the ability that the person needs to have in order to become more productive Unfortunately the lack of an ability has been correlated to a negativism and the reality of the situation is that the person’s functionality depends on how we describe what abilities are absent especially if co-workers have to make accommodations to work in harmony with that individual.An assumed lack of an ability can also cause the person to be mistreated and catagorized as inefficient. Consequently the person under scrutiny may have very good abilities to complete his tasks well but if he is misjudged than that may cause him to be stigmatized. It may and often does effect the way the person measures his own abilities.
Unfortunately the use of labels enters into employment and other classification systems that can stigmatize the individual and make it hard for him to feel he is just as productive a worker as the non-disabled person who is employing him. Labels exist whether one wants to abolish them or not probably because man has an insatiable manner to which he needs to categorize things including personal abilities that the person may react to in negative way especially if his self- esteem is weak to begin with.
Attention should be made to differentiate between the use of labels and nomenclature as in the use of words used to classify a disorder or malady. There is no other way to talk about having a hearing impairment without using a set of words used to assist the person in finding employment, facilitating his use of audio equipment or just plane making it is easier fir that person to function properly in a world mostly inhabited by people who hear. The same can be said for those who are legally blind, mentally challenged or physically disabled or any other malady that needs particular attention especially when it comes to being mobile and functional so that the quality of life is at par with those around them.
The shortcoming in using words is that they may sound ill appropriate to a person who chooses another lexicon and perhaps that person had witnessed being disadvantaged by being judged for his disability or has witnessed the inequality of those who have fought for a better quality of life. He may have associated the term used to describe the person as the cause of inequality, as a cause of the labeling when in fact it is the lack of urban attention to the inaccessibility of wheelchair people to their apartment buildings that had antiquated building codes that had to be addressed.
The late comic George Carlin referred to our tendency to be politically correct and come up with a term that suits our needs whenever the political climate sways one way or another society It is absurd to change the term when in fact the label refers to the same object and the person or group is going to be stigmatized anyway. Such is the case for the use of word retarded or mentally handicapped or mentally disabled when it comes to describing a person’s ability which is ill adapted to fit in world he has little say to control. The argument towards the need to keep certain terms afloat here is that as long as the person is dependent on society than he is also going to be subjected to some classification or another based on what he can or cannot do. Hence a person who has a hearing impairment is going to be called hearing impaired whether concerned people like the political correctness or not.