Friday, 11 June 2010

Valuing Language Now?

Our browser has lighted upon www.communityliving.co.uk a magazine campaigning for equal citizenship for people with learning difficulties. An excellent Spring 2010 edition has a puzzling pair of editorial comments from Elinor Harbridge. Puzzling, that is, in their juxtaposition and in the use of language.

Firstly an entirely justifiable rant about the use of the word ‘retard’ by Vinnie Jones and Davina McCall live on Channel 4. It concludes that "only a public apology will get the message across that some language is deeply offensive to people with learning difficulty".

Second comment about the death of David Askew in Hattersley Greater Manchester – apparently a victim of "the growing problem of disability hate crime". Here Elinor has identified the cause of the problem in one question – "why are gangs of feral children roaming streets?"

Wise up Elinor this is language that is deeply offensive to 11 million children. Some of whom have a learning difficulty. A lesson we at CPEA have taken from undertaking Serious Case Reviews for Safeguarding Adults Boards is that the concept of hate crime is too simplistic and that the lives of perpetrators are often in themselves tortured.

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