What the flying fuck April 12, 2010 12:42 PM   Subscribe

Some mefites need a bit of sensitivity training on the whole disabled thing.

This is about the post re: the woman who had a harrowing experience flying w/ a wheelchair. Flying in a wheelchair on a plane is bound to suck no matter what, so I wasn't really surprised by her account. I was astonished, however, by the following comments:

Some of this was poor planning on her part (I've always arranged IN ADVANCE when I needed a wheelchair for a passenger I was flying with, not at the gate or ticket counter). She also took a bit of a passive aggressive approach about getting her bag stowed..

Rachel D. comes across as someone who wears their disability on their sleeve, LOOKING for someone to not treat her with the courtesy and respect she so truly deserves.


But who knows? SFO is a big airport, I sure wouldn't want to walk through the whole thing if I didn't have to!

Sorry if this is an inappropriate RAGE RAGE HOPPITAMOPITA thing, but I have to say, the folks who made those comments appear to be tone deaf, to be putting it midly.
posted by angrycat to Etiquette/Policy at 12:42 PM (143 comments total) 11 users marked this as a favorite

People have different approaches to dealing with people with disabilities. And nerds are tone deaf. And some disabled people are jerks and maybe poor planners, like everyone. This speaks to the whole two-dimensionality of the internet experience. You don't know whether the people who made those comments live fulltime with a person who uses a wheelchair and so actually have a broader experience of what challenges someone in a wheelchair faces or whether they're just jerks.

Temporary aside, I work at a vocational high school. This year we have not one but two students who get around primarily using wheelchairs. The school has always been accessible, but it's been interesting watching the entire automtotive program get adjusted so that he kid in a wheelchair can have the same access to tools, pneumatic lifts, oil changes and whatever else, as all the other kids. And even though the kids in the wheelchairs aren't really friends and don't have much in common besides the wheelchair, I think they're both sort of psyched to get to go to school and not be the only kid in a wheelchair. I know I would be.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 12:47 PM on April 12, 2010 [11 favorites]


those comments appear to be tone deaf
Hi Angrycat, you may not realize that the hearing impaired don't always appreciate the use of the word 'deaf' to indicate that someone refuses to listen.

This also applies to words like 'blind', 'lame', 'dumb', etc.
posted by stinker at 12:48 PM on April 12, 2010 [9 favorites]


I'm one of those offending people. My apologies.

My point was that she describes herself as not 'obviously disabled' and that her reality vice the perception of others may have significantly contributed to her experience. That doesn't excuse what happened to her, but might help one to understand it in context.

Best example was her just leaving her carry-on in the aisle for everyone to bump into when she COULD have asked someone to help her out. Of course, the flight attendant NOT helping her was bad enough. If I'm walking down the aisle and your bag is just sitting there, I'm either gonna stare at you funny or bump on by - especially if you're not 'obviously disabled'. I'm not a mind reader.

Again, I didn't mean to offend.
posted by matty at 12:48 PM on April 12, 2010 [1 favorite]


Not that you are wrong, angrycat, but I've always been very impressed with the level of sensitivity that most MeFites demonstrate when discussing issues of disability. Even if someone does stray toward the insensitive side of the line, intentionally or otherwise, they're usually called out on it. And wouldn't the thread about disability be the place to call people out on it, rather than MetaTalk, unless it was a truly rampant problem that needed addressing at the community level?
posted by greekphilosophy at 12:49 PM on April 12, 2010 [3 favorites]


But where was she supposed to leave her bag, matty? Yeah, yeah, she should have immediately asked some stranger to help her, whatever -- I have back problems, and anxiety issues. I'm also painfully shy. The idea of having to ask some stranger, who is already busy with their own bags and whatnot, to stow my bag for me would reduce me to tears.
posted by sarcasticah at 12:52 PM on April 12, 2010 [7 favorites]


sorry about the tone-deaf thing. didn't realize
posted by angrycat at 12:54 PM on April 12, 2010


I thought she was passive-aggressive about the bag thing--why didn't she just ask the first passenger to pass by if s/he'd help with the bag? I didn't understand why she just sat there letting herself be bumped into repeatedly--it probably wasn't apparent to most people passing by that she was a person who could use help, and not just an inconsiderate jerk who left her bag sticking out into the aisle for everyone to trip over.

And I thought she undermined her argument by throwing in side-bitches like the noisy kids two rows back. Angry people often write ranty letters of complaint in which they throw in every single thing that irritated them, and I think it detracts from the argument--focusing on her treatment by airline personnel would have made for a more effective letter of complaint.

That said, she was treated pretty badly by at least a couple of people, and some of that treatment is typical of what happens to folks who have disabilities that aren't immediately obvious--full-time wheelchair use, cane, braces, or such like. And that sucks. And accusing people with not-immediately-obvious disabilities of faking it to get services is shitty.
posted by not that girl at 12:54 PM on April 12, 2010 [1 favorite]


I wish people would link to whatever thread they're upset about when posting in MetaTalk.
posted by amro at 1:03 PM on April 12, 2010 [9 favorites]


...those comments appear to be tone deaf...

Hi Angrycat, you may not realize that the hearing impaired don't always appreciate the use of the word 'deaf' to indicate that someone refuses to listen.


People who are 'tone deaf' are musically impaired, not hearing impaired. And frankly, I'm personally not all that concerned with offending them, because they don't seem to be all that concerned about not singing out loud with those horribly off-key voices of theirs.
posted by mudpuppie at 1:03 PM on April 12, 2010 [32 favorites]


That has to be a joke, right? No one is seriously considering adding "tone deaf" to the verboten offensive phrases list are they?

Cause that seems kind of tone deaf.
posted by Burhanistan at 1:07 PM on April 12, 2010 [8 favorites]


I am tone deaf and you can call me that if you wish. I sing out loud to my radio and it is painful even for me.

Here is the thread they are talking about
posted by JohnnyGunn at 1:09 PM on April 12, 2010 [2 favorites]


thanks JohnnyGunn. I'm a newbie and having problems doing the link thing. I'll get the hang of it someday.
posted by angrycat at 1:10 PM on April 12, 2010


Emphasis mine:
Deaf and hard of hearing people have the right to choose what they wish to be called, either as a group or on an individual basis. Overwhelmingly, deaf and hard of hearing people prefer to be called “deaf” or “hard of hearing.” Nearly all organizations of the deaf use the term “deaf and hard of hearing,” and the NAD is no exception. The World Federation of the Deaf (WFD) also voted in 1991 to use “deaf and hard of hearing” as an official designation.

Yet there are many people who persist in using terms other than “deaf” and “hard of hearing.” The alternative terms are often seen in print, heard on radio and television, and picked up in casual conversations all over. Let’s take a look at the three most-used alternative terms.

I use the phrase "tone deaf" a lot. I hope that doesn't offend anyone. But, I don't think I'm in the wrong for doing so.
posted by zarq at 1:11 PM on April 12, 2010 [1 favorite]


People who are 'tone deaf' are musically impaired, not hearing impaired.

And beyond that it's common parlance for, approximately, "failing to express well or perceive well the nuances of presentation", apart from the musicality thing. The focus in either case is on "tone", not "deaf". Like "blind", "deaf" finds its way into a lot of functional compound words because it's such a core lexeme for communicating sensory metaphors.

I hadn't heard of it as something that bothers folks with hearing disabilities as a phrase perceived to be a slight, and I don't think I've ever heard anyone use it in the manner of mocking or making disparaging comparisons to hearing-impaired folks as a group, but if that's actually a thing that's interesting to know and I'd like to know more of this history of its use as a problematic reference to hearing disability. Certainly well-meaning or neutral language can catch people off guard.
posted by cortex (staff) at 1:13 PM on April 12, 2010 [1 favorite]


Just because a person is disabled, that doesn't that can't be an asshole or called on it.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 1:13 PM on April 12, 2010 [9 favorites]


Some mefites need a bit of sensitivity training on the whole disabled not being so sensitive thing.

FTFY.
posted by Lutoslawski at 1:18 PM on April 12, 2010 [6 favorites]


I thought she was passive-aggressive about the bag thing--why didn't she just ask the first passenger to pass by if s/he'd help with the bag

How can you call someone passive aggressive when the air flight attendant (ie, stewardess) has told her "helping you with your bags is not my job; usually someone overhears me say this and gallantly steps up to the plate to help out; however, no passenger is around to overhear this, so I'm going away now, bye bye."

If it were me, I would be livid with rage, and in no condition to play like a grownup. Why do disabled people have to be held to a higher standard than anyone else?
posted by KokuRyu at 1:19 PM on April 12, 2010 [10 favorites]


I feel like what was throwing people off both at United and in the thread is that Rachel apparently does have the ability to walk, but presumably not for long distances. So people see her walking and make all sorts of assumptions about her abilities out of ignorance. I'm not saying that's okay, or that it in any way justifies the behavior of the United employees that she describes, just that I can sort of see why there might be some confusion at various points if you see someone walking who then asks for a wheelchair.
posted by amro at 1:21 PM on April 12, 2010


thanks JohnnyGunn. I'm a newbie and having problems doing the link thing. I'll get the hang of it someday.

Angrycat, copy the url you would like to paste, then, when you're ready to add it to your comment, click on the bright blue "link" just below the comment field. A window will open: "Please enter the site you'd like to link!"

Paste in your link and click "ok".

If you were to copy the URL for this page, you'd see this:

[a href="http://metatalk.metafilter.com/19123/What-the-flying-fuck"] [/a]

Your cursor will be conveniently placed between the two sets of brackets, in the exact spot where text goes.

So if you now type: TAKE A LOOK AT THIS COOL LINK!!!!

[a href="http://metatalk.metafilter.com/19123/What-the-flying-fuck"]TAKE A LOOK AT THIS COOL LINK!!!! [/a]

You'll see this, in preview:

TAKE A LOOK AT THIS COOL LINK!!!!

Move your cursor past the [/a] and keep typing. :)
posted by zarq at 1:21 PM on April 12, 2010 [1 favorite]


The Sarcasmotron3000 blew a gasket on this thread. No idea who is serious about anything anymore.
posted by Babblesort at 1:22 PM on April 12, 2010 [1 favorite]


Just because a person is disabled, that doesn't that can't be an asshole or called on it.

Prime example. BB is a grammatically challenged asshole.
posted by gman at 1:23 PM on April 12, 2010 [2 favorites]


Also if you type the plain text for your link and highlight it, then click the link button, then paste your URL text it's even easier.
posted by Babblesort at 1:24 PM on April 12, 2010 [1 favorite]


The Sarcasmotron3000 blew a gasket on this thread.

That thing is really useful.
posted by Burhanistan at 1:24 PM on April 12, 2010 [1 favorite]


Hi Angrycat, you may not realize that the hearing impaired don't always appreciate the use of the word 'deaf' to indicate that someone refuses to listen.

Interesting. Do we need to stop using "color blind" as well?
posted by cereselle at 1:25 PM on April 12, 2010


Hi Angrycat, you may not realize that the hearing impaired don't always appreciate the use of the word 'deaf' to indicate that someone refuses to listen.

Every hard of hearing and deaf person I have ever met differentiates between their experience and tone deafness. Were you saying this in earnest, or were you mocking the original complaint?
posted by Astro Zombie at 1:25 PM on April 12, 2010 [2 favorites]


Also if you type the plain text for your link and highlight it, then click the link button, then paste your URL text it's even easier.

!! I didn't know it could do that. Sonofa....
posted by zarq at 1:26 PM on April 12, 2010 [2 favorites]


I kind of feel like all of this could be called out in thread, and has been—Matty even apologized in there. And that if you're going to call someone else out in the thread, just having a big emotional yelling fest where you say you almost closed your account and fuck you, that's not nearly going to be as effective as putting forth an actual argument.

Sorry, Angrycat, but this sounds like something that you should have had a little more faith in the broader MeFi community on making sure those fairly insulting comments were discussed and rightly refuted, instead of getting pissed and exploding. Because those comments did get noticed—in Matty's case, fairly fixated on—and pretty roundly thumped.

God knows I post too often when pissed off at something or other, but there're always going to be things on MeFi that piss me off, often even written by people I like, so it's a better long-term strategy to argue them out of those positions than just to flame and rage and spew.
posted by klangklangston at 1:26 PM on April 12, 2010 [6 favorites]


If it were me, I would be livid with rage, and in no condition to play like a grownup. Why do disabled people have to be held to a higher standard than anyone else?

As a person with an invisible disability myself, I would say: yes, in an ideal world you wouldn't have to be ready to stand up and advocate for yourself on a moment's notice just when you're feeling the most angry, hurt, in pain, or vulnerable. But you know what? You have to learn to. Because the alternative is to constantly let yourself be hurt, both physically and emotionally, while you sit there and fume. Livid with rage, I get that. Verge of tears: been there.

But she sat there and let herself be repeatedly hurt by people bumping her bag. I'm sorry that happened to her. It shouldn't have happened because the damn flight attendant should have helped get her bag into the overhead compartment. But the flight attendant was not going to do that. That was the reality she had to deal with in that moment. She was going to have to ask a passenger for help sooner or later, and by choosing to do it later, she allowed herself to be more hurt.

I have also had times when I let myself be injured by others' actions because I was just too fucking tired or angry or in pain to speak up, or because I'm tired of having to speak up. But there's an expression for that: cutting off your nose to spite your face.
posted by not that girl at 1:32 PM on April 12, 2010 [10 favorites]


KokuRyu: Why do disabled people have to be held to a higher standard than anyone else?

Shit, seriously? That's where you draw the line? Expecting someone to ask for help when they need help getting their bag in the overhead bins, when they're not obviously disabled, is a higher standard than anyone else?

And of course, obviously, expecting everyone to be mindreaders and know with one look that the angry woman with a bag in the aisle, glaring at everyone trying to negotiate the narrow passage and get over her luggage, saying nothing whatsoever, is not just some angry woman with a bag in the aisle, but rather a disabled person looking for help, well, that's just the bare minimum standard everyone lives by, right?

Geez. She's been done wrong, no doubt. She didn't help herself either, and if she doesn't want to have similar experiences in the future, she ought to learn to swallow her pride and resentment and actually ask for help when she needs it. That, or move to a country where everyone is psychic.
posted by splice at 1:33 PM on April 12, 2010


I wasn't necessarily mocking angrycat, I wanted to highlight a potential pitfall in discussing disability -- that the most conscientious can cause offense without meaning to. I think matty did a good job of justifying his remarks in the original thread.
posted by stinker at 1:35 PM on April 12, 2010


Clearly some airlines cope with this better than others. Why just last night Mrs. Bronzefist and I were watching something where they didn't have the proper wheelchair to permit this disabled passenger to board, so -- after asking first, politely -- they carried him on, before most other passengers had boarded to minimize embarassment. Quite professional. I think the airline was Oceanic.
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 1:36 PM on April 12, 2010 [13 favorites]


Shit, seriously? That's where you draw the line? Expecting someone to ask for help when they need help getting their bag in the overhead bins, when they're not obviously disabled, is a higher standard than anyone else?

As I already said in the part of my post you chose not to copy in to your comment, when the stewardess at United Airlines said "fuck off", all bets were off. Please note that I'm only saying that her behavior cannot be classified as passive aggressive, as she was in pain, probably tired, and probably irate following her exchange with the stewardess.

In an ideal world she would have bucked up and solved the situation, but she's only human.
posted by KokuRyu at 1:38 PM on April 12, 2010 [1 favorite]


"is not just some angry woman with a bag in the aisle,"

Which I have unfortunately seen more than once while traveling, usually an older woman with a huge gold lamé bag.
posted by klangklangston at 1:39 PM on April 12, 2010 [1 favorite]


Oceanic flights start out nice but after a while they just fall apart.
posted by Babblesort at 1:39 PM on April 12, 2010 [9 favorites]


I wasn't necessarily mocking angrycat, I wanted to highlight a potential pitfall in discussing disability

It was very unclear whether your remarks were made in good faith or just taking the piss. I'm not super plugged in to the concerns of the Deaf community, but I'm unaware of an objection to the term "tone deaf" in any real sense, though I am familiar with people's objections to the word lame and others int he disability community generally.

If someone is clearly pissed off and upset, starting with a "oh yeah well you do the same thing you're accusing other people of, aha!" comment is sort of not a great way to move forward. One of the things about trying to be considerate versus people just being concern trolls [not saying that about anyone here] is that you want people to sincerely state their own feelings and not spend a lot of time advancing the concerned of not-all-that-understood Others as a way of playing some "more sensitive than thou" game.

So, if angrycat is in a wheelchair and is saying things make her upset about how people talk about peope in wheelchairs, it's sort of different than the whole "Gypsies are offended by the word gyp, or actually even the world Gypsy!" discussion. At least it is to me. No huge problem, but worth untangling, in my opinion.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 1:41 PM on April 12, 2010 [5 favorites]


Being offended at "tone deaf" is like being offended at "driving while impaired" because one is hearing impaired. I mean, really, come on now.
posted by desjardins at 1:47 PM on April 12, 2010 [1 favorite]


I wasn't necessarily mocking angrycat, I wanted to highlight a potential pitfall in discussing disability

I guess I don't know whether you meant this in good faith or not unless you can point to an actual example of deaf and hard of hearing folks who are offended by the use of the word tone deaf that you were previously aware of. Inventing things to be offended by doesn't contribute to a discussion, or highlight any pitfalls, but instead minimizing an actual complaint.
posted by Astro Zombie at 1:48 PM on April 12, 2010 [1 favorite]


minimizes, rather.
posted by Astro Zombie at 1:49 PM on April 12, 2010


I didn't invent the 'tip', I genuinely think that the use of terms that refer to disability to put something down are overused and under-considered. I did think that pointing that out in this discussion might be helpful to angrycat to show that the best of us make these mistakes. I'm sorry for the confusion this has caused.
posted by stinker at 1:53 PM on April 12, 2010


Henceforth, to avoid any possibility of offense, all descriptions of misunderstanding must be rendered in mathematical terminology or simply shown by function graph.
posted by Burhanistan at 1:57 PM on April 12, 2010 [2 favorites]


sarcasticah: The idea of having to ask some stranger, who is already busy with their own bags and whatnot, to stow my bag for me would reduce me to tears.

Get over it.

I spent a few months "disabled" after a motorcycle accident. Yeah, it sucks. Everything is out of reach, all movement is painful, and many spaces are too tight to move around in. So I had to ask for help. Often.

You don't exist to anyone in the world but yourself and your loved ones. The stranger busy with their own bags isn't remotely aware of you or your needs until you express them. 99% of people are happy to help you out with (to them) trivial tasks.
posted by coolguymichael at 2:03 PM on April 12, 2010


Tone deaf is fine. Just don't call us TDians.
posted by sanko at 2:10 PM on April 12, 2010 [3 favorites]


Prime example. BB is a grammatically challenged asshole.

Hee, I earned that.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 2:11 PM on April 12, 2010


And nerds are tone deaf.

I am shocked and appalled...that anyone needed to be told this. (I am isomorphic to a nerd, so I can say that.)
posted by DU at 2:26 PM on April 12, 2010


One of the classes I teach is Independent Living for Special Populations, which is basically helping to prepare my students to work with disabled populations and their families. the typical job title is something like "independent living mentor".

One of the most important skills in adulthood for people with disabilities is self-advocacy. This is a skill that some of you (and I think rightly) have pointed out Rachel D. needs some coaching in. Especially with invisible disabilities that people do not immediately have visual or other cues toward.

If I were her IL mentor, I would have asked her how she could handle things differently next time, as she only has (as anyone has) power over her own responses. I would then advise her to write an articulate complaint letter about that flight attendant to her superiors, because the flight attendant was also out-of-line and in violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act.
posted by lleachie at 2:39 PM on April 12, 2010 [8 favorites]


Now the blind can also enjoy porn.
posted by gman at 2:42 PM on April 12, 2010


Sorry about the whole rage festival thing.

But I need to explain this: I encounter often examples of ignorance that make my life more difficult than it would be otherwise. Okay, maybe the blogger could have handled things better. But what I was getting from Matty and this:

Get over it.

I spent a few months "disabled" after a motorcycle accident. Yeah, it sucks. Everything is out of reach, all movement is painful, and many spaces are too tight to move around in. So I had to ask for help. Often.


Is a lack of awareness of what it is like to be permanently disabled. What happens is you live your life according to certain expectations, e.g., if I ask for the stewardess to place my bags in the overhead bin, I will be assisted. If those expectations (assuming they're reasonable, and I argue that the example I just gave is, certainly) aren't met, it is very difficult to function.

If these expectations aren't met, it is profoundly disorienting and enraging. But is like being disoriented and enraged inside a bubble -- no one else really gets it unless they are in that situation.

Matty's comments, while I accept his apology, to me were indicative to the lack of awareness I encounter all the time.

I don't this this is a matter of his saying something in a clumsy way. I think it is a lack of awareness on his part. And I haven't really seen an admission from him that he lacks said awareness. If I missed it, then, Matty, I'm sorry.

And I guess I could have handled this in a less angry way. But when people don't get it (shrug) it's mind exploding.
posted by angrycat at 2:47 PM on April 12, 2010 [9 favorites]


If everyone's minds exploded at all of the things other people thought they didn't get, we wouldn't have anyone left to mop up the brains.
posted by adipocere at 2:50 PM on April 12, 2010 [1 favorite]


adipocere, trying to make myself clear here:
when I"m saying "don't get it" I'm talking about civil rights issues. Racism, sexism, and failure to comply with the ADA. Which is the case here. The airline needed to accommodate her disability.

I'm not talking about -- well, I don't know, my toaster broke this morning and thus I didn't get to eat my pop tart and I wish people would be sensitive to that.
posted by angrycat at 2:55 PM on April 12, 2010 [2 favorites]


Some mefites need a bit of sensitivity training on the whole disabled thing.

Are there people in the world that can still use the phrase "sensitivity training" with a straight face and mean it unironically? Are the people that use said phrase in all seriousness tone deaf (see what I did there?) to the concept's similarity of purpose to "re-education?"

I'm sorry. MeFi isn't the Wild Wild West, nor should it be. But I bristle at the notion that anyone needs sensitivity training, as in, "we must change your system of thought before you're allowed to move up from the kiddie table."
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 2:55 PM on April 12, 2010 [3 favorites]


when the stewardess at United Airlines said "fuck off", all bets were off. Please note that I'm only saying that her behavior cannot be classified as passive aggressive, as she was in pain, probably tired, and probably irate following her exchange with the stewardess.

I'd have been irate too, but then she sits there and gets mad at the other passengers for failing to read her mind. From her blog:

What's more, rather than help me, most of the passengers simply knocked into my suitcase and shoved past me on the way to their own seats.

That's passive aggressive and unreasonable. I am not holding her to a higher standard than everyone else. I'm holding her to the same standard. She got treated badly, but I disagree that the flight attendant's behavior justifies her lashing out at bystanders. If she couldn't cope with asking for help, that's understandable, but it's the sitting there blaming others that is passive aggressive.

There were some problematic statements made in the original thread (and matty apologized, though it was not received gracefully by some), but criticizing Rachel should not be off limits.
posted by Mavri at 2:56 PM on April 12, 2010 [2 favorites]


lleachie, I've read through your link twice and can't find any evidence that airlines are required to help with carry-on luggage. There is a non-trivial risk to the employee, and opens both the employee and airline to liability. I have met plenty of flight attendants who are willing to overlook these risks. But that's an individual risk that they are willing to take. It is not something that they are legally required to do, because individuals are not required to be in compliance with the ADA.

Angrycat, if you're going to come in and demand that everyone be politically correct, it'd be great if you didn't use the sexist term stewardess. Many of the requirements to become a stewardess were so blatantly discriminatory they were successfully challenged under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act. There's a reason we now use the term flight attendant.
posted by politikitty at 3:10 PM on April 12, 2010


I realize this is just more noise than people care for, but I do find it slightly amusing that a MeTa post that references word usage about people with disabilities falls afoul of the "people first" principal. No, I am not offended and am not calling anyone out about it, but in general when referring to people of any "type" it is better practice to refer to them as people before referring to their attributes. "People who are disabled", rather than "disabled people", "people who are white", rather than "white people", "people who are mentally ill" rather than "mentally ill people"and so on.

I know, I know... ease and popular usage, overly PC, etc... but for all of that I think it helps align the thinking. The original post was talking about a person.... a person who is also disabled, that is a part of them, but not their entirety. Saying "disabled person" is priming the thought process to see this person as predominately embodying the disability, then being a person.

anyways, back to your regularly scheduled MeTa
posted by edgeways at 3:11 PM on April 12, 2010 [2 favorites]


Get over it.

I spent a few months "disabled" after a motorcycle accident. Yeah, it sucks. Everything is out of reach, all movement is painful, and many spaces are too tight to move around in. So I had to ask for help. Often.


That would be lovely, truly, except for the anxiety issues. That I'm medicated for. So, y'know, not something I can just "get over."
posted by sarcasticah at 3:30 PM on April 12, 2010 [3 favorites]


I don't think anyone here is saying that the woman in question deserved to be treated badly, whether she was passive aggressive about that bag in the aisle or not.

She *should* have had help when she needed it, bottom line.

That doesn't mean, though, that we can't be annoyed by some things she did, too.

The bag thing made me think that if I had a bag that was too heavy for me to lift myself, I'd check it, disabled or not. I think that if you can't handle your own luggage when you are on a plane, you're carrying too much on board. I think anyone who has to travel a lot, and gets held up by people trying to find places for their bags where they don't fit, and bumps into bags that are in the aisle, would get annoyed by this and that's where a lot of the GRAR in the responses came from.

There was one commenter who complained about one time when they were not able to stow all their bags on the plane even though there was "plenty of room" and how silly that was, and how the irritated flight attendant (note: NOT stewardess) said, "We can't break the rules for you." And I was firmly on the flight attendant's side, because the commenter had a "wheelie cart", computer bag, purse and I think something else, and that's over the two pieces of carry-on everyone is allowed, regardless of how empty the damn plane was.

See? Even I have some GRAR over the bag thing.

But I also know it's a pain that airlines are now charging ridiculous amounts for checked luggage, and that we really, really need a traveler's bill of rights, because the service *has* gone downhill.

I don't like blaming the victim, and I have no reason to suspect the whole scenario didn't go down just the way the writer says it did. It shouldn't matter that she didn't "look handicapped" (as she says herself she doesn't, as she is 29 and not visibly impaired). I do think she should speak out whenever she faces problems like these.

But I also think that IF someone is handicapped, that doesn't give them carte blanche to be rude, either. Case in point: I was recently at, I think it was, a movie theater, but at any rate it was a small place with a narrow walkway that had enough room for two or so people to walk abreast, and a lady in a motorized wheelchair had stopped her wheelchair right in the middle of the aisle, so that no one could get around her (narrow on both sides), rather than simply moving to one side or the other of the aisle. She was completely oblivious to the inconvenience she was causing everyone else. No one wants to be that ogre that says to the handicapped person, "Hey, you're in my way!" Yet I always move to the side to allow handicapped persons to go to the front of lines, etc., and I'm sure they would be (understandably) put out if I were too rude to move aside for them.
posted by misha at 3:36 PM on April 12, 2010


edgeways: "No, I am not offended and am not calling anyone out about it, but in general when referring to people of any "type" it is better practice to refer to them as people before referring to their attributes. "People who are disabled", rather than "disabled people", "people who are white", rather than "white people", "people who are mentally ill" rather than "mentally ill people"and so on.

As someone with a mental illness, I absolutely hate that phrasing "people who are mentally ill" and would much prefer to be referred to as "a mentally ill person" or just "mentally ill". If we're in a context where discussing my illness is appropriate then the illness is more important in that context than my personhood. The "people who are" phrasing always seemed like a way of pushing uncomfortable subjects into the background. Back when I was actively ill, I found that people and organisations that insisted on dressed-up, self-consciously inclusive phrasings were vastly less effective at providing access to healthcare services and other forms of support.
posted by xchmp at 3:42 PM on April 12, 2010 [1 favorite]


in general when referring to people of any "type" it is better practice to refer to them as people before referring to their attributes. "People who are disabled", rather than "disabled people", "people who are white", rather than "white people", "people who are mentally ill" rather than "mentally ill people"and so on.

Not necessarily. There is disagreement among people with disabilities (as well as people without disabilities) about people-first language. For example:
People-first phraseology conceives of disability as a troublesome condition arbitrarily attached to some people, a condition (unlike gender, race or ethnicity) that is only significant as a remedial or managerial issue.

The ubiquitous character of this linguistic formulation of disability is astounding. [1] Clearly, the intention of people-first language is to replace the inherent objectification found within the term "the disabled" and to escape what Dyer refers to, in the context of race and sexuality, as the "relentless parade of insults" accomplished through terms such as the cripple, the lame, the retarded, the blind, or the spastic. Still, the assumption that people-first phraseology is devoid of objectification, and is simply appropriate and non-hurtful, "dams" the possibility of critical analysis of this unified discursive formulation of disability, which is publically expected among many institutions and among disabled and non-disabled people in Canadian society.
Like so many other things, there's no one right answer.

I think that those of us whose experience with disability is limited to "I had a bad accident once and it took me months to get over it" (which includes me) should listen more when people with more severe, long-term disabilities discuss their experiences, and should talk less.

Especially when the talk takes the form of "Get over it."
posted by Lexica at 3:42 PM on April 12, 2010 [10 favorites]


"What's more, rather than help me, most of the passengers simply knocked into my suitcase and shoved past me on the way to their own seats.

That's passive aggressive and unreasonable. "


I dunno - on every flight I've been on, people act like it's a cattle stampede to get to their seat and stuff the overhead bin before anyone else gets there. It's pretty rare that someone will take note of someone that needs assistance - I help occasionally, because I'm tall, and I see shorter people struggling to lift something into the bin.

I suppose it is kind of passive-aggressive on her part, but not unreasonable. As an introvert, if I'd just had an interaction like the one she had with the flight attendant, I might be loathe to ask anyone else for help for a bit, too.
posted by HopperFan at 3:43 PM on April 12, 2010 [3 favorites]


Are the people that use said phrase in all seriousness tone deaf (see what I did there?) to the concept's similarity of purpose to "re-education?"

Also, if you say you don't like squirrels, you're pretty much the same as Hitler.
posted by Astro Zombie at 3:47 PM on April 12, 2010 [2 favorites]


jesus, i wish i had never done this. it really wasn't worth the hate-on.
i'm not a politically correct person. i'm really not. sorry about the stewardess/flight attendant thing. sorry about the sensitivity training thing.

i'd argue that there is substantive difference between an ADA violation and calling somebody a stewardess. under the law I'm right.

i think i tried to explain myself the best i could after i got over being all "fuckity fuckity fuck." i think, nay, know that there is a substantive issue here. but i don't see arguments explaining it gaining much, if any traction.

not when "get over it" is an emerging theme.
posted by angrycat at 3:50 PM on April 12, 2010 [3 favorites]


As someone with a mental illness, I absolutely hate that phrasing "people who are mentally ill" and would much prefer to be referred to as "a mentally ill person" or just "mentally ill"

I understand what you are saying Lexica, and think you may be correct when saying Like so many other things, there's no one right answer.. I know and have worked with people who are mentally ill who feel exactly opposite of what you expressed, and when talking about a person I also prefer to think of them not as a disability or a gender or ethnicity first, even though that is part of their experience. It may be an overly broad brush, but it seems like people first language is predominately an American thing, with Canadian and Europeans communities taking exception to it.
posted by edgeways at 3:57 PM on April 12, 2010


jesus, i wish i had never done this. it really wasn't worth the hate-on.


Yeah, rightly or wrongly MeTa can often have that effect
posted by edgeways at 3:59 PM on April 12, 2010


people are individuals and like to be referred to in different ways. news at 11.
posted by desjardins at 4:08 PM on April 12, 2010


I understand what you are saying Lexica

I didn't write the text you quote, xchmp did.
posted by Lexica at 4:16 PM on April 12, 2010


angrycat, if you're new here it's worth noting two things about Metatalk:
1. It's often rantier, ruder, grouchier, more no-holds-barred, "more GRAR" than the rest of the site. There is always a risk when you post something here that people will make fun of it, dismiss it, be rude to you, be insulting, or generally ignore it and use it as an excuse to goof around, etc. (I'm not saying you should have known this ahead of time, and I'm not saying it's good, but it's worth being aware of in future.) Also, try not to take it personally, because it's like this pretty often; it's not that people are being abnormally grouchy with you.

2. Metatalk has seen a lot of discussions about various sensitivities in the last few years - about "boyzone" behavior (ie, behavior that tends to make women feel like it's a men-only site by default), racism, religious issues, and plenty of others. Mostly the discussions have been productive, but also there's been an ongoing feeling of irritation among some, too -- so you've maybe unwittingly walked into an existing sore spot about "you're being thoughtless" vs. "you're being too sensitive".
posted by LobsterMitten at 4:40 PM on April 12, 2010


Lobstermitten, thanks.

And yeah, I could have been ten thousand times more diplomatic about the whole thing to defuse the GRAR. I hope folks view it as an aberrational brain explosion and not angrycat = p.c. hall monitor
posted by angrycat at 4:43 PM on April 12, 2010


That would be fine and dandy, except this Meta thread isn't actually about an ADA violation. Individuals cannot actually violate the ADA. Mefites did not violate the ADA by acting tone deaf and accusing Rachel D of playing the victim. What they did, rightly or wrongly, was offend your sensibilities to such an extent you thought there should be a Metatalk post about the manner we discuss physically disable persons.

So the actual comparison you're making is whether or not it's more offensive to belittle disabled people or vagina-wielding people.

And that doesn't even go towards my personal belief that United simply exhibited horrible customer service, and did not violate the ADA by denying help with carry-on luggage. Does that excuse United? No. But there's a difference between poor customer service and breaking the law. Whatever accommodations Rachel D expects for her disability, it does not include requiring flight attendants to break contractual obligations regarding the nature of their work. She needed to make accommodations for her heavy luggage before entering the cabin of the plane.
posted by politikitty at 5:02 PM on April 12, 2010


vagina-wielding people.

Craziest thing I've read all day.
posted by Burhanistan at 5:08 PM on April 12, 2010 [2 favorites]


Lutoslawski wrote: "Some mefites need a bit of sensitivity training on the whole disabled not being so sensitive thing.

FTFY
"

You know, I'm usually one of the folks stridently complaining about the PC police here, but this is one instance in which I think it's entirely appropriate. People were blaming the disabled person for what exactly? Being disabled? Not looking disabled enough? Not wanting to trouble fellow passengers for help in lifting their bag?


Mavri wrote: "I disagree that the flight attendant's behavior justifies her lashing out at bystanders"

Being incapable of moving one's bag is not "lashing out." I know if I were disabled and had been treated that way, I would likely have been a bit dazed for a few minutes while I gathered my bearings. It happens.

misha wrote: "No one wants to be that ogre that says to the handicapped person, "Hey, you're in my way!""

I would be that "ogre," although I would phrase it as a simple request along the lines of "hey, can you move to one side so I can get by?" Perhaps accompanied by an offer to help them in the process if they needed it.

It "helps" that my Mom had been confined to a wheelchair for most of my living memory, so I'm pretty acclimated to the disabled. I'm generally of the opinion that the disabled should be treated as what they are, people. While one should never ask a person to do something they are clearly not capable of doing, one should also not shy away from asking for them to make your life a little easier if they can do so with little effort. It seems condescending to me to treat them differently.
posted by wierdo at 5:11 PM on April 12, 2010 [9 favorites]


Let me say this, I'm probably the most sensitive, helpful person you've every come across, almost to a fault... if someone, especially someone elderly, young, disabled, afraid, confused, whatever, is struggling with something, I go out of my way... so the condemnation about being insensitive is off base.

Let me also say that, having read the woman's rant, I found areas where part of the problem wasn't the airline, but her manner of dealing with the situation and the people around her (some of whom had nothing to do with her difficulties), and, I stated it as such.

No apologies...

Let me add, my wife is disabled, I know what it looks like when someone handles these situations well.
posted by HuronBob at 5:13 PM on April 12, 2010 [2 favorites]


HuronBob, I believe that I wrongly implicated you in my rage over the actions of the airline and Matty's justification of them. For that I am sorry.

My anger has to do with the airline's actions, full stop. Whether or not the woman was passive aggressive -- for me that is a non issue. Whether or not she could have handled it differently -- another nonissue. The airline was in violation of the law, full stop. Somebody from the airline industry justified said violation. This is the extent of my complaint.

polikitty, i am not sure if you are a lawyer. I was until I retired in 2005 because of my spinal cord injury. I filed ADA lawsuits.

The woman should have been granted a reasonable accommodation. If the flight attendant couldn't lift the bags because of a contractual obligation, then it is the airline's responsibility to find somebody who could.

But polikitty, I've been out of the biz for five years, so if you have another reading of the law, I would like to hear it.

If I have offended folks by mischaracterizing their positions, I am truly sorry for both the offense and the mischaracterization.
posted by angrycat at 5:35 PM on April 12, 2010 [3 favorites]


"One of the most important skills in adulthood for people with disabilities is self-advocacy."

I have a couple of friends who are disability activists, and something that helped me in getting my recent medical needs met was thinking about how they had such a comfort of command—when Petra has a need, she is both gracious and absolutely authoritative regarding the necessity of meeting that need; she carries herself with a mien that's practically royalty. It's because if she doesn't, her needs don't get met, and so it frees her from the need to be apologetic about it at all.
posted by klangklangston at 6:01 PM on April 12, 2010 [3 favorites]


Your interpretation of the law implies that everyone has an expectation for accommodation of heavy luggage. That expectation does not exist inside the cabin of the plane. It exists in the terminal where you can check luggage and have baggage handlers deal with it. It exists at the gate where you can gate-check heavy luggage. It does not exist inside the cabin, where employees are contractually obligated to not undertake heavy lifting.

I don't have a law degree. Neither do flight attendants who only know that they are contractually not allowed to handle luggage of any passenger regardless of their ability. If it is against the law, it is not a problem with this specific flight attendant or even United. It's an industry wide problem.

I've gone through all the links that outline the rights of disable passengers and can't find reference to a "Right to Carry-On Luggage". But I'm at work, and it's possible I missed it in my quick perusal. I'm not aware of any lawsuits pending against flight attendants or airlines regarding this issue. Which is not to say that it doesn't exist. But I have quite a few friends in the industry, so I'm not speaking out of complete ignorance on the issue.
posted by politikitty at 6:01 PM on April 12, 2010 [1 favorite]


A long time ago I was getting off of the bus in the busy University district and saw a blind woman who was moving somewhat frantically and appeared to have badly lost her bearings. I approached and announced, "Hi I grew up around here, whatcha' looking for?" and got her headed in the right direction.

The D'oh! moment came about a half hour later.
posted by vapidave at 6:14 PM on April 12, 2010


My anger has to do with the airline's actions, full stop. Whether or not the woman was passive aggressive -- for me that is a non issue. Whether or not she could have handled it differently -- another nonissue. The airline was in violation of the law, full stop. Somebody from the airline industry justified said violation. This is the extent of my complaint.

One thing that you may not be aware of is that Metafilter has done this kind of thing before and been burned. This thread was very similar in many ways: it linked to a single impassioned blog entry from an aggrieved party also claiming a disability, accusing members of the airline industry (actually, in this case, the TSA) of mistreatment. Long story short, the blog post turned out to be an exaggeration at best, and probably an outright lie.

I don't raise this comparison to say that this blog post is a lie, but rather to say that - as in the other case - all we have to go on here is a single blog post of one person's account of events. And without independent verification, I think its fair game to question that person's account. The fact that the blogger is disabled and/or has been treated poorly does not mean that we must all take the substance of her blog post completely at face value. When it comes to single blog posts, skepticism is as justified as outrage.
posted by googly at 6:21 PM on April 12, 2010 [2 favorites]


Every blind person I have ever met has used idioms of seeing without thinking twice, so I wouldn't sweat it. I mean, the song Angel Eyes by Jeff Healey starts with:

Girl, you're looking fine tonight,
and every guy has got you in his sights.


And that guy was so blind he didn't know he was holding his guitar all wrong, much less that he was in Patrick Swayze film.
posted by Astro Zombie at 6:23 PM on April 12, 2010 [11 favorites]


politikitty: Neither do flight attendants who only know that they are contractually not allowed to handle luggage of any passenger regardless of their ability. If it is against the law, it is not a problem with this specific flight attendant or even United. It's an industry wide problem.

I've gone through all the links that outline the rights of disable passengers and can't find reference to a "Right to Carry-On Luggage". But I'm at work, and it's possible I missed it in my quick perusal. I'm not aware of any lawsuits pending against flight attendants or airlines regarding this issue. Which is not to say that it doesn't exist. But I have quite a few friends in the industry, so I'm not speaking out of complete ignorance on the issue.



The Air Carrier Access Act, as linked to by United Airlines (united.com):
"As a carrier, you must provide services within the aircraft cabin as requested by or on
behalf of passengers with a disability, or when offered by carrier personnel and accepted by
passengers with a disability, as follows:
....
(e) Assistance in stowing and retrieving carry-on items, including mobility aids and other
assistive devices stowed in the cabin (see also 382.91(c)). To receive such assistance, the
passenger must self-identify as being an individual with a disability needing the assistance."

From United's website: "Once passengers are onboard the aircraft, our flight attendants can help with stowing and retrieving carry-on items...."

From Southwest: "Our Flight Attendants will also assist in stowing/retrieving items, opening packages, and identifying food items for Customers with disabilities who need this assistance."
posted by katemonster at 7:06 PM on April 12, 2010 [12 favorites]


I hope folks view it as an aberrational brain explosion and not angrycat = p.c. hall monitor

I'm pretty sure most of them will. I think Lobster Mitten explained it pretty well above, but just to agree. There are a few people who are just touchy no matter what, and most people will have more of a "oh angrycat, she came into MeTa all pissed off but then we had an itneresting discussion about disability law and I learned some stuff" feeling, at least that's my guess.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 7:22 PM on April 12, 2010 [2 favorites]


Every hard of hearing and deaf person I have ever met differentiates between their experience and tone deafness.

I had a stone deaf house mate who took piano lessons, and enjoyed playing my piano, which she did in a not entirely tuneless fashion. I think she felt the vibrations. Then there was the time she told me to stop blasting my giant sub-woofers, when it was actually the clothes drier shaking the floor (this time).
posted by StickyCarpet at 7:39 PM on April 12, 2010 [1 favorite]


googly -- I didn't see where in this thread or the FPP where it was disputed. I thought that people were arguing the matter assuming the blog to be true. I get what you're saying -- but my (possibly biased) reading of the thread didn't discern skepticism, rather criticism of how she handled the situation.

politikitty: The law aside, you are not addressing what I raised as a reasonable accommodation -- finding somebody affiliated with the airline who could lift the luggage for her. Or one of the attendants could have asked a passenger instead of walking away. Or taking her luggage and checking it.

It may indeed be an industry-wide violation of the law. But you are probably not going to get a lawsuit over this anytime soon. Primarily, because there's not much in the way of damages to be gained, so no private attorney is going to be too interested in taking these cases -- you'd need a wealthy disabled person, and those aren't in great supply. Attorneys who do pro bono work have bigger fish to fry (such as suing facilities to make them at all accessible, as opposed to making sure disabled people can bring heavy luggage along).

I read back over her blog post to try to figure out why I have such a severely different take on this than several of you. I do get why some people are put off by her, although with regards to the passive aggressive thing, this is what she says about her luggage in the aisle moment:

I sat down to wait and pulled my carry-on suitcase as close as I could to try to get it out of the way of the aisle. As I'm sure you're aware, however, your aisles are considerably narrow and even my best efforts left half of even my small carry-on suitcase in the aisle. What's more, rather than help me, most of the passengers simply knocked into my suitcase and shoved past me on the way to their own seats. Every time they hit the suitcase, it in turn hit me and jarred my back more and more with each strike. The plane wasn't even half boarded and it already felt like the pain medication I'd taken less than a half hour prior to entering the airport had worn off as though I hadn't taken it at all. Finally, it was too much and I dropped my suitcase down into the aisle to stop the flow and ask one of the men passing me for help before he went looking for his seat.

What I get from this is a woman in severe physical pain, maybe a bit doped up on pain meds, who doesn't know how to deal with the situation. I sometimes get into situations that I can't handle -- Philly's massive snowstorm was one. I got caught in the snow several times (and yeah, I shouldn't have gone out, but I thought the roads had been cleared and had no groceries left, and because this was a new thing (getting stuck in the snow, that is) I was embarrassed, ashamed, and scared. People were very kind and helped me but in the face of what was really an impossible situation (i.e. that I was immobilized) your brain does weird shit.
I'm very very good at asking for help in status quo situations -- but when there's an unexpected thing -- well -- it took a good ten minutes in really cold weather before I worked up the courage to shout for help at a passer by.

So I can relate to this woman, in pain, looking at the flood of passengers coming towards her, none of them stopping, the thing hitting in her back, and she thinks, okay, I can just drop this fucking thing and then somebody will HAVE to help. Can I see myself doing this? Yes, in a weaker moment of pain and confusion and anger and shame, yes.

And what I saw in the metafilter thread was maybe a good number of people shitting all over her. And I'm not going to play the victim here. I'm going to fucking stand up for her and against people who lack understanding or compassion.

Granted, I did it in a stupid way, and have taken some deserved lumps for that. But I'm not going to apologize for this call out, only the way in which I framed it.
posted by angrycat at 7:51 PM on April 12, 2010 [15 favorites]


that second to last paragraph wandered into anger territory again, so let just say: 9 times outta
10, I'm a calm, ganja-lovin', guitar-playing, unpublished novelist, who is not at all cranky and shit. to those i've pissed off, i extend a peace pipe.
posted by angrycat at 8:06 PM on April 12, 2010


I wear my tone deafness on my sleeve. Well, it's in my profile, which is a metaphorical sleeve, even if there are no figurative arms in it, reaching out to either hug or hit you, or perhaps give you a reacharound.

Where was I again? Oh, we prefer to be called "people having idiosyncratic harmony". If that's too much of a mouthful, the acronym "phish" will do at a pinch. Just so long as you don't keep on lumping us in with actually deaf people, because while they are disabled, we are more like super-abled. For example, all music sounds great to us. It's like having an autotune doodad in your head.

When you extend this to metaphorical tone deafness, it gets even better yet, as the autotune function removes all subtle nuances, just like how an old European on a sex tour of Cambodia can't really tell the difference between one little boy and another.
posted by UbuRoivas at 8:08 PM on April 12, 2010 [3 favorites]


I think you've been clear about your concerns, and I wouldn't worry about how anybody sees you after this - overwhelmingly, people don't remember who posted what. (Caveat: except in cases where someone gets drawn into a giant shouting match taking on all comers in a personal way. So, don't do that.)

At this point in the thread, it seems like time for pie. I have some fresh strawberries, anybody have some all-purpose rhubarb?
posted by LobsterMitten at 8:19 PM on April 12, 2010 [1 favorite]


I have fresh strawberries too!
No rhubarb, tho. :(
posted by angrycat at 8:22 PM on April 12, 2010


As opposed to the more specialised rhubarb?
posted by turgid dahlia at 8:22 PM on April 12, 2010 [1 favorite]


all purpose rhubarb (a comment from a few days ago by ROU_Xenophobe, which was a reference to a cake recipe in the game "Portal")
posted by LobsterMitten at 8:26 PM on April 12, 2010


Thanks for the link. I notice that is that it is not staff, but the carrier who is responsible for compliance. It's important to not that there are various types of compliance, and this issue was created when carriers failed to provide cabin crew with the resources they need to safely complete their job. It's a bigger issue than a rude flight attendant. The rude flight attendant was constrained by OSHA requirements, liability issues and contractual limits.

While I can certainly understand the argument for human decency, the litigious nature of humans gives me pause before I choose a certain course of action.

That said, this thread is about mefites responding to the post in a politically incorrect manner, not the staff or carrier. I'm glad that we "had an interesting discussion about disability law and I learned some stuff", but that doesn't change the fact that angrycat essentially dismissed their sexist remarks because nobody broke the law. Nobody broke the law while discussing either post (unless we include torrenting, perhaps an aberrant thief with an iPhone and a MeFi addiction). They simply spoke in an offensively tone deaf manner about disabled persons, which is exactly the same thing angrycat did. If angrycat expects a pass on political correctness, the very existence of this post doesn't make sense.
posted by politikitty at 8:26 PM on April 12, 2010


I also have buttermilk biscuits, and I'm thinking about whether to apply the strawberries to the biscuits. It would mean slicing them, and it would take an extra minute or two, whereas if I just put honey and butter on them, I could be eating them right now.
posted by LobsterMitten at 8:28 PM on April 12, 2010


politikitty, didn't angrycat already apologize for using the term 'stewardess'?
posted by LobsterMitten at 8:29 PM on April 12, 2010


And then followed it up with i'd argue that there is substantive difference between an ADA violation and calling somebody a stewardess. under the law I'm right..

This post is not about an ADA violation. Under the law, angrycat is not factually correct in calling out matty for insensitive comments. We cannot prosecute matty for any crimes, nor would we probably want to, since they apologized quickly both in original post and here.
posted by politikitty at 8:39 PM on April 12, 2010


woah shit i thought we were all friendly now
time to go smoke that ganja
posted by angrycat at 8:42 PM on April 12, 2010


polikitty, i also "wield a vagina" as you put it so -- i don't know if that makes you feel differently about the sitch
posted by angrycat at 8:43 PM on April 12, 2010 [1 favorite]


Be one with your organ, don't have some kind of arm's length power projection relationship with it.
posted by Burhanistan at 8:58 PM on April 12, 2010


huh?
i know it's possible for a woman to be sexist but -- isn't it more unlikely?
posted by angrycat at 9:03 PM on April 12, 2010


Are you implying that women are some sort of undifferentiated, homogeneous blob of non-sexism?
posted by UbuRoivas at 9:28 PM on April 12, 2010


NOT to be confused with welding a vagina. PLEASE nobody weld your vagina. Soldering is a similarly bad idea.
posted by greekphilosophy at 9:30 PM on April 12, 2010 [1 favorite]


Be the balls.
posted by Burhanistan at 9:50 PM on April 12, 2010


go nuts.
posted by UbuRoivas at 9:51 PM on April 12, 2010


Are you implying that women are some sort of undifferentiated, homogeneous blob of non-sexism?

i guess i'm just befuddled by the sexism charge, as i've never been accused of it before. I obviously speak my mind, am stupidly overeducated, completely independent, thanks to SSD and Medicare and my job. I wholeheartedly support women's rights causes.

Of course, some women are sexist -- e.g. Phyllis Schafly.

I think politicat's argument, which I didn't really understand before, is that because I used a sexist term my "sins" are as great as those who articulated questionable attitudes in the FPP.

I question that. I'm arguing that there seems to be positions made by some in the FPP and in this one (which gave us "Get over it") that, given my personal experiences, are troublesome. I'm particularly attuned to the woman's situation (i.e. I'm alone, I'm in a wheelchair). It seemed that several people lack some of the big red buttons I have because of my experiences. I don't think those red buttons are bad things, unless you go berserk when they're pushed (as I did for a while there) Those big red buttons involve sympathy, and they're important.

On the other hand, I use the term "stewardess." I did perhaps because a) I fly rarely, for reasons that are obvious and b) It's a term my mother uses. I am 90% positive this doesn't make me sexist, as I can't discern sexist attitudes in myself. I could be deluded, but I don't think I am.

At any rate, I don't think the two are equivalent.

Also: Part of the reason I made this post is that I didn't want the FPP thread to be all angry cat and her angry axe to grind. My apologies if this is a bad justification to post.
posted by angrycat at 10:16 PM on April 12, 2010 [3 favorites]


I posted this in the original thread, but, it needs to be here as well: "
As for those saying it is against policy, read the policy please: "Once passengers are onboard the aircraft, our flight attendants can help with stowing and retrieving carry-on item"


If flight attendants aren't allowed to pick up bags, why does United's policy state the above?

Are they allowed to move them to a non overhead spot? What do they do when they determine a bag should be checked? Don't they pick them up to get them off the airplane?
posted by SuzySmith at 10:18 PM on April 12, 2010 [2 favorites]


oh angrycat, she came into MeTa all pissed off but then we had an itneresting discussion about disability law and I learned some stuff
posted by Kwine at 10:21 PM on April 12, 2010


I think this Treme thing is going to be a good ride.
posted by Burhanistan at 10:26 PM on April 12, 2010 [1 favorite]


One time on an Alaska Airlines flight I was safely in my window seat knowing I had to only share one elbow rest and that I had all of the outside to my left. I had booked a window seat as soon as I knew I was going to be flying. I'm broad-shouldered if short-legged and I hate violating the personal space of a stranger. Hell, I worry about turning over in bed lest it wake my wife. I was nicely asked by the flight staff if I could vacate my seat so that a mother and her perhaps 5 year old child could sit together. I wish everyone else would please plan ahead. I said OK though and was summarily punished with a middle seat which even on a 4 hour flight I can't handle.
To get some space I went to the back of the plane by the bathrooms and the cart where the flight staff hangs out. I spent the next 3 hours drinking free Bloody Mary's and having a blast hanging out and BSing with the Stewardudes.

OP: angrycat, I estimate that pretty much anyone here would have offered to help Rachel D. or would have at least thought twice about it if they hadn't. I don't like my shortcomings and needing help is difficult if not outright embarassing. Being brave enough to ask for help is a representation of strength, not weakness. And you find the best people that way.


Yeah, I said Stewardudes.
posted by vapidave at 11:02 PM on April 12, 2010


"This post is not about an ADA violation. Under the law, angrycat is not factually correct in calling out matty for insensitive comments. We cannot prosecute matty for any crimes, nor would we probably want to, since they apologized quickly both in original post and here."

Seriously? I mean, look, you kept arguing about the ADA violation, which meant that you cared about it. You were on about whether people had a right to carry-on luggage. (And the answer is no, but if you provide some people with the space for it, you can't discriminate against others because they're women, black, atheists or disabled.) To decide that the topic is really just Angrycat and Matty, and that because someone said "stewardess," that invalidates their other arguments, well, it makes you come across as someone who's a sore loser about this argument, not someone who is legitimately concerned about gendered language.

So maybe calm down, realize you learned something about the ADA and flying, and try to disengage with the arguing, because it's making you read like a jerk and someone who can't argue in good faith.
posted by klangklangston at 11:05 PM on April 12, 2010 [1 favorite]


It may be an overly broad brush, but it seems like people first language is predominately an American thing, with Canadian and Europeans communities taking exception to it.

I can't speak to the European thing, but people-first seems to be pretty well established in Canada at least according to my wife, who is working towards being an ASL interpreter and currently does the ILM gig lleachie mentions.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 11:20 PM on April 12, 2010


After spending a summer pushing around my friend in her wheelchair (she was the passenger in my car accident and her leg broke in 2 places), I got a small glimpse into the world of the wheelchair user. I see the world of disability in a much different way now. It was hard at the beginning of the summer; got easier near the end when I'd learned how to quickly and easily fold her wheelchair and get it in or out of the car, and yet it was still tiring. (I, of course, was still recovering from my injuries as well.) I learned that wheelchair-accessible does NOT mean wheelchair-friendly after she got stuck in a bathroom that had a "handicapped stall" but not enough room to get out because the main door opened inwards. I finally managed to maneuver her out. If she'd been alone, I don't know what she'd have done. Call 411 for the restaurant's number, dial the restaurant, and ask for help?

I was also astounded by how many people didn't offer to help when they saw me struggling to get her through a doorway. Oh sure, many people *did* hold the door for us, just as I'd do for someone with a wheelchair or even a stroller. But there were others who would sit in a waiting room and just pretend like we weren't even there, even as I grunted and strained to try to drag her over the hump in the doorway while keeping the door from slamming on her leg. Sure there's the whole independence thing, but for heaven's sake, sometimes you just need help, and neither she nor I would have been offended if someone had offered. We'd have been grateful, actually.

That said, the world of disability still mind-boggles me. For example, I didn't know that some people are offended by "wheelchair-bound" and prefer to be called wheelchair users. It never crossed my mind that it could be offensive.

So, if I have offended, I apologize; I am still learning (as I think we all are, by your deaf comment). But at least I'm more aware now than I used to be.
posted by IndigoRain at 11:22 PM on April 12, 2010


Could those comment posters have been nicer...yes. Could the person in the wheelchair have alerted the airline of her wheelchair earlier to make everyone's life easier...yes.

Am I a jerk? Yes.

Am I a jerk for posting this? No.
posted by hal_c_on at 11:32 PM on April 12, 2010


I think politicat's argument, which I didn't really understand before, is that because I used a sexist term my "sins" are as great as those who articulated questionable attitudes in the FPP.

Actually, I still don't understand it. Maybe it's my tone-deafness speaking (huh?) but just because the working conditions historically attached to "stewardesses" were sexist & overturned under civil rights law, we must now use a different term?

If you follow that kind of thinking to its logical conclusion, we shouldn't use terms like "woman" or "wife" anymore, because in the past they were (more) loaded with sexist baggage.
posted by UbuRoivas at 12:37 AM on April 13, 2010 [1 favorite]


"people who are white", rather than "white people",

I've been around white people all my life and none of them have ever said they want to be referred to as 'people who are white'. The embarrassment.
posted by biffa at 1:32 AM on April 13, 2010


On the NE corner of the intersection of 43rd and Sunnyside in 1981 there was an older lady that used to work in her yard which was simple and not old lady precious. She would get out and dig a bit in the springtime when it counted. I think he had died some time ago. Old women do better when their men die than old men do when their women die, or they at least have more opportunity to find out. Her yellow brick ranch house was on a small corner lot and it sat defended by juniper with some tulips and daffodils along the concrete stairway. She didn't mind talking to sullen teenagers as they passed by and now kept time with a turtle. It took the turtle about 25 minutes to go from the south end of the yard to the north end of the yard. When he arrived at the north end she would push herself to her feet, walk to the north end and pick him up and replace him at the southern end of the yard. They would repeat this until she got tired of digging then they would go inside.
posted by vapidave at 1:33 AM on April 13, 2010 [3 favorites]


Ubu, that line of reasoning has already been followed all the way to 'womyn'.
posted by jacalata at 1:45 AM on April 13, 2010


My deaf co-worker has told me to be offended about the often used phrase 'fall on deaf ears', especially in media. The thinking there goes that there deafness is associated with volitional ignorance. The same problem is there when 'tone deaf' is used as metaphorically to imply that someone doesn't want to get the subtext. '{x} deaf' = volitionally ignorant about x. And that doesn't fly well with (some) deaf people.
posted by Free word order! at 2:49 AM on April 13, 2010 [1 favorite]


The reason now that the person that delivers the paper to your porch can't seem to get it to your porch is because they don't have to come collecting. You went to the house you delivered the paper to asking for the $4.50 owed and if you were fucking up by not getting the paper on the porch you wouldn't get the .50 tip. Collecting near to Halloween was great though because they pretty much had to give you candy.
posted by vapidave at 4:27 AM on April 13, 2010


...it's making you read like a jerk and someone who can't argue in good faith.

I can't follow this thread. Would someone please memail who the jerks and the non-jerks are.
posted by StickyCarpet at 4:31 AM on April 13, 2010


In the spirit of Firesign Theater "We're all Jerks on this bus."
posted by HuronBob at 4:57 AM on April 13, 2010 [2 favorites]


I'm temporarily out of random anecdotes so I'm going to go all Leon Russell. Warned; Hippie Pic

I'm up on the tightwire
one side's ice and one is fire
its a circus game with you and me
I'm up on the tightrope
one side's hate and one is hope
but the tophat on my head is all you see
And the wire seems to be
the only place for me
a comedy of errors
and I'm falling

**Chorus**
Like a rubber-neck giraffe
you look into my past
well maybe you're just to blind to - see
I'm up in the spotlight
ohh does it feel right
ohh the altitude
seems to get to me

I'm up on the tightwire
flanked by life and the funeral pyre
putting on a show
for you to see

**Chorus**
Like a rubber-neck giraffe
you look into my past
well maybe you're just too blind to - see
I'm up in the spotlight
ohh does it feel right
ohh the altitude
really gets to get to me

I'm up on the tightwire
flanked by life and the funeral pyre
putting on a show for you to see

posted by vapidave at 5:32 AM on April 13, 2010


As someone with a mental illness, I absolutely hate that phrasing "people who are mentally ill" and would much prefer to be referred to as "a mentally ill person" or just "mentally ill"

that's crazy talk.
posted by jonmc at 6:08 AM on April 13, 2010 [1 favorite]


No, that's my brother: Crazy Talk. We're all a little worried about him.
posted by Astro Zombie at 7:34 AM on April 13, 2010 [1 favorite]


Now the blind can also enjoy porn.

Didn't click on the link but the description reminded me of an odd sight I saw a few months ago. I live across the street from a strip club. (CLASSY.) On my way home one day, I saw a man exiting the club (at around 5PM) with assistance from one of the bouncers. He was wearing dark glasses - not the kind of sunglasses that you wear for fashion, but the ones that wrap around like blinders for people who are really truly photosensitive. He was also using one of those canes - the white ones - that blind people use. Very, very clearly the man was 100% blind. The bouncer was helping into the passenger seat of a car and it was really obvious that the man didn't have ANY vision.

Made me wonder if they had special braille strippers for him.

I'm sure he was there hanging out with friends or talking to ladies or whatever. I hope he was having a rockin' time, but it was a pretty incongruous thing to see: blind dude exits strip club.
posted by grapefruitmoon at 7:44 AM on April 13, 2010


Two words:

Lap. Dance.
posted by jonmc at 8:09 AM on April 13, 2010


Ah, yes.

(It's pretty obvious that I myself have not frequented that or any other strip club because my own disability keeps me away from flashing lights. And flashy ladies.)
posted by grapefruitmoon at 8:12 AM on April 13, 2010


Here are those links to 1980s "first time humping" videos you requested:
Your mission now, should you chose to accept it: smoke a small bowl (don't get too carried away, you are old now), and recall your first time fumbling under the blankets - didn't that first boob/vagina/wiener feel so strange?

But SO EXCELLENT, finally you WON! ding ding ding we have a winner!!!

Remember that feeling, being timeless and immortal. So stupid and yet so invincible. Reflect on it - take a few moments now, with your eyes closed, to recall that time. We'll wait 'til you get back - be there again, with my compliments. Remember that I love you, unconditionally. And please don't forget to set your alarm, you have work in the morning.posted by Meatbomb at 8:58 AM on April 13, 2010 [8 favorites]


Meatbomb is using some kind of coordinate remote viewing ESP ability to tune into everyone's first sexual experience. Think of something else! (Unless you're ok with him remote viewing you, that is.)
posted by Burhanistan at 9:02 AM on April 13, 2010


I trust meatbomb unconditionally with my psyche.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 9:06 AM on April 13, 2010


Been There.
posted by vapidave at 9:07 AM on April 13, 2010


My deaf co-worker has told me to be offended about the often used phrase 'fall on deaf ears', especially in media. The thinking there goes that there deafness is associated with volitional ignorance.

In his/her own way, your co-worker is just as bad as the John Ashcrofts of the world who go around covering up the naughty bits of statues because, where others see a tribute to the beauty of the human body, they see only lascivious intent. (Or, if you prefer, the PTA busybodies who lobby to remove books like Huckleberry Finn and Ralph Ellison's Invisible Man from school reading lists because of their excessive use of the N-word.) Surely, they claim, the artist could make his same point without having to resort to the use of "filthy" imagery and "obscene" language (or, in your co-worker's case, the speaker could make his point without using "loaded" metaphors), little realizing (or caring) that, by removing its impurities, they are actually destroying the art. (And what is metaphor, if not artistry in rhetoric?)
posted by Atom Eyes at 9:08 AM on April 13, 2010


Christ, Meatbomb. I haven't even smoked that bowl (I'm workin' here!) and yet I have still time-traveled thanks to your links. Thanks. I think.
posted by rtha at 9:34 AM on April 13, 2010


I've been around white people all my life and none of them have ever said they want to be referred to as 'people who are white'.

Because you never asked...THAT'S WHAT HURTS THE MOST.
posted by infinitywaltz at 10:48 AM on April 13, 2010 [4 favorites]


I saw a man exiting the club (at around 5PM) with assistance from one of the bouncers.

This doesn't usually mean what you described. I was all indignant when I got to the part about the cane and the wrap-around dark glasses, until it became clear that the bouncers were actually assisting him.
posted by palliser at 12:53 PM on April 13, 2010


It's hyperbole to say "sensitivity training" as a turn of phrase = "re-education camps where people are forcibly brain-planted, and surgeried... and such and such... come on. Let's not play that game.
When the hyperbole game is played by people "opposing PC"... we all lose.
Think about a "PC" position as having nuance... give the benefit of the doubt that it is not simply there as a plan to destroy all of Mankinds ultimate Culture and art.

It's the game where people get angry that someone with experience living their everyday life at the margins of where the majority of people know ton about (the life experiences, and feelings of someone facing a disability), and shares the pain/troubles/hardships/difficulty/joys/angers of the situation, and people get mad at how the message was sent. When you attack "all things PC" you aren't fighting the man, or the power, when you fight Common Decency (or PC run amokz, as some seem to like to term it), you are saying experiences don't matter... that perception is unimportant, and that opinions are as valid as lived life, and the million tiny granular moments that add up to FRUSTRATION. It's also slightly disingenuous as well, because it makes people spending 30 seconds listening to what this story is... get to pretend that they are victims of "Big PC." the cartel of people who ruin EVERYTHING THAT USED TO BE GOOD.

It DOESN'T hurt to LEARN the perspective of someone who has had LIFE EXPERIENCE as a DIFFERENT PERSON. even if their experiences have left them angry!

^This is sensitivity training... see, your brain didn't have to be cut out, and you didn't have to be forced to listen to Ludwig Van.... No one held your eyeballs open and forced you to watch a movie showing the day to day life of this woman, who doesn't complain for a living, but rather complained when she was not treated as expected.

Have you ever worked at a call center? yeah, they get "complaint calls" every day... do we say how "BLOOMIN' WHINEY and COMPLAINY ALL "NORML" PEOPLE ARE" AMIRITE? - No.
It is as simple as being OPEN and not aggressive to people who have experience in being excluded/pushed aside/misunderstood/ignored etc,.

also; seriously, the "...she is an angry person all around, I don't care that she has disabilities... she's just so angry with her DEMANDING something something... I Can't listen to her...." argument... that's... wrong.

yeah, the reason I think this track is wrong, is that we didn't get a post-facto KNOWLEDGE of the thinking process of all the other passengers did we... so don't attack her for sharing, and being upset... because I bet there would be some asinine stuff coming out if we had a "journal" from all the passengers, and the flight attendant too... if we had all their opinions, thoughts, desires, feelings... I am sure we could just as surely pull out how much we dislike what THEY were thinking about.


This is an information availability bias in this equation... we know that this Person is expressing how this situation bothered her... but we have none of the PETTY, inane, mundane/vital/important things that everyone else on the flight was complaining about.


For who think it is the word police who broke up the fun times being had over at Stewardess...

"stewardesses"- it's a word that means like "little stewards"... partial stewards... like "Star"... vs... "starlette"... I mean... a star is bright... a starlette...that's weak, less than, a "pale shadow of a real star"... etc,.
So yeah... words... STILL have weight.
Here, this scientist in the physical sciences field at a large research university talks about why "academic starette" truly bugs her...
Someone told me today that I am an "academic starette". I don't even know how to spell that. I suppose it could be starrette (?). I suppose I am being ungrateful, oversensitive, and overanalytical, but what does that mean? Is that one of those 'you're a good female scientist' kinds of comments? Memo to those who wonder why I 'spin' everything to be about gender: I am constantly reminded that I am a 'female scientist' and not a regular scientist like all the men.


tl;dr- no need to be sorry for looking out for the quality of life, and ensuring the access to equal rights, and compassionate treatment of fellow People Angrycat. Good purpose, and many of us learned new information about human people in the process.

Wait... did someone just call CNN art... because they use the phrase "fall's on deaf ears" way too often?
CNN, art it aint... slowly changing by pointing out crappy words, slowly shifting what goes into NEW words/ideas/thoughts/writing/pop culture... that is different from teaching about OLD art/books/words/culture...

different. different.

The co-worker who raised that point is pretty right... that phrase does seem to connote a "willful ignorance"/"deaf" mashup- this is pretty crappy... we ought to consider that.
Those books you like us reading... they were specific to a time... so, no, I don't think trying to help people not have to live lives DODGING OUR POOR PHRASING OF EVERYTHING, or in other words, thinking about how our words impact the people who must be bombarded with our words is WHY THOSE WORDS ARE NOW OUT OF POPULAR USE (and we glance askance at people dropping N-Bombs "for lulz" or "ironically" in modern situations... to me, I take someone doing that as akin to picking a fight.
Those words that were used to keep a specific group of people from having equal access to the things of society. Words like "separate but 'equal'" and "jim crowe" or "vote tests", or "racial purity"... "miscegenation"

Yeah, I don't know who is "banning" the books, that doesn't make sense... but surely the premise of working to actively attempt to clean up the mess pile which is the awkward impreciseness of these English words, as our language and culture evolve alongside each other... Especially with words that allow us to lump people into huge categories that don't fit who they are as human people at all.

I guess I want to be pretty clear that don't want to burn the books or support banning them... and agree that there are valuable lessons in MANY things that have "hard" subjects, phrasings and such; but you better teach it well/give context, explanation... rather than just HERE, ITS THE N WORD... ITS ART ... EAT IT.
I don't see you saying that Atom Eyes, many do however.
P/C does not mean what I think a lot of people get to spin it to "mean".

Re; blind person @ bus-stop/ "can I help you find what you are looking for"/forhead slap 20 minutes later...

visually impaired people can see irony too you know :)
posted by infinite intimation at 4:51 PM on April 13, 2010 [1 favorite]


from SuzySmith's link

Flight attendants may also provide assistance with taking oral medication, identifying food items on meal trays and opening packages.

I wonder if they provide this service to everyone. From the few flights I have been on, they should. Is this food?

/J.seinfeld airline food joke.
posted by infinite intimation at 5:08 PM on April 13, 2010


^This is sensitivity training...

No, this is a conversation. A very fine one that is welcomed, I might add.

"Sensitivity training" when used in the common construction "You need some sensitivity training" or "Everyone in the office will receive sensitivity training" is something that is imposed upon you.

That's why they call it training, and not, say, a talk or a presentation, etc. Hell, call it a seminar. I can walk out of a seminar. I can choose not to engage in a conversation. But training? Training has a goal -- someone or something that is trained.

"You need sensitivity training" = "You need to have a new attitude forcibly put inside of you, because you can't / won't adopt it on your own."

Where this goes particularly wrong is the often associated view that one must be trained to display a particular desirable behavior, or rather re-trained to remove an undesirable behavior and replace it with some other; and that lacking such training, you represent some kind of existential threat to society in general. "How dare you! How will we ever achieve happiness if you're still using proscribed terms?"

People with bad attitudes are not snippets of faulty software that need to be uninstalled or patched.

People need to be talked to as individuals.

Or hugged, if you're into that sort of thing.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 5:38 PM on April 13, 2010 [3 favorites]


"stewardesses"- it's a word that means like "little stewards"... partial stewards... like "Star"... vs... "starlette"... I mean... a star is bright... a starlette...that's weak, less than, a "pale shadow of a real star"... etc,.

Do you have a cite for that? I always understood that it was the feminine form of the word steward, formed similarly to actor/actress (actoress).

My understanding was also that the men who served that role on flights back in the day were called "air stewards" and that the problem was the feminization of air service positions, together with the exploitation of women both in terms of pay and working conditions (e.g., "coffee, tea, or me?"). Flight attendant is a unisex term, and my inner feminist certainly prefers unisex language, but referring to a female flight attendant as a stewardess isn't in and of itself a hanging offense.
posted by immlass at 5:40 PM on April 13, 2010


HOLY SHIT, if sensitivity training requires that hideously irritating mixture of html tags then I might just have to DECLINE.
posted by jacalata at 7:02 PM on April 13, 2010 [1 favorite]


OFF TO THE FOUR DIMENSIONS IN SIMULTANEOUS ROTATION LABOUR CAMP FOR YOU!!!
posted by UbuRoivas at 7:58 PM on April 13, 2010


er, no, not in and of itself... no "sensitivity" ought to be trained by force or violence... only via ugly html/formatting skills... and I had no problem when the op used it... I was replying essentially to this...
Actually, I still don't understand it. Maybe it's my tone-deafness speaking (huh?) but just because the working conditions historically attached to "stewardesses" were sexist & overturned under civil rights law, we must now use a different term?
It's the pejorative language... not the working conditions that caused people to choose to rename themselves. Their profession, career, and signifier.


Young Female movie actors are actors.
Not Starlettes.
But that word usage, of "adding ette, or ess"... does that not seem like a pejorative?
It totally seems to be doing a "wink wink"... these Star"ettes" are not FULL on "stars" to me, and in something like science... I think that the quote from the scientist was pretty accurate.
posted by infinite intimation at 8:02 PM on April 13, 2010


But that word usage, of "adding ette, or ess"... does that not seem like a pejorative?

"-Ette" is a feminine suffix that's also used as a diminutive. "-Ess" is not a diminute suffix, it's a feminine suffix. The former is condescending and patronizing in many uses, but not pejorative. The latter is neither in and of itself, although it's problematic in many use cases, unless, of course, you're arguing that under any condition anywhere it's always pejorative to describe something as female.

I think that the quote from the scientist was pretty accurate.

Yes .... except that the scientist is talking about getting called out in a high-status profession as not belonging because she's not a (default) male. "Stewardess" is problematic in a completely different context. It's an archaic term for female flight attendants that's deprecated for a number of social and professional reasons, but it's not inherently an insult.

If you're going to be the "word police" on this one, you'd better bone up on the laws first.
posted by immlass at 8:25 PM on April 13, 2010


Ugly formatting is the only way the re-education PC socialist, facist agenda can stick with people though; and make you not notice the subliminal blink tags that I added... I think that is what disturbs you so much about this particular re-ed camp... it's probably the blink tags.

lol, no, I think you missed the part where I said I don't care what words you use, and that was pretty simply my take on how those "gendered" job names operated in real life... I am NOT your word police... I was saying that so often anti-pc opinions involve some form of calling someone a "word police"... but eh....


For who think it is the word police who broke up the fun times being had over at Stewardess...

"stewardesses"- it's a word that means like "little stewards"... partial stewards... like "Star"... vs... "starlette"... I mean... a star is bright... a starlette...that's weak, less than, a "pale shadow of a real star"... etc,.
So yeah... words... STILL have weight.



It's the adding of a faux french air that bugs me... trying to act like it was just our cultures version of "le"&"la"... when it really was vastly different in how the "english gendering" came to be;

When really it holds a whole mess of "power relations" of the eras when these jobs began, all tied up in how these "feminized" versions of words came to be... they were called stewardESSES because they were not stewards, they made less, they were not given the same benefits as men...
So, um, yes, I am glad that we are past that kind of garbage inequality, and yes, I reacted with a little bit of surprise at UbuRoivas response to the word "stewardesses" seemed a lot like "why do we have to LEARN NEW WORDS... which I disagree with, I think it isn't that hard to learn new words.
posted by infinite intimation at 8:37 PM on April 13, 2010


they were called stewardESSES because they were not stewards

Wasn't the head steward called a "purser"?
posted by UbuRoivas at 9:50 PM on April 13, 2010


UbuRoivas wrote: "Wasn't the head steward called a "purser"?"

Still is, on my airline of choice, although the purser is often female.
posted by wierdo at 10:47 PM on April 13, 2010


Here's a fine example of gender-neutral language: Spanish airline attendants pose nude for a protest calendar.
posted by UbuRoivas at 12:30 AM on April 14, 2010


Politikitty, from one of the links from that page: " Airlines are required to provide assis tance with boarding, deplaning and making connections. Assistance within the cabin is also required, but not extensive personal services." This is vague enough, as many regulations are until they hit real life, that it would seem to imply help with boarding with a normal small carry-on bag to some, but not to others. I would consider helping a disabled person put a small carry-on in the rack "assistance with boarding", and am curious why the airline did not

This is where lawsuits come in -- when the law (and its resulting regulations) are (and it's almost inevitable) open to interpretation. Courts are where these things are clarified.
posted by lleachie at 9:04 PM on April 22, 2010


I can't speak to the European thing, but people-first seems to be pretty well established in Canada.

Here in Britain, people-first language is strongly discouraged as un-PC and thought I'd take a moment to explain why.

The full reasoning behind the language is part of a much bigger discussion that's too sprawling and complicated to distill here*, but basically the issue is not so much about word order as parts of speech.

When you say 'person with a disability', 'disability' is a noun. It's something that the person has. It says the disability is something they carry around with them and take out of their pocket at inconvenient times so companies have to make special accommodations.

When you say 'disabled person', 'disabled' is a verb. It's something that is actively being done to that person by the wider world. It says the problem isn't their medical issues, the problem is shitty building design, or a website's lack of alt tags or unhelpful staff.

The model we're taught to use here says that unless you're a person's doctor, you should forget about specific illnesses and impairments altogether. Instead you just ask what everybody's access requirements are. After all, you don't need to know that a customer has Spina Bifida; you do need to know they require a cushion before they can use the seats in your building. You don't need to know why that dude's in a wheelchair; you do need to know that there are clearly signposted ramps available. You don't need to know whether that woman considers herself Deaf, deaf, deafened or hard of hearing; you do need to know if she prefers a hearing aid induction loop or a sign language interpreter.

When it works, I think this system of thought is a good one. It encourages businesses and employees to feel a sense of personal responsibility for accommodating disabled people. Asking every customer 'do you have any access requriements' makes life that little bit easier on people with "invisible disabilities" or embarrassing conditions or the newly disabled.

The logic behind people-first is 'They have a physical problem, sure, but let's move beyond that and realise that people with disabilities are still people.'

The logic behind people-last is 'People with disabilities are still people, sure, but let's move beyond that and realise that there are massive injustices taking place in which we are all somewhat complicit and which we can actively work to reverse.'



*Although anybody wanting to educate themself on the subjectshould google some combination of the terms "social model", "medical model" and "disability" as a handy starting point.
posted by the latin mouse at 12:54 AM on April 27, 2010 [10 favorites]


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