Reclaimed Words

A Black man wearing a blue button-down shirt signs "help" in American Sign Language. He is smiling and appears to be in a business setting.

Reclaiming words is about power. When we “own” words used to insult, we take away the power others have when they use those words against us.

The word, “crip,” short for cripple, is an example of a reclaimed word. An essay by Andrew D. Pulrang, creator of the #CripTheVote hashtag, points out that the use of the word, crip, is selective – meaning that it is not used all the time.

To be successful, reclaimed words must be used thoughtfully. In a second essay that was published in Forbes, Pulrang shares how casual use of disability words can be harmful.

It is also important to remember that people who do not share in a particular disability should never use reclaimed words.

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