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Ableist Word Profile: Crazy (to describe political viewpoints or positions)

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8 responses to “Ableist Word Profile: Crazy (to describe political viewpoints or positions)”

  1. Katie

    Excellent post. I’m actually sitting in a class where Kucinich was just characterized as “crazy,” so this feels hugely relevant.
    Just one note: Rand actually won the primary in Kentucky, not Virginia.

  2. abby jean

    oh how embarrassing. :( thanks for the correction. I’m on the road so can’t add the edit to the post, but will do so asap.

    mutters about the clear dangers of ranting without adequate fact checking.

  3. kaninchenzero

    I got it.
    .-= kaninchenzero´s last blog ..ow, continued =-.

  4. IrrationalPoint

    Thanks for this. I’ve found the Ableist Word Profile series really interesting, and this is definitely one I’ve been thinking about a lot.

    –IP

  5. lilacsigil

    Thank you so much for posting this! Even before I understood how ablist “crazy” was, I’d already stopped using it for exactly this reason – it’s designed to shut down discussion and cover up histories of oppression and privilege. A racist putting their ideology into action is not “crazy”, it’s racist.

  6. caremcgee

    I too feel a personal connection when the word “crazy” is used, having lived with mental illness myself, but I hadn’t thought about its use in a political context. I find it kind of pathetic that media outlets are employing such labelling instead of discussing the actual issues at hand, as you wrote. It seems like news outlets are using that type of thing more and more these days (or maybe it’s just that I’ve noticed it a lot more). Anyways, thanks! It was interesting.
    It reminded me of a blog post I read:
    http://godstolemyboyfriend.blogspot.com/2010/04/we-dont-say-crazy-in-this-house.html

  7. Mirca

    I’m finding this series really interesting as someone who is trying to broaden her horizons to fighting all oppressions, not just the ones that are screwing me over. As a part of that, I’m trying to work on my language — I’ve got the r-word out, but there are definitely some other ableist words that I need to replace, “crazy” being one of them.

    I’ve used it for myself as a shorthand for some of the problems I was having after my experiences with sexual assault — me reacting to triggers was “being a crazyperson,” which was okay coming from me, but I would have hit anyone else who called it that.

    But more often I use it like you mention in this post, as a descriptor of someone’s viewpoint, often when said viewpoint is at odds with scientific evidence. Anti-vaxxers. “The moon landing was a hoax” people. Is there a less ableist word for a viewpoint totally lacking in any rational basis that causes harm to others? (and wow, when I write it out that way, what kind of a fucked up word is “crazy” for that?)

  8. Francesca

    Thank you for this. I have been talking about this a lot for a while. A lot of people thunk I’m making a big deal out of it. I’m bipolar too and crazy has been used as a way to dismiss me often enough that I dislike the word.


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