Reclaiming 'Autistic?'  
 

What does it mean to "reclaim" a word? 

 

"When members of a group "reclaim" a word, they take a term that was previously used against them as a slur, and give it a positive meaning, within that particular group, as an expression of solidarity and pride in one's identity.  Some members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) communities, for example, have reclaimed the term "queer," a longtime degrading term for LGBT peoples.  Similarly, some disability cultural groups have reclaimed negative terms like "crip" (Linton, 1998).  However, in some cases, reclaimed terms may be very context-dependent, continuing to retain their original, negative connotations outside of the communities that seek to reclaim them.  While it may be appropriate for someone who is a member of a group to use a term in a reclaimed way due to having the personal experiences that allow them to understand when, why, and how to use such a term (and the implications of using it the wrong way), it may not be appropriate for someone outside of the group to do so."- Syracuse University Disability Cultural Center

 

Can 'Autistic' be reclaimed? 


'Autistic', 'On the spectrum', 'Asperger's' etc. are the correct medical labels

in wide use today. Though these words can be used with the intent to insult or imply a negative meaning or slur, they are primarily the correct terms to describe an autistic person.  In short - we already own them. 
When we try to disown our label we are giving others the power to use it against us but if we continue to proudly claim it as our own and refuse to allow autism to be seen as negative, the word will not be given the power

to offend us. 

 

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© Identity-First Autistic 2016                                                                                                                                                                identityfirstautistic@gmail.com

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