DisLabeled?

So what’s with this DisLabeled word? Several years ago, I was helping to re-write a resouce manual related to disability issues, and I kept staring at the word “disabled”. The letters started to look jumbled and danced around on the computer screen in front of me. As seems to happen when you repeat a word over and over, it lost any hint of meaning. It was a series of letters, strung together, that represent something. But what? It’s a word that is merely a label, and a label that could be innocent or limiting depending on who is using it and how. So I type DisLabeled on the page, and thought it to be pretty fitting. And the interesting thing, is that it has been. Some people see the word and assume it is a spelling error. Others do a double take and ponder. It’s even been used as part of a course title at the Univeristy of Kentucky, in which first year students from a variety of majors come together to consider the implications of disability in our society. And haven’t we all been DisLabeled at one time or another?

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