People First Language is a movement that encourages people to acknowledge people before their disabilities. A disability is a diagnosis – it isn’t the defining factor of a person. Above all, people with disabilities are people.
I’ve had the phenomenal opportunity to interact with several special education classes this week, and they are some of the most amazing people. I have been so touched by them. They are hilarious, intelligent, kind, and loving (among so many other things). They are people. They are very special people – they understand the people first ideology better than anyone I know. They don’t see that each of them has a different disability. They see friends and people to care about. They are able to rise above the judgement we so often see in people (read: I so often see in myself).
While this is a very important thing for people with disabilities, why does it need to stop there? This should be a given for any and all people – no matter their race, gender, religion, or physical and mental capabilities. We are all people.
If we are able to treat each other with this grace (the same beautiful grace God extends to us when he sees us as his children, instead of as sinners), the world is so much better. We will be able to see similarities instead of differences. We will be able to see harmony instead of discord. We will be able to see love.
The defining factor of people is just that. People are people.