The word “euphemism” is defined as: the substitution of a mild, indirect, or vague expression, for one thought to be offensive, harsh, or blunt.
Our modern language is becoming clogged with ways to say unpleasant things nicely.
It seems like a good idea, until you realize the much more sinister purpose of the euphemism: to cover prejudiced feelings about a person, condition or situation, with nicer-sounding words.
If the words give us a warm, fuzzy feeling, then perhaps the individual or situation will be less disagreeable and possibly, accepted.
It sounds good, until the euphemism begins to be used as an insult : "What are you in Special Ed?, You rock! like an autistic kid." Then a new euphemism must be quickly assigned.
In the community of those with disabilities, "person-first" language is now the appropriate means of address; the politically correct euphemism of the present day.
People who were once called blind are now, “persons with visual impairment”. Those once called epileptic are now called, “persons with epilepsy.”
The purpose is to separate the person from the condition. To tell the world that the condition is not who they are, but just something negative that they must live with.
In the autistic community, this notion is being challenged.
Many don’t mind being called "autistic" as they feel that autism is not something bad that needs to be eradicated.
They resent hearing about the need for a cure, and cringe when someone calls autism a plague.
Those with Asperger’s syndrome, have begun to refer to themselves as “Aspie”. It eliminates the wordy, “persons with Asperger’s syndrome,” and the inevitable teasing brought on by the word, “Asperger”.
Autistic people are usually fine with being called autistic or some have even used “autie.”
Non-autistic people have been labeled, “neurotypical,” or “NT.”
If more non-autistic people had heard the term “neurotypical,” they, themselves, might demand a fresh euphemism as it has come to mean, for some in the autistic community: a person who is unimaginative, mean, overly-personal and way too chatty.
Perhaps the time will come when we will stop creating new euphemisms and start accepting all people as they are.
As Shakespeare’s Juliet declared, “What’s in a name? That which we call a rose, by any other name would smell as sweet.”
Few gardeners would pull up a bed of beautiful roses just because they are “flowers with thorns.”
Perhaps it's time to stop renaming and start accepting.