Haben Girma Discusses Ableist Language

Haben Girma (’13), Global Accessibility Leader, was quoted in a New York Times guest essay on why it’s important to ask the question, “Is that ableist?” in dismantling biases and discrimination against disabled people (“‘Is That Ableist?’ Good Question.” July 16). In a conversation touching on etymology as well as contemporary usage, Haben noted “it’s good to ask the question” on whether certain terms are related to disability or denigrate people with disabilities. The author, M. Leona Godin, concluded, “We know it’s healthy to keep our bodies flexible as we age, but I think sometimes we forget how important it is to keep our minds flexible. If we don’t recognize that language and attitudes constantly evolve, we might rightly be accused of a stubborn conservatism that clings to our own radical youth, as if ours were the only generation capable of making progress.”