Some people with disabilities call themselves “crips.” “Crip” used to be a mean word for disabledThe label “disabled” means so much to me. It means I have community. It means I have rights. It means I can be proud. It means I can affirm myself… More. It is short for “cripple.” But some disabled people call themselves “crips” on purposeSelf-determination Theory (SDT) is… — a model, a macro theory, of human motivation. It’s one of several models of human motivation, but it’s one that has been confirmed over and… More. The word “crip” belongs to disabled people now.Disability Visibility anthology (Plain language summary) – Disability Visibility Project
- Selective use of “crip” or “crippled” by people with disabilities is a conscious act of empowerment through “reclaiming” a former slur as a badge of pride. “Selected use” means we don’t use it all the time, in every situation. We exercise judgment in when and where it’s appropriate to use.
- “Crip” and “cripple” are also used ironically, to convey a bit of edginess, humor, and confidence, from a communityWhat I have always been hoping to accomplish is the creation of community.Community is magic. Community is power. Community is resistance.Disability Visibility: First-Person Stories from the Twenty-First Century https://www.amazon.com/Disability-Visibility-First-Person-Stories-Twenty-First-ebook/dp/B082ZQBL98/ https://www.amazon.com/Disability-Visibility-Adapted-Young-Adults-ebook/dp/B08VFT4R9T/… More that people tend to assume will be sad, bitter, and boring.
- Disabled people who identify with “crip” or “cripple,” generally share a strong sense of disability pride and deep involvement in disability activism and culture. We know what the social model of disabilityIn the broadest sense, the social model of disability is about nothing more complicated than a clear focus on the economic, environmental and cultural barriers encountered by people who are… More is, we are familiar with “person firstIdentity-first language places the disability-related word first in a phrase. People who prefer identity-first language for themselves often argue that their disability is an important part of who they are,… More” language, and we take pride in our disability identities. Calling ourselves “cripples” isn’t a sign of self-hatred or ignorance of disability history … quite the contrary.
- “Crip” and “cripple” have been used this way by at least some disability activists for decades. It’s not a particularly new practice. It has, however, grown to be more inclusive, as the disability rights movement itself has gradually become more inclusive, both of people with all kinds of disabilities, and of people who have other important identities.
- “Cripple” as an actual label or insult is not just “politically incorrect,” it is archaic. It is a term from a bygone era, largely out of use even by ableists. That is not true of all negative disability terms. For instance, “handicapped” and “retarded” are both used much more often, and are therefore more risky to playThere is nothing more human than play. Humans were designed to learn in play. In fact, nearly all mammals evolved this way.Play’s Power At our learning space, we provide learners fresh… More around with than “cripple.” That’s why you won’t find many disability activists and proud disabled people using “handicapped” or “retarded” either as reclaimed terms or ironically.
- We chose to use #CripTheVote because it sounded more interesting, hard-edged, and likely to spark interest than safer, more “accurate” terms. It’s the difference between saying, “Rock The Vote!” and saying “Young People Really Should Register And Vote.”
- All that said, using “Crip” or “Cripple” this way isn’t to everyone’s taste. That’s fine. Some people have painful personal histories with the word. Some people despise irony and don’t like messing around with language. Some people feel it’s just too risky.
Source: #CripTheVote Blog: Why We Use “#CripTheVote”
Crip: A term used historically to stigmatize and oppress disabled people. It has been reclaimed by some people disabled people. It should only be used with permission from the community or person who is being referred to, or regarding the theories noted below. There is discussion about whether crip refers only to the physical disability community, or other experiences as well.
“Crip theory” as an academic (sub)field that was first made popular by scholars like Robert McRuer and Carrie Sandahl. Crip theory is a blurring or merging of queerBeing queer means constantly questioning what’s considered “normal” and why that norm gets privileged over other ways of being. It means criticizing who sets these norms and recognizing the privilege… More theory and critical disability studies. Crip theory explores how the social pressures and norms around ability intersect with the social pressures and norms around genderDue both to their ability to denaturalize social norms and to their neurological differences, autistic individuals can offer novel insights into gender as a social process. Examining gender from an… More/sexuality.
Crip timeCrip time emerges here as a wry reference to the disability-related events that always seem to start late or to the disabled people who never seem to arrive anywhere on… More: A concept arising from disabled experience that addresses the ways that disabled/chronically ill and neurodivergentNeurodivergent, sometimes abbreviated as ND, means having a mind that functions in ways which diverge significantly from the dominant societal standards of “normal.”NEURODIVERSITY: SOME BASIC TERMS & DEFINITIONS Neurodivergent is quite… More people experience time (and space) differentlyOur friends and allies at Randimals have a saying, What makes us different, makes all the difference in the world.Randimals We agree. Randimals are made up of two different animals… More than able-bodyminded folk. In her essay on Crip Time, Ellen Samuelsquotes her friends Alison Kafer, who says that crip times means: “rather than bend disabled bodies and minds to meet the clock, crip time bends the clock to meet disabled bodies and minds.”Terminology | Critical Disability Studies Collective
Crip is used in a variety of ways. For some, it is a slur. For us and in disability activism, and in activist oriented disability studies, crip is a verb (Sandahl 2003). To crip is to disrupt the stable, transform the familiar, subvert the order of things, unsettle entrenched beliefs, and to make anew. In action, cripping linguistics is to uncloak ”mainstream representations or practices to reveal able-bodied assumptions and exclusionary effects” and “expose the arbitrary delineation between normalNormal was created, not discovered, by flawed, eccentric, self-interested, racist, ableist, homophobic, sexist humans. Normal is a statistical fiction, nothing less. Knowing this is the first step toward reclaiming your… More and defective and the negative social ramifications of attempts to homogenize humanity” (Sandahl: 37). Kusters and Hou (2020) point out that the overall pattern in linguistics is for linguists to treat language as separate from the people that produce language. While we have some linguists studying languages that are produced by disability ways of being and knowing in the world, a critical disability lens allows us to highlight problems with the status quo and possibilities for real transformation.
Crip linguisticsCrip linguistics frames language as a form of care work where we work collectively to provide access and co-construct meaning.PsyArXiv Preprints | Unsettling Languages, Unruly Bodyminds: Imaging a Crip Linguistics… More means to critique language and language scholarship through the lens of disability, include disabled perspectives, elevate disabled scholars, center disabled voices in conversations about disabled languaging, dismantle the use of disorder and deficit rhetorics, and finally, welcome disabled languaging as a celebration of the infinite potential of the bodymindBodymind: A term used to challenge the idea the body and mind are experienced separately (Descartes). Written in various ways, Bodymind or Body-mind, this usage foregrounds the understanding that experiences… More.
Crip linguistics resists compulsory abledness by celebrating disabled ways of languaging, the disabled knowledge that shapes language and communicative practices, and refusals to conform to “normal” language (speech). By heeding disabled people’s relationship with language, languaging, and world-making, we note that disabled people are “effective agents of world-building and dismantling toward more socially just relations” (Hamraie & Fritsch 2019).
Crip linguistics framesWhen we successfully reframe public discourse, we change the way the public sees the world. We change what counts as common sense. Because language activates frames, new language is required… More language as a form of care workThe activities that constitute care are crucial for human life. We defined care in this way: Care is “a species activity that includes everything that we do to maintain, continue,… More where we work collectively to provide access and co-construct meaning.PsyArXiv Preprints | Unsettling Languages, Unruly Bodyminds: Imaging a Crip Linguistics
- A Crip Linguistics is necessary for analyzing human languaging, lest we reproduce inequitiesEquityA commitment to action: the process of redistributing access and opportunity to be fair and just.A way of being: the state of being free of bias, discrimination, and identity-predictable outcomes… More
- A Crip linguistics recognizes that languaging is multi-modal
- A Crip linguistics embraces disabled ways of being in producing language: sensory orientations, interdependenceInterdependence acknowledges that our survival is bound up together, that we are interconnected and what you do impacts others. If this pandemic has done nothing else, it has illuminated how… More, mutual-aid and world-building, carework, and the ways that time interacts with the bodymind and language
Source: PsyArXiv Preprints | Unsettling Languages, Unruly Bodyminds: Imaging a Crip Linguistics
People use languages in different ways. Some people use language to help find other people like them. Many people use language in specific ways because of how their body and mind work. Sometimes a person’s environment and material conditions forces them to use language in a certain way. However, when someone languages outside of what people think is normal, others can think that they are bad with language or are not as smart or are broken. We are trying to point out that no one is actually ‘bad with language.’ Our goal with this paper is to help people understand that no language is bad. It is okay to want to change your own language use if it will make you feel better. But no one should make you feel bad about your language. We need a bigger and more flexible understanding of what language is and what it communicates about a bodymind’s capacity.PsyArXiv Preprints | Unsettling Languages, Unruly Bodyminds: Imaging a Crip Linguistics
A key distinction of crip is the term’s sonic, signed, and etymological history, outlined by Jay Dolmage:
The word “crippled” has impediment built into its consonants (in speech requiring the closure of the vocal tract and the use of the lips). See also the ASL sign for cripple, which utilizes the fingers to call up the slowed movement of the legs. The word is also related to the Old English creopan, or creep, a word with slowness built into its vowels, but also a word that locates bodies, literally, in the dirt—moving with the belly on the ground. But this is a word that has always been used to also connote the slowness of thoughts, as though the speed of thoughts could ever be clocked! The reclamation of the word crip, with its clipped sound, directly addresses the metaphor and the linguistic or rhetorical impact of the term. (Dolmage 2014, 103; amplification from Dolmage 2013)
Dolmage’s unpacking of the term shows that “crip theory” is not a simple merging of queer and disability studies (as is sometimes asserted). Rather, just as quare is part of the history of queer (Johnson 2001), crip and its precursor cripple developed along a distinct historical path.
In similarly twisted-together fashion, crip is surrounded by controversies, arising from some similar concerns as those that fuel controversies around queer (including race, class, and gender), but they play out differently. In a much-discussed article for The Feminist Wire, for example, Mark Sherry argued that “‘Crip’ is the new fashion- able term among disability studies academics,” but that certain groups, including those with “cognitive impairments,” homeless people, or survivors of violence, “won’t use such a trite, trendy cliche as ‘crip politics’” and are “offended” and “alienated” by the term (Sherry 2013). Not long before, a call had come out for a special issue of the Journal of Literary and Cultural Disability Studies (Johnson and McRuer 2013), which took a much more optimistic—in fact, deliberately playful—stance. The call proposed the term cripistemologies and argued that such a conception was “poised on the tip of our tongues, called for, yearned for.” Crip is also racialized in specific ways: for example, although the term predates the emergenceEmergence is the way complex systems and patterns arise out of a multiplicity of relatively simple interactions.Emergent Strategy: Shaping Change, Changing Worlds Emergent strategy is a way that all of… More of the Los Angeles Crips, controversies about racist and classist appropriation regularly arise when it is used in predominantly white, middle-class, academic contexts. Finally, in an effort to reclaim the term’s apparent lean toward physical impairment, some scholar/activists, including Erick Fabris, use the term psychocrip to designate a resistant identity built around madness and psychiatric survivorship (Fabris 2011). My own use of crip politics aligns most closely with Kafer’s: it is an attempt to signal a belief in potentiality and flexi- bility, an effort to occupy a more “contestatory” space that merges activist and aca- demic work, as well as hope for coalition across disability categories (Kafer 2013, 15– 16).The Bodymind Problem and the Possibilities of Pain
Identity is fluid and complicated, much like disability. I proudly call myself as a crip because it makes me feel powerful. It takes a word previously hurled at me, making me feel ashamed, alienated, and unworthy and flips it on its axis. Crip gives me agency. Crip is my culture. Crip is my community filled with badass freaks and outcasts who are classified as abnormal by society and wear that designation as a badge of honor. Because we’re not trying to assimilate into a culture that doesn’t know what to do with us in the first place.
But crip isn’t for everyone. I have friends with disabilities who would never use that appellation. And I respect whatever label they choose to self-identify with because it’s up to each individual to figure out what descriptors are personally empowering and which ones are not. There will always be internal debate and disagreement on semantics, but ultimately we’re still part of the same community-the largest, and most beautifully unique community in the world.Tales From The Crip: Ready, Willing, and Disabled | Bitch Media
I say that “crip” is my favorite four-letter word in that it’s profane to some, but to me, I love it. And I think it’s a good descriptor for me personally. So language in disability is still a very hotly debated issue. So some people want to be called disabled, some people want to be called people with disabilities. It has been going on for decades, this debate. And there’s theoretical models behind why people want to be called what they want to be called and issues of identity wrapped up in that as well. And so then, when the word “crip” came along–I certainly did not come up with it–and I’m trying to remember when I first heard crip being used. It was when I got into disability studies and kind of learned about this whole other disability culture and these rebellious disabled people that were doing all these really rad things that I had never been taught in school and didn’t know anything about. And I really loved this idea of reclaiming this word. So crip obviously comes from “crippled,” which is, I hear the word crippled in relation to disability or anything, and I just cringe. But when I hear the word crip, to me, it’s such a signifier of identity and culture, and it is a bad word in a lot of ways, and it has an edgeFor me this space of radical openness is a margin a profound edge. Locating oneself there is difficult yet necessary. It is not a “safe” place. One is always at… More to it. But it’s also a really cool word, I would say, in that when someone I meet who’s disabled refers to themself as a crip, I kind of know that they’re down. It’s like a way of, to me, I just assume that we’re probably gonna be on the same wavelength in terms of politics and identity and disability culture.Let’s Talk About Crip Culture | Bitch Media
Further readingThere are three types of reading: eye reading, ear reading, and finger reading.The Dyslexia Empowerment Plan: A Blueprint for Renewing Your Child’s Confidence and Love of Learning Most schools and… More,