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Stereotypes Are Perpetuated by Choice of Wording

November 08, 1998

The photo caption accompanying the story headlined "A Garden of Accessible Delights" (Oct. 25) makes sure we know that the woman, Joyce Becker, sitting in the wheelchair, is not "wheelchair-bound."

How is that relevant to the story? I am surprised at the use of this outdated and stigmatizing phrase. People use wheelchairs; "wheelchair bound" perpetuates "us" versus "them" attitudes (as in normal versus abnormal, or healthy versus sick).

Some will dismiss this as just another complaint about "political correctness." Sure it is. But primarily it's about respecting diversity and the acknowledgment that we all have special needs at different times.

The "accessible delights" in this article, for instance, provide terrific ideas for everybody who gardens.

Nancy Miller

Via e-mail

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