Saturday, October 22, 2011

That Cause-and-Effect-Thinking Thing Is Tricky, I Know: A challenging thing about raising kids with fetal alcohol exposure is getting them to understand that unanticipated consequences are still their responsibility. If they throw a ball and it happens to break a window, but they didn't intend to break a window, they can't connect what they did to what happened. And they're often puzzled and befuddled by the anger of others over events they see as completely independent and abstract. That seems to be the same sort of thinking applied by people who use offensive language about people with disabilities, whether it's the R-Word or, as has been in the news the last few days, Ricky Gervais's "mong." If they didn't mean offense, there is no offense. If they think of the word as meaning a certain thing, why would anybody think of it as something else? If in their understanding a word is linguistically and historically without emotion and weight, complaints are irrelevant and inexplicable. But you know what, guys? The window's still broke, and that's your baseball on the floor.

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