Focus on agency and competency
When talking and writing about marginalized groups, one or the other feature is often singled out, thus neglecting the manifold aspects of people as well as the heterogeneity of the respective groups.
For this reason, in German it has become customary to talk about “Menschen mit Behinderung” (person with a disability) instead of “Behinderten” (a ‘Disabled’, nominalized adjective). At the Toolbox we have chosen to write “BeHinderung” (disAbility) with a capital H, aligning ourselves with the concept that the capital letter serves to highlight the fact that it is through socially constructed obstacles that it is made more difficult for certain people to participate: they are then made disabled.
Instead of focusing on disabilities, people’s competences and abilities can be brought to the fore by avoiding sentences that present disability as a stroke of fate. For example, instead of “despite”-sentences or presenting someone as a victim, disability can be thematized as one of many aspects of a person instead of the only determining factor for their personality.
Redaktion Leidmedien. 2012. Leidfaden.