I’ve been reading a lot of public articles and opinions positing that certain terms and labels such as “alcoholic” and “addict” need to be eradicated from our vocabulary in order to avoid the social implications and stigma that surround them. Although part of me reduces this to petty semantics, I couldn’t be happier that we as a society are having this conversation. I have vacillated on the subject since there are points I do agree with. However, I believe in the long run we are doing a disservice to those afflicted and could potentially regress the current social movement of awareness and open mindedness that surrounds addiction today (due to its prevalence and new scientific research).
For instance, In 28 states it is shockingly still legal to fire someone for being gay. I don’t believe that the right thing to do in that situation is to eradicate the term “gay”—instead we need to eradicate the social stigma surrounding the word by focusing on educating the ignorant. I find it hard to accept that we should conform to the portion of society that is still blind. Identity politics always works on two fronts: to give pride to people who have a given condition/ characteristic, and to cause the outside world to learn and become more aware of these conditions & treat such people more gently and more kindly. Identity should expand our idea of what it means to be human. We forge meaning based on our struggles and triumphs, it is important to own our stories & what has made us who we are today.
Veering way from using words that have stigma attached to them is letting ignorance win. I think we can eradicate the stigma by encouraging more people to share their stories instead of staying silent. Let’s attach NEW meaning to these terms so that in the end it is impossible for someone to remain judgmental and LOVE WINS.❤️