I'm trying to decide if I'm a "person with a disability" or a "disabled person" or "disabled" or "visually impaired" or "blind" or "differently abled". I didn't used to care about these things because I was too busy pretending I was "normal"--an activity I persued as if my life depended on it. Why if I wasn't normal I might be sent to that place behind the tall hedges.
In Britain they tend to use the term "the disabled" rather than "person with a disability" since in essence the term suggests that "the disability" is not a secondary matter but a primary characteristic. In America where we've come to use "person with a disability" the disabling condition is essentially one out of many possible characteristics of a man or woman.
Am I a blind man or a man with blindness? In many instances the blindness is a preeminent personal characteristic. Yet in many other instances my blindness has little extrinsic value. Why in any event does it matter what I'm called?
Are you a young person or young? Are you merely a "grandmother"?
Here's my solution: we employ the term "citizen".
I am not in this instance being flip.
I do have a disability. Yet I can't believe that a condition of lenses and nerves defines me.
Nor can I imagine that a person's ethnicity or gender or sexual orientation is in every instance the sole Aristotelian template of identity.
If I must choose then I am a person with a disability. I am also a person with a guitar and a person who possesses a disdain for television.
Oh yes. Sometimes my disability precedes me. And yes, blind people are severely underemployed in the United States and elsewhere. Yes, "the blind" are often patronized or underestimated. But so are most "abnormal" people.
Therefore I believe that "citizen" has the most utility if we must name ourselves.
We are citizens who underscore the necessity of universal design.
Here's to Deus Faber.