People First Language
Although this is the internet and we have the technology to go back and edit websites whenever we want, once I release a blog, I consider it published and unchangeable. You may find that sometimes my opinion or stance on some particular concept evolves over time, but I will not go back and change what I have written in the past. I believe that it shows growth, which is something to be proud of, not something to hide. However, this only works when it's a major opinion in the blog, the focus of the blog, or some other significantly visible aspect that can be tested and disputed. It is not the case when the framework of the narrative includes language that may indirectly suggest something that contradicts with the overall message.
People First Language
Increasingly lately, I have been bothered by some of the language I used in the piece I wrote about Satanists with disabilities. The language that bothers me specifically is, "Disabled persons," and other phrases like it that are littered throughout the blog. I realize a problem with this language in that it emphasizes someone's disability over their personhood. To slap a sunburn, there is absolutely no need to use a word like 'persons' in a piece as candid and down-to-earth as these writings. 'Persons' is an uncommon word that is used to describe multiple people as independent individuals rather than as a collective, but while it may be grammatically correct, it stylistically puts distance between the reader and the subject (people), which functionally alienates them to the extent that they come off as a different species. All in all, subtle language like "Disabled persons" contradicts the message that I was trying to communicate, and the way I wrote it enables the very fucked up perspective (which is never one I held) that a person who has a disability is less important than the fact that they have a disability in the first place. Although subtle, I find it absolutely unacceptable, and because of that, I have updated the language in the blog to reflect my spoken style, which favors People First Language.
By the way, People First Language. is a very easy modification you can make to your daily vocabulary that is a major game changer in helping you to feel more comfortable around people coming from a very different situation than you. (Commonly, it's used with disabilities.) By extension, doing this can help you in your Lesser Magic because it forces you to consider the person as an individual rather than define them by stereotypes which may not be true. For example, for people with disabilities, People First Language is exactly that: "People with disabilities" (instead of "Disabled people"). The disability is something that affects their life experience, but it does not stand alone. It isn't their identity, it doesn't define them, and so it shouldn't be the focus when you think of them.
Identity First Language
Of course, it's worth mentioning at this point that some people DO prefer Identity First Language, and you should use terminology that they request and refrain from making assumptions. Identity First Language is more appropriate in situations where someone's identity is more intricately linked with their situation. One example of this is with autism. People who are autistic prefer to be called an "autistic person" rather than "person with autism," because of the way that autism affects their lives. I'd like to reiterate now however, that my problem with the language in my blog about Satanists with disabilities isn't because of the order of words, but the way my message might have inadvertently been communicated over all.
I am a Satanist.. I believe that people (animals) are of the utmost importance in our lives, and since the words we use influence the way that we interpret, define, and understand the world, it's important to use the right ones, even when the only person we're speaking to is ourselves, and in our own minds.
It is important to me that I use my platform to accurately communicate my values instead of enabling an atmosphere where people could be estranged based on their ability to meet some biological standard. Although I typically stand against making modifications to blogs, I felt that this was important enough that it merited an exception. I came to this conclusion on my own, without any feedback or commentary from others, and while I regret the mistake, I am unashamed of it. We are all growing, we are all bettering ourselves, and if we can't learn from past mistakes, we will never become the very best we can be. My hope is that you'll consider my experience the next time it could be appropriate to you in your situation, and that you'll make the best decision for how to refer to others, whether it be in the interest of your Lesser Magic goals or your simple Satanic humanity.
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Who is the Witch?
Once I called myself a Christian, then an atheist, and a Satanist. At the end of the day, I'm just a person who is living her truth one day at a time. I'm interested in religion, its effects on the mind, the occult, and more. Learn more about me on the about page.