June 2, 2014 at 9:08 am | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

It was one innocent comment of mine, and the simple and compassionate rehumanising of that comment by a friend, that has had me thinking this past week. Language is being used constantly by ourselves and others each and every day. But how many times are we inadvertently or sadly intentionally dehumanising individuals or groups through our language choices?

The friend in this post works as a teacher at a school catering for children with autism. I am constantly inspired by his dedication to the holistic education of each and every one of the students in his care. Earlier in this particular day I had been talking to another teacher who works at a similar school. While telling my friend about this other teachers experiences I used the word autistic before child in one of my sentences. He gently reminded me that the child comes first, as in a child with autism.

This simple and compassionate rehumanisation really struck me as so important. Our vision is ‘informed, connected and empowered individuals believing deeply in their own and others potential’. Each of those individuals that we are referring to are humans. We all are. So for us to fully engage in our own journeys of potential and then support, challenge and inspire others on theirs as well, growing our awareness and appreciation of how the language we use is honouring each human we are referring to is an important process for us all.

“It is not our purpose to become each other; it is to recognize each other, to learn to see the other and honor him for what he is.”
– Hermann Hesse

I am reminded of many examples of where we (us as individuals, communities, governments, the media, etc.) dehumanise. Rather than exploring and celebrating the gifts and talents an individual or group can offer, we can limit potential or single out challenges they may experience. Regardless of ethnicity, socio economic status, educational levels achieved, sexuality, religious affiliation, medical conditions or any other aspect of an individual’s world, the human is what always comes first.



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