Thank you, as always, for the reblog and for your comments. I am not surprised to find that you’re disappointed in my post — but I suppose I’m disappointed myself. In particular, I think you unfairly quoted only one short section of a rather long blog post I wrote. You didn’t, for example, quote this part: “It’s important to note from the jump how unfortunate it is that people are offended. It’s difficult to imagine that Jon Stewart (or his writers) intended offense. And, of course, that is — in part — what the author of this blog post wants us to note: the way in which we give offense without even thinking about it. We are, as a society, quick to label as “crazy” or “insane” those things about which we generally disapprove. But we dont think about how that sort of language impacts people with mental illnesses. And that is certainly a valid point. We ought to think more carefully about the ways in which our language choices impact others. We ought to work harder to put ourselves into the shoes of the other, to empathize, and to avoid humiliating (whether consciously or unconsiously) with our words.” I actually think I did a pretty decent job of pointing out my own positionality and recognizing the claims of those who are different from me. And, indeed, you charge that I simply don’t want to look seriously at the way that I use language — when, in fact, that’s precisely what I said I was doing with my post, namely raising an important topic so that a conversation might ensue: “I’ve spent a few days thinking about this; in particular, I’ve wondered whether I can make the point that I want to make without offending people. My sense is that I almost certainly cannot. That said, I feel that the point is important and that a discussion arising from possibly offending people would also be important.” A full quotation of my post would recognize that I’m *particularly interested* in having a conversation about whether or not we can, in fact, say *anything at all* without causing offense and, in truth, I still wonder this. After all, in simply raising that point as a question, I knew that I’d be causing offense — and then my suspicion was confirmed. Indeed, to put forward these short sections as proof of my laziness in argumentation seems like the easy way of demonstrating my ableism (or racism or sexism or homophobia). But I think it’s quite clear from the entirety of the post that I’m not making such a lazy argument, that I’m unwilling to examine my own position of privilege, or that I believe that people with documented mental illnesses ought to simply “lighten up.” What I wanted to point out is that there is a very real possibility — given the way the blogger in question (who I quoted extensively, nearly entirely) made his/her statement about the Stewart rally — that we will find ourselves at a point where we cannot actually say anything without causing offense. I think this is a point worthy of serious discussion, but we are unlikely to have that discussion if we simply quote bits and pieces of other people’s arguments as proof of laziness or privilege.

I am going to let this rebuttal of my early comments stand by itself because I believe that many valid points are made.

I was disappointed particularly by the closing of your argument because that’s the message readers take away. All the other valid points are somehow nullified when we tell someone to “just chill”. If the closing argument (which is the part I quoted) had been elaborated on before, I probably would not have had such a reaction but from a purely rhetorical perspective, I was sad that it was presented as a lazy way out.

I am going to be totally honest here: I fall into the ableist language trap EVERY DAY. I also use “crazy” casually and use expressions that are text book ableist. However, I do my best to be alert of them not because I am morally superior and not lazy but because, having been the victim of racial discrimination has made me hyper aware of the devastating effects of discrimination and stigmatization. I am not a better person than you, nor am I somehow morally superior, the only difference is probably that by now, I am trained to pause and listen if someone says they feel alienated by my use of language. To quote the great Kanye West: IT’S A PROCESS, not some innate ability.

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