Reflecting on inclusive language

At the Rix Inclusive Research Institute, members of our team, Ajay, Kiran, Ros, and Baljit, supported by Kanchan and Gosia, recently took a deep dive into a shocking paper by Prof. Jonathan Rix, published in the British Journal of Learning Disabilities.

Jonathan Rix’s insights into the derogatory use of terms like moron, idiot, and imbecile in media narratives sparked an intense discussion amongst us. Shocked to learn that such outdated and offensive terms are still prevalent, we resolved to address this critical issue head-on.

In our quest to delve deeper into these findings, we spoke with Dr Abigail Croydon from the University of Southampton – see video below.

A conversation with Dr Abigail Croydon

This conversation further illuminated the pervasive nature of such language in the media and its damaging impact on the dignity of people with learning disabilities.

Motivated by our discussion, we invited Jonathan Rix to a LinkedIn Live session where Ajay and Ros asked him about practical steps we can take to combat these harmful stereotypes. His insights were invaluable, guiding us towards initiating a focused campaign aimed at eliminating such language from media discourse.

We are now vigilant. We monitor media outlets and we are prepared to write to publishers whenever we encounter these disparaging words. Our message is clear: these terms, historically used to marginalise and insult people with learning disabilities, have no place in today’s society. It’s time for change, and we are committed to making this change happen.

Ros poignantly captured how we all felt by saying, “Label jars, not people.” This simple yet powerful statement embodies our belief in the dignity of every individual and our commitment to fostering a more inclusive society.

We invite everyone to join us in this endeavour. Start by reading the insightful article and watching the easy-to-understand video accompanying it. Together, we can influence a shift towards more respectful and mindful language in the media, ensuring a more inclusive world for all.

Read the article and watch the video

Your awareness and action can make a significant difference. Let’s stand together against derogatory language and advocate for respect and inclusion in every aspect of society.

Written by Gosia Kwiatkowska