Tag Archives: Name giving

Dr. Miller looking at Jews in France

About the Author Dr. Yvette Alt Miller
Yvette Alt Miller earned her B.A. at Harvard University. She completed a Postgraduate Diploma in Jewish Studies at Oxford University, and has a Ph.D. In International Relations from the London School of Economics. She lives with her family in Chicago, and has lectured internationally on Jewish topics. Her book Angels at the table: a Practical Guide to Celebrating Shabbat takes readers through the rituals of Shabbat and more, explaining the full beautiful spectrum of Jewish traditions with warmth and humor. It has been praised as “life-changing”, a modern classic, and used in classes and discussion groups around the world.

Jews and France: 11 Interesting Facts

As France headed to the polls, Dr. Miller presented some fascinating points about Jews and France through the ages on Aish.com

As France went to the polls in the first round of its presidential election, France’s 500,000-strong Jewish community was in the spotlight: two front-runners, Marine Le Pen and Jean Luc Melenchon, having been accused of making high-profile anti-Semitic comments.

Long before France’s unpredictable election, Jews have been making history in France. Here are 11 interesting facts about Jews and France through the ages.

Greatest Jewish Scholar

Rashi

Rashi, acronym of Rabbi Shlomo Yitzḥaqi (born 1040, Troyes, Champagne—died July 13, 1105, Troyes), renowned medieval French commentator on the Bible and the Talmud (the authoritative Jewish compendium of law, lore, and commentary).

A modern translation of Rashi’s commentary on the Chumash, published by Artscroll

Rashi, as the great Medieval Rabbi Shlomo Yitzhaki is known, is the most widely consulted Jewish rabbi of all time. His commentaries on the Bible and Talmud are considered crucial to understanding these Jewish texts. Rashi’s explanations help us understand the Torah and at times, a knowledge of French can help us understand Rashi.

Monument in memory of Rashi in Troyes, France

That’s because this greatest of Jewish scholars had humble beginnings. Rashi lived in the northern French town of Troyes from 1040 to 1105. Out of a total population of 10,000, Troyes was also home to about 100 Jewish families. Jews travelled from far and wide to consult Rashi. Many of these visiting Jews lodged with nearby Christian families.

Troyes centre ville1.JPG

Troyes centre ville – capital of the department of Aube in north-central France

In some respects, Rashi was very French. He earned his living as a vintner (wine maker), and incorporated some French words in his commentaries. A typical example comes in Rashi’s discussion of the Torah’s description of the beautiful golden Ark that our ancestors were commanded to build, which stood in the Temple in Jerusalem. Its gold ornaments were joined together, or soulderix (soldered in Old French), Rashi explained (Rashi on Ex. 24:18).

Rashi’s sons-in-law and grandsons – who continued to live in northern France – became rabbis of nearly his towering stature, penning additional commentaries on the Torah and leading European Jewry. Their scholarship continues to define Jewish life to this day.

Talmud on Trial

In the year 1239, Paris was witness to a very strange trial; the Talmud was accused of insulting Christianity.

The Talmud was defended by the Chief Rabbi of Paris, Rabbi Yechiel ben Joseph, though there were restrictions on what Rabbi Yechiel could say. Leading the charge against the Talmud was Nicholas Donin, a Jewish convert to Christianity who seemingly harbored an intense hatred of his fellow Jews or, possibly, a desire to impress his new Christian co-religionists. He was encouraged to make fun of the Talmud, quoting its text out of context and distorting its meaning. Presiding over the trial was none other than the Queen Mother of France, Blanche of Castille, and several Archbishops.
After hearing the “evidence”, the Talmud was found guilty and condemned as “dangerous to Christianity”. Volumes of the Talmud were confiscated. In 1242, 24 cartloads of hand-written tractates of the Talmud, representing countless thousands of hours of work, were brought to a public square in central Paris and burned.

Medieval Crusades

In 1095, Pope Urban II called for a holy Crusade to conquer Jerusalem and wrest it from Muslim rule. (The temptation to launch a crusade might have been closer to home. Historians note that the harvest of 1095 was particularly bad in northern Europe; calling for a crusade was a way to distract the population and encourage them to plunder wealth in other lands.)

100,000 men signed up for the Crusade. (The term “crusade” refers to the French word for the crosses they sewed on their clothes.) Soon, their attention turned from conquering Jerusalem to attacking Jewish communities along their path. In three waves, spanning a hundred years, over ten thousand Jews were murdered in Europe and Israel. Frenzied demonization of and violence against Jews became a hallmark of the Crusader period.

France’s Jews were periodically expelled during this intense period of Jew-hatred, as well. In 1182, and again regularly in the 13th Century, Jews were forced to leave French cities, only to be let in again a few years later. In 1306, a more organized expulsion was decreed by France’s King Philip. Short of money after war with Flanders, King Philip decided to force French Jews to flee, and compound their property.

The decree was handed down on July 21, 1306, which was Tisha B’Av, the Jewish day of mourning on which we mourn the destruction of both the First and Second Temples in Jerusalem, as well as other calamitous events in Jewish history. The following day, July 22, 1306, 100,000 Jews were arrested. France’s Jews were ordered to leave the country within one month or face death. French Jews were allowed to leave only 12 sous (cents) apiece. Their property was confiscated, auctioned off, and all proceeds reverted to the French crown.

(King Philip’s decree was reversed by his son King Louis, but Jews continued to be banned from France and were ordered to leave in 1322 and 1394 again, before returning slowly over the subsequent years.)

French Chocolate’s Jewish Origins

Following the expulsion of Jews from Spain in 1492, and the introduction of the Inquisition into Portugal in 1536, some Jews fled to the French town of Bayonne, near the Spanish-French border. There, they used their contacts with Jewish traders in the New World to import materials and know-how to process cocoa, a New World product which was just starting to take Europe by storm.

Dark Chocolate with Espelette pepper.

Bayonne Jews adapted cocoa recipes to European tastes, creating sweet versions of chocolate and using additives like milk, butter and nuts. Jews built the Bayonne area into a chocolate center, but their very success undid them: once local Christians learned how to make chocolates too, they petitioned local authorities to ban Jews from the chocolate industry.


Jews were only permitted to resume making chocolate in 1767 when a court annulled the decree. In 2013, the town of Bayonne formally recognized the contribution of Jews to the region’s famed chocolates. “Since we are the inheritors of the Jews’ savoir faire”, explained Jean-Michel Barate, head of Bayonne’s Chocolate Academy, “it was our duty to thank them….” and to right the historical wrong of overlooking the fact that it was Jewish refugees who created sweet chocolate confections as we know them today.

Equality

Avignon, Palais des Papes depuis Tour Philippe le Bel by JM Rosier (cropped).jpg

Palais des Papes – Avignon in south-eastern France in the department of Vaucluse on the left bank of the Rhône river

Although Jews were banned from France for many years after the 14th Century, by the 1700s about 40,000 Jews lived in France, particularly in Bordeaux and Avignon, which never formally expelled their Jewish inhabitants.

These 40,000 Jews became the first Jews in European history to gain full and equal rights with the French Revolution. The decision wasn’t easy: France’s new rulers deliberated for over two years about whether they should extend their new regime’s ideal of “Liberty, Equality, Fraternity” to Jews. When they did, in 1791, it was seemingly with some regret: “The Jews” explained a leading revolutionary, “conscious of the error of their ways, have felt the need for a fatherland; we have offered them ours.”

Napoleon’s “Sanhedrin”

The Emperor Napoleon styled himself “defender” of the Jews, noting that he had (unsuccessfully) tried to conquer the Land of Israel for France. Back home, even though Jews were nominally recognized as citizens, Napoleon harbored much of the intense anti-Jewish prejudice that was typical in France at the time.
Seeking to assure himself that Jews were indeed “Frenchmen”, Napoleon decided to invite Jews from throughout France to participate in what Napoleon called, with much pomp, a “National Assembly of Notables”. Napoleon deliberately scheduled the Assembly for a Saturday; the “notables” he invited turned up despite the assembly’s scheduling on Shabbat, and voted yes or no to a series of questions Napoleon had devised to ascertain whether Jews could indeed be French. The “notables” were asked whether Jews could engage in manual labor, whether they could marry Christian women, whether Jews would help defend France, etc.

Cover page to siddur used at the Grand Sanhedrin of Napoleon, 1807.

Not satisfied with his Assembly, Napoleon sent word to the governors of France to elect Jewish representatives to a new group, which Napoleon grandly named the Sanhedrin, the ancient Jewish court that governed Jewish conduct for hundreds of years. Like the Sanhedrin of old, this new “Sanhedrin” contained 71 members, was governed by a leader (picked by Napoleon) whom he gave the traditional Hebrew title Nasi, or “prince”, and was meant to issue new decrees for the Jewish people.
Napoleon’s “Sanhedrin” met in Paris with great pomp, and the puppets making up this group did indeed go along with many of Napoleon’s requested declarations. They declared that Jews serving in the French army were free of Jewish mitzvot, or commandments, and (echoing long-held prejudice against Jews, who’d long been forced into the money-lending business by European rulers) declared money-lending illegal for Jews. Even the stooges on Napoleon’s “Sanhedrin” drew the line at some of the Emperor’s requests, refusing to countenance mixed marriages, for instance.

Despite the assurances of this “Sanhedrin”, Napoleon went on to issue a host of infamous Jewish decrees, restricting Jewish rights to live in certain parts of France, suspending repayment of debts to Jews for ten years, and limiting Jews’ rights to go into some areas of business.

Official Names

Another legacy of Napoleon’s rule was an official list of approved names that could be given to babies born in France. Most of these were Christian saints’ names, though a number of Jewish names were included on the list, as well.

The list was abolished in 1993, though even in recent years French authorities have banned some names. In 2016, for instance, a French judge ruled against two parents who wanted to name their newborn Mohamed Merah, after the terrorist who murdered a rabbi and three children outside of a Jewish school in the French city of Toulouse in 2012.

The Dreyfus Affair

Jews were ostensibly equal French citizens, but the dramatic 1894 trial of Captain Alfred Dreyfus exposed deep anti-Jewish hatred in France. After being arrested on manufactured charges of spying for Germany (Dreyfus was later exonerated; the real culprit had fled to England and some of Dreyfus’ fellow soldiers forged evidence against him), Dreyfus was publicly humiliated and sent to prison, while a mob of French men and women shouted “Death to Jews!”

Throughout Dreyfus’ trial, French Catholic authorities continued to stir up Jew-hatred. The intense bitterness made many in France conclude there was little future for Jews in France. Emile Zola, the non-Jewish great French author, wrote in 1896 “For some years I have been following with increasing surprise and disgust the campaign which some people are trying to carry on in France against the Jews. This seems to me monstrous….” Two years later, Zola wrote his famous open letter, beginning with J’accuse, or “I accuse”, directed against French President France Felix Faure, complaining about irregularities in Dreyfus’ trial. Zola was prosecuted and found guilty of libel and fled to England for a year to avoid imprisonment.
Another observer came to a similar conclusion during Dreyfus’ trial, realizing that Jews faced an uncertain future in France. Theodore Herzl was a young reporter for the Viennese newspaper the Neue Freie Presse, and he covered Dreyfus’ trial in Paris. He later wrote that the chants of “Death to Jews” shook him to the core, and helped him realize that only a Jewish state could provide security and safety for the world’s Jews. In 1897, Herzl organized a Zionist Congress in Zurich, where he called for the reestablishment of a Jewish country.

France and the Holocaust

With World War II looming, France became a destination for desperate Jewish refugees fleeing Germany and Eastern Europe. From a Jewish population of about 80,000 in 1900, by 1939 France’s Jewish population had swelled to 300,000 as Jews fled to France for safety.

Tragically, that safety proved illusory. After Germany invaded France, it divided the country into a northern, “occupied” zone, and a southern “free” zone which was allied with Nazi Germany. Both areas of France willingly participated in the deportation of Jews from France; in the nominally independent southern part of France, it was French policemen and authorities who helped implement Hitler’s so-called “final solution to the Jewish ‘problem’”. Over 70,000 French Jews were sent to concentration camps; only about 2,500 survived.

After the War, France’s devastated Jewish community was revived by an influx of Jews from former French colonies in North Africa. In the 1950s and 1960s nearly a quarter of a million Sephardi Jews moved to France from Algeria, Morocco and Tunisia.

Resurgent Anti-Semitism

In recent years, tragically, the call “Death to Jews!” has once more rung out in the streets of Paris and elsewhere in France.

A string of horrific attacks has targeted Jews throughout France. In 2006, Ilan Halimi, a young Jewish man living in Paris, was lured into a trap by local Muslim hoodlums; he was tortured for a month in a public housing project in Paris before being murdered; it later emerged that his ordeal was an open secret in the neighborhood, but no one intervened. His mother later had Ilan buried in Israel, fearful, she explained, that if he was buried in France his grave would be desecrated by anti-Semites.

In 2012, in the central French city of Toulouse, a terrorist shot three children and a rabbi at point-blank range in front of a Jewish school. In 2014, a mob rampaging through the streets of Sarcelles, a Paris suburb, chanted “Death to Jews!”, burned Jewish-owned businesses, and surrounded a synagogue, baying for the murder of those Jews inside. For hours, scores of Jewish families cowered inside, fearing for their lives, until police finally managed to disperse the mob late that night. In 2015, terrorists murdered four hostages in a kosher synagogue in Paris. In 2017, two Jewish brothers were forced off the road in a heavily Muslim neighborhood near Paris and attacked by passers by; one of the brothers’ thumb was sawn off in the attack.

In fact, the number of anti-Jewish hate crimes is going up. In 2014, there were 423 reported hate crimes against Jews in France. In 2015, there were 851 reported anti-Jewish hate crimes.

In the face of rising hatred, more and more Jews are fleeing France. One 2016 poll found that fully 43% of French Jews are considering moving to the Jewish state. In 2014, a record-breaking 6,658 Jews moved to Israel from France. (By way of comparison, only 1,923 French Jews had moved to Israel in 2010, when the number of anti-Semitic crimes was lower.) In 2015, 7,469 French Jews moved to Israel.

France in Israel

Beach promenade of Netanya (Hebrew: נְתַנְיָה‎, lit., “gift of God”; Arabic: نتانيا‎‎) a city in the Northern Central District of Israel, and the capital of the surrounding Sharon plain.

As more French Jews move to the Jewish state, parts of Israel are gaining a distinctly French accent. In 2015, the Times of Israel noted that the Israeli seaside city of Netanya calls itself the “Israeli Riviera” and that in recent years, it has indeed come to resemble the famed French Riviera: “walking along its main pedestrian boulevard, one would be hard-pressed to tell it apart from its twin city of Nice” in France. French restaurants, French style – and French Jews – have given parts of Israel a very French feel.

One recent immigrant from France explained that the rising anti-Semitism in France sparked her family’s desire to move to Israel: “Here we get the feeling that we can protect ourselves. There we have the impression that we are on our own and if, God forbid, something happens we will have to manage.”

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Preceding articles

Kindertransport

Apocalyptic Extremism: No Longer a Laughing Matter

Seeds from the world creating division and separation from God

What to do in the Face of Global Anti-semitism

The Rise of Anti-Seminism

If you’re going to be a hater, make sure you’ve done your homework.

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Additional reading

  1. Religious Practices around the world
  2. January 27 – 70 years ago Not an end yet to genocide
  3. World remembers Auschwitz survivors
  4. Migrants to the West #6
  5. Protest against Tzahal concert in Antwerp
  6. 2014 European elections
  7. French Muslims under attack
  8. Objective views and not closing eyes for certain sayings
  9. At the closing hours of 2016 #2 Low but also highlights
  10. How importance on religion is placed
  11. Is Europe going to become a dictatorial bastion
  12. Declaration of war against Islam and Christianity
  13. 25 Orthodox rabbis issued a statement on Christianity
  14. The American clouds of Anti-Semitism
  15. Donald Trump after declining numbers of people victimised for their religion managed to increase the numbers again
  16. Incidents of hate have become commonplace in the U.S.A. anno 2017
  17. Today’s thought by the French elections and right-wing populism in the world

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Further reading

  1. Judaism Fast Facts
  2. History of the Jews in France
  3. France Virtual Jewish History Tour
  4. Jewish Attempts at Rejudaizing Converts
  5. The French Jews have landed – les juifs français sur Londres
  6. U.S. Immigration Policy and the Jewish Refugee Crisis of the 1930s
  7. Incarceration and Detention
  8. Villains, victims, untold stories of refugees and officials
  9. That proud History of welcoming refugees
  10. Jewish Refugees and Liberation
  11. Timeline of deportations of French Jews to death camps
  12. Drancy internment camp
  13. Criticism of the Talmud
  14. Alliance Israélite Universelle (political organization)
  15. Adolphe Feder at the Ghetto Fighters’ House Museum
  16. death camp showers in ww2
  17. Eisenhower’s Rhine Meadows Death Camps
  18. Was Soviet Jewish Identity Strengthened by Russian Anti-Semitism During the Second World War?
  19. Netanyahu: Allies could have saved 4 million Jews if they’d bombed death camps in 1942 (Lol…..)
  20. Himmler diaries found in Russia reveal daily Nazi horrors – BBC News
  21. Public Service Announcement
  22. Remembering Elie Wiesel
  23. Denial. . . . . . A Film
  24. The Tony Hall case revisited
  25. Never Again!!!
  26. Feast of Saint Edith Stein (9 August 2016)
  27. Surviving The Holocaust
  28. The Deep History of US, Britain’s Never-Ending Cold War On Russia by Finian Cunningham
  29. Bernie Sanders Talks Out of Both Sides of His Mouth, Tries to Justify Signing onto UN Letter
  30. Will We Live Out Our Heritage as People of Faith or Will We Succumb to fear?
  31. At home in London, French Jews dread vote on exiting the EU
  32. ‘French Jews experiencing worst situation since 1945’
  33. Natan Sharansky (French Zionist Jew) to French Jews mulling aliya: Do it!
  34. Natan Sharansky (Jew) : There is no future for Jews in France
  35. In Manuel Valls, French Jews get a presidential candidate they can trust
  36. In Manuel Valls, French Jews get a presidential candidate they can trust (Not good!!!!)
  37. Another 5,000 Jews quit France for Israel
  38. French Jews will have to give up Israeli citizenship, says Le Pen
  39. French Israelis fume at Le Pen’s plan to ban dual citizenship
  40. French Jews ‘will have to give up dual Israeli citizenship’ if Marine Le Pen wins presidential election
  41. French Jews imagine life under Marine Le Pen
  42. French Jews put off by Le Pen now worry about another presidential candidate
  43. French Jews worried over Le Pen’s success in presidential vote’s 1st round
  44. French Jews ‘relieved’ Macron won but worried over Le Pen’s electoral gains
  45. See you at the Demonstration: Protesters Remember the Refugees, Forget the Jews
  46. Looks like a Holocost to me
  47. Israel’s abuse of the Ethiopian Jews is a vital piece of the puzzle of Talmudism
  48. Israel’s New Cultural War of Aggression
  49. How Information Is Controlled by Washington, Israel, and Trolls, Leading to Our Destruction
  50. Jews Are Still the Biggest Target of Religious Hate Crimes
  51. A New Kind of ‘Safety’ School: Coping With Campus Anti-Semitism
  52. What is the Federal Government Doing to Oppose Anti-Semitic Hate Crime?
  53. SPLC Grudgingly Admits Many Recent Hate Incidents Targeted Jews
  54. Politicians React to Vile and Vulgar Palestinian Hatred
  55. Who Is Behind Anti-Semitic Attacks in the U.S.?
  56. Denying Islamophobia is Islamophobia

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Filed under Crimes & Atrocities, History, Political affairs, Religious affairs

Trans-ability and Identity and Political correctness

Man likes to put a label on everything; The last few years they have done very difficult about that. since the 1980ies politicians and several pressure groups have been doing difficult about certain names given. This made that today for mentioning certain groups of affected people we can not even use one singular word any more but have nearly to use a whole phrase to denote about whom we are talking. In many cases the word which were made because one word would have been offensive has now become a not to be used word itself.

Two poor disabled Tanzanians in Dar es Salaam ...

Two poor disabled Tanzanians in Dar es Salaam city on Eid day. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Some ideal examples is the word for a brown coloured person, once to be called ‘black’ than “neger” or ‘nigger’ than, ‘negro’, ‘negress‘ or ‘African/American/(European) black person‘, ‘negride’ or ‘negroid’ and when “kleurling” or ‘coloured’ was not any more allowed to be used people had to search for other ways to describe or talk about some one with an other skin colour or with an other tan.

The same for those who are not of the original place, which in the past could be called “non-locals” a “foreigner” or  “allochtoon” (“allochttones”), but that last word has become a jinx not to be used any more. Even “stranger” may not be used and some find “immigrant” also offensive for all those who enter now the country. (Nobody dared to use the old word “alien”, but perhaps it once could return again. – joke)

Today the problem also arises by people who have a certain disorder or a handicap. In English that may be an offensive word for denoting  what until now was called a ‘person with a physical or mental  disability’, but this may not be said either today. We can find already people who shiver  when the word “disabled” is used. As such one could say

 He lost his leg when he was ten, but learnt to overcome his handicap.

It was considered that when something happened to a person which caused to weaken a person or got him so gravely damaged, or had the person diminish, as in quality:

an injury that impaired hearing/seeing/walking

English: Handicap sign , Dryden, Ontario, Canada

Handicap sign , Dryden, Ontario, Canada (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The handicap or impairment, disability, disorder, defect, ailment, afflictioninfirmity, disablement, for many was or is considered so negative that except affliction, they may not be used any more, and handicap may only be used for  the advantage or disadvantage in a sportsgame.

a contest, esp a race, in which competitors are given advantages or disadvantages of weight, distance, time, etc., in an attempt to equalize their chances of winning

or in Golf the number of strokes by which a player’s averaged score exceeds the standard scratch score for the particular course: used as the basis for handicapping in competitive play {The Free dictionary Encyclopedia on ‘handicap’}

Some people are against the words handicap and disabled. Some would take up the larger cause of having become “differently-abled” rather than being disabled. But that “play on words” has not been all welcomed, as some consider it offensive.

The question is for many is a person in the quality or state of being infirm. Infirmity implying that the person would be personal failing:  foible. Many start considering when speaking about a disabled person or some one in infirmity this would or should mean one considers that person like having something negative or bad; a negative or bad affection, ail, ailment, bug, complaint, complication, condition, disorder, distemper, distemperature, fever, ill, illness, disease, malady, sickness, trouble one does not want to be confronted with. and there lies the problem. It is more from the user of the word, the person looking at the person who is not like him, that we can see the issue being in the ego of that person, his selfishness not willing to come to be confronted with something which has a connotation with something negative or bad which also could come over him or her. It is more that when using such word it could become to him or her as well as a contagion, contagious disease; contagium, infection; attack, bout, fit, spell; debility, decrepitude, feebleness, frailness, lameness, sickliness, unhealthiness, unsoundness, unwellness, weakness; malaise, matter, pip; epidemic, pest, pestilence, plague.

We have come to live in a time and society where there is no place at all for feebleness and frailness, or infirmity. Physical weakness or debility, frailty is totally shunned. One does not want to see or to be confronted with people with a quality or state of being infirm; feebleness or weakness.

Those who use the words “differently abled” often see the terms “disabled” or “disability” as potentially hurtful or offensive. Today for many it is a taunting to use “Dis” which means “not,” and includes a negative look at some one or something. So calling someone “dis-abled” must mean that a person is “not-able” or even “unable to do anything,” “incapable of ever doing anything functional or useful or desirable either by others or by themselves,” and therefore, it is wrong to call people disabled. There are people who find we could talk about challenged, differently abled, or exceptional people, but for sure should never speak about impaired or incapacitated people, but they do not like the use of ‘disabled‘ either, though this was just a few years ago the clear preference in contemporary American English for referring to people having either physical or mental impairments, with the impairments themselves preferably termed disabilities.

more recent coinages such as differently abled or handicapable tend to be perceived as condescending euphemisms and have gained little currency. · The often-repeated recommendation to put the person before the disability would favor persons with disabilities over disabled persons and person with paraplegia over paraplegic. Such expressions are said to focus on the individual rather than on the particular functional limitation, and they are therefore considered by many to be more respectful. See Usage Note at handicapped. {The Free dictionary on ‘disabled‘}

De Kreupelen- The Cripples, Pieter Bruegel, 1568

Taking the “negative” term to mean a negativity over the whole line is what brings us in problems. Lots of people can not see the “dis” or “not” does not have to be a “non” over the whole line but can denote part of the matter, partly not able to do certain things, instead of not at all being able to do things. In Bible-translations the words ‘crippled‘ and ‘lame‘ came under discussion and like ‘maimed‘ they are not considered appropriate any more to be used. And many do not want to use the word ‘mutilated‘ either for damaged people. at the moment nobody has yet given objection to the word ‘bedridden‘, but with the amount of elderly bounded to the bed this can perhaps soon change.

All that what we call ‘political correctness’ is going to make life so much difficult. Why not call the things by their name and allow to have many synonyms be used by all people? It are those who see something bad in it who have a negative mind, and not the other way round.

Writer, dreamer, activist/organizer, and speaker/educator Lydia X. Z. Brown writes

Speaking from a purely objective standpoint, we as humans are all differently abled from one another. Some people are better at math than other people. Some people are better at public speaking than other people. Some people are better at cooking or even remembering to cook than other people. Some people walk and some do not, and of those people who do walk, not everyone walks in the same way. {How “Differently Abled” Marginalizes Disabled People}

This is something we do have to accept and have to live with. We as human beings do have to accept that we all may be different, though we are all created in the same image of God. In each of us is something which is a high quality and something of lesser quality. We have all our good and our bad points.

Today with the political correctness we can see that many have become afraid to use a certain word because some may come to implement an other meaning to it than they or some may become offended by the use of such word. By looking for a language that seems intended to give the least amount of offence, especially when describing groups identified by external markers such as race, gender, culture, or sexual orientation. No wonder the concept of political correctness has been discussed, disputed, criticized, and satirized by commentators from across the political spectrum and from the cultural and social field, because such looking for new words and doing away with accustomed words shall make it in the end impossible to just use one word or one term. Altering language usage can change the public’s perceptions and beliefs as well as influence outcomes but also contributes to the idea that one or an other word would be bad to use and has to be considered as offensive, and giving the idea to people that in the past those whoo used such a word had such twisted mind as the people who use that word today in the negative sense.

Those people who press to change the use of certain words are often people who themselves desire to eliminate exclusion of various identity groups based on language usage and or would love to target certain groups to reach their goal to exclude or include certain groups of people. We also may not forget that language also reveals and promotes our biases and that people are eager to make use of it to give their opinion over others.

Many people may forget that their word itself may be not the ideal word and would have a lot to be against it. that is proven by the words ‘neger, ‘niger’ and ‘negro’, when once this was seen as the more polite form to denote a dark skinned person it became a term of abuse and a nickname not to be used.

Today we see also that several people prefer to use the term “differently abled” for some one who does not look to have the same qualities as the mainstream citizen. The term “differently abled” used to refer to an individual disabled person is euphemistic. The intentions of the demander of another word may be polite or genteel. But often they do not manage with their mild, indirect, or vague term for one that is considered harsh, blunt, or offensive to find a resolute solution which can hold for many years. With the new term, proposed today we also find it is borderline cutesy and it diminishes the actual experiences of disabled people.

It suggests that the term disability should be uncomfortable and therefore should be avoided. What this does is further increase stigma against disabled people by discouraging discussion about disability and what it means to be disabled.

rightly writes an autistic and multiply otherwise neurodivergent and disabled, queer, asexual-spectrum, genderqueer/non-binary and sometimes read as feminine, and transracially and transnationally adopted east asian person of color from China (into a white adoptive family) person by the name Lydia X. Z. Brown, who also works to examine and challenge the privilege and power she holds as someone raised with middle and upper-middle class money privilege, a U.S. citizen and native English speaker, fairly light-skinned and mostly able-bodied (as hearing, sighted, and walking), raised in a deeply religious and engaged Christian community, educated in a private college and now in law school. She also has a fellow autistic activist/attorney who blogs at Silence Breaking Sound, and is mostly known in autistic/neurodiversity community for their work at the intersection of youth, disability, and queer/trans rights and justice.

Français : Tournoi Ultimate Fauteuil Handicap ...

Tournoi Ultimate Fauteuil Handicap International Nantes (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Wanting to put labels on everybody and on everything is something which has always been. Though in the past is was considered to be labelling people whilst now lots of people say they do not want to label people and therefore want to get rid of all possible connection of labelling.

using the term “differently abled” to refer to disabled people actually reinforces the idea that there is one normal way to be human — that there is one normal way to move, one normal way to communicate, one normal way to sense, one normal way to feel, one normal way to learn, and one normal way to think. It does not perform its intended purpose of suggesting that all people are different and that this is okay.

writes the author of Autistichoya.

R.H. (Rusty) Foerger who was born to immigrant parents in certain countries would be looked at with askance. Only because he was not originally belonging to that place where he lives know he would be looked at with disapproval, suspicion, or distrust. Raised by a widow since he was 15 months old after his father died in a car crash in rural Alberta he once more had a negative point for others when confronted with him. Over 30 years ago he met an East Indian woman with whom he serves as marriage mentors and teachers in their local church, where they have raised their now three adult children.

Having been been a lay pastor, teacher, missionary and mentor for over 30 years he recently retired after 33 years as a senior officer from the fire service, where, for most of his career, Rusty worked with families with children who set fires. (You can follow his writing on his blog called “More Enigma than Dogma” to explore “the enigma of our worth” and a prayer blog he curates titled, “Curriculum of the Spiritual Life.”

In his  previous occupation, on occasion he worked with burn survivors who would tell their story to allow students to emotionally grasp the outcomes of fire and burns gone wrong. He came to the conclusion that

Many burn survivors (survivors are adamant about not being called “victims”- since they continue to survive their burns) endure their burn injuries due to no fault of their own, but nevertheless have something to say about pain, burn prevention, and the permanent change to their lives. {Trans-ability and Identity}

In this day and age where we have so many cars on the roads and so many machinery at workplaces we are able to find lots of people who were confronted by the dangers of traffic and by the danger of those electronic monsters which do not stop when human flesh enters their big mouth.

Fires have always been part of human fears. Always there have been lives lost, but also people who could survive though in terrible conditions.

The person who tried to come to rescue when fires broke out has now entered the third third of life and is becoming aware of the role of elders today

“to enlarge spiritual vision, being devoted to prayer, living in the face of death, as a living curriculum of the Christian life” (Dr. James M. Houston).

He who is a life long and life wide learner who seeks to: *decipher the enigma of our worth *rescue from the agony of prayerlessness *integrate spiritual friendship, found burn survivors massively brave and fortified by surviving the initial burns, and the ongoing tortuous burn treatments – among the most painful a person can tolerate.

Burn survivors are not changed merely in appearance by their full thickness epidermis burns; their lives have changed relationally, and in ability. {Trans-ability and Identity}

He confesses that he too find it difficult to keep up with political correctness and the reasons for changing terms.

On the surface, innocently enough, the idea of promoting “differently-abled” was to focus on abilities that are “there” rather than those that are “not.” Thus organizations like the Excel Society state their vision as “Enriching Lives by Enabling Potential.” The word “able” plays into a lot of the thinking in order to “enrich” peoples’ lives. {Trans-ability and Identity}

He continues

In these days of our massive identity crises, in comes the new phrase and phenomenon of being “transabled.” Sarah Boesveld explains more in her article, Becoming disabled by choice not chance:

‘We define transability as the desire or the need for a person identified as able-bodied by other people to transform his or her body to obtain a physical impairment,’ says Alexandre Baril, an academic who will present on ‘transability’ at the Congress of the Social Sciences and Humanities at the University of Ottawa.

It is breathtakingly irrational for “abled-bodied” persons to deliberately “dis-able” themselves under the misbegotten notion that they are “trans-abled.” Surely this stretches the boundaries of identity beyond any sensible limits. And what can be said for doctors’ whose ethic somehow allow them to amputate limbs of able-bodied persons? Did they miss that class on the Hippocratic Oath?

Boesveld reports that “Researchers in Canada are trying to better understand how transabled people think and feel. Clive Baldwin, a Canada Research Chair in Narrative Studies who teaches social work at St. Thomas University in Fredericton, N.B., has interviewed 37 people worldwide who identify as transabled.”

Baldwin insists that ‘We have to move away from pathologyzing people and appreciating the very real distress [transabled people] experience…’

Some of his study participants do draw parallels to the experience many transgender people express of not feeling like they’re in the right body. Baldwin says this disorder is starting to be thought of as a neurological problem with the body’s mapping, rather than a mental illness…

He suggests this is just another form of body diversity — like transgenderism — and amputation may help someone achieve similar goals as someone who, say, undergoes cosmetic surgery to look more like who they believe their ideal selves to be. {Trans-ability and Identity}

When referring to groups of people, there is nothing inaccurate with saying that within the group, each person is differently abled. This is true regardless of how many able or disabled people are in the group. It looks that today many people are afraid to be confronted with the reality of not everybody being the same or coming from the same background.

In 2015 Rachel Dolezal, the now infamous civil rights activist, made headlines in June because she misled people about her race. She identified as black, even though she is not of African-American descent. As a child she was a pale, straight-haired blonde, but then  her hair was dark and tightly woven, and her skin deeply tanned.

Hillary Crosley Coker, who describes herself as a light-skinned black woman, on Jezebel wrote

“You can fudge how people may see you … but you’re still born of your parents’ racial makeup, and Rachel Dolezal’s is Czech, Swedish, and German.”

For in her opinion,

“ethnicity isn’t something one can really move in and out of physically or mentally.”

Margaret Wente of The Globe and Mail wrote

These are funny times. Anyone who substituted “gender” for “race,” and said those things about Caitlyn (née Bruce) Jenner, would have been denounced from the rooftops as a hate-spewing bigot.

Instead, Ms. Jenner was lionized for her bold, courageous embrace of her true identity. No one dared accuse her (in the elite media, at any rate) of masquerading as a woman. Race may not be malleable, but obviously gender is. Enlightened people have decided that if a man feels like a woman, he’s a woman. {Race and gender: I feel therefore I am}

The whole race and gender matter made us in France and Belgium, as teachers, security officers and/or social workers not to call parents by the title ‘father’ or ‘mother’. Somebody in charge of a community  may be accused for being offensive or not willing to accept the liberty of gender when using those old familiar words for those who are at the head of a family … or should we say “where” at the head of a family.

Some may look at the want of being of an other sex to be something wrong or not appropriate, an illness or disfuntion in the brains or consider it as a disability. Others consider suchpeople wanting to change themselves as people who want to take on a disability.

The author of “the best of social justice” (blog), who wants to write about transability and self-identifies as being “disabled in some way,” looks at the

The Tumblr Transabled (who) sit on the internet and moan about how the disabled have things so much easier, and how we’re so lucky to be actually disabled. {Why “transabled” is bull}

notes that

most of the people claiming to be transabled choose deafness, blindness, or paralysis. All of those things can be romanticized, and I suspect that is part of the problem. I have not seen a single person claiming to be transabled in terms of depression, chronic pain, postural orthopedic tachycardia syndrome, or any other non-romanticized illness. I have never seen a transabled person whine about catheters, shots, pills, or literally anything else that affects people who are legitimately disabled. They have this view of disability existing on its own; they don’t see/think about the medical bills, inaccessibility, and condescension that is part of being disabled, and they can not say that they do because those are things they haven’t faced. The condescension and irritation leveled at the transableds is not the same thing as the anger and pity the disabled face every day. “People in wheelchairs are a drain on society” is a pretty common view. {Why “transabled” is bull}

She writes rather sardonically:

So, other than the perceived romanticism of certain disabilities (which I think of as Helen Keller Syndrome [sic]), why do people want to be disabled?

Part of it, I think, is Tumblr’s environment. Everything has a label on Tumblr. There are so many different types of romantic and sexual attraction I can’t keep up, and romanticism/sexuality isn’t alone. People label themselves with phobias, mental diagnoses, phobias, sexuality, sensuality, romanticism, gender, sex, pronouns, age, MBTI types, literally anything they can think of to make themselves seem interesting. It’s a constant strange contest

The overlabeling phenomena has led to what some call ‘special snowflaking’, whereby people feel the need to peacock every bit of their deviation from the norm in order to gain attention. It’s become almost a Strangeness Olympics, with points added for difference and docked for similarity. This is not being who you are, it’s announcing that YOU ARE SPECIAL! {Why “transabled” is bull}

How common are specific disabilitiesAll should know that disability is something to be avoided as much as possible, and when somebody is limited by what he or she can do with her body and/mind, there should be looked for ways to integrate in the contemporary working society.  Still we do have to consider a misfortune when people have something which the majority of the population would not consider a ‘normal’ thing. When a person is or has become disabled, it is something to be dealt with. It is not something to be coveted or pitied. Disability is part of who we are, but it is not something we chose to be. Who would choose to be depressed, or in constant pain, or in a body that refuses to obey commands, or who would love not being able to hear or to see? Though not feeling to be in the right body we would never consider to be a form of disability however it is also ‘not being able to be’ something or some one.

In that respect we should allow all people to be what they want to be and to give full respect in whatever they might choose to be and surely to consider a person who got something bad over him or her to see him or her as a full being, yet not able to do everything like lots of people would love it, still able to do lots of things and some even much better than those who we call able citizens.

How people look at those who are different is something which has to be learned from childhood. Therefore it is not bad that the industry takes this in account.

It is not bad more and more we can also find in toys puppets which have no arms or legs or who show some deformity in their body. In April 2015 after UK journalist Rebecca Atkinson noticed the lack of disability representation in toys she established #ToyLikeMe® and hoped crowdfunding would help to reach the necessary goals to be productive enough.


Rebecca had spent nearly 20 years working in TV production and print journalism (including Children’s BBC) and had always been interested in the way these industries represent disabled people, but this was the first time she had noticed the lack of representation in the toy industry. She called on some fellow mothers, and with their help, launched #ToyLikeMe on Facebook and Twitter to call on the global toy industry to start representing the 150 million disabled children worldwide. Read the full story in a Guardian newspaper article here.

 

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Please come to read

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Previous articles

Why I’m Angry

The Real ‘Choice’

Lessons I have learned

A quadruped amputee not stopped from wanting to achieve her dreams

I will not be defined

Though disabled in the eyes of society able to do great things

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Additional reading

  1. New articles for October 2011
  2. Living with some type of physical disability in the U.S.A.
  3. A boy named Lou

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Further related articles

  1. Political Correctness: Mission Impossible?
  2. The Sick, Our Everyday Heroes
  3. Delivering a Diagnosis
  4. Much in the capital city eludes the physically challenged
  5. Brands for a cause: Maltesers
  6. Mum adapts dolls to have disabilities so that ALL children can have toys that are ‘just like them’
  7. Our Most Notable and Favorite Disability Articles for the Week Ending January 6, 2017
  8. Don’t Forget…
  9. I’ve Moved
  10. Meet Houssaine: The Story of a Disabled Tourist Guide
  11. Its Own Kind of Joy
  12. The Things They Don’t Want To See.
  13. January 13, 2017-Lessons from a Disabled Cat
  14. Just Connie’s Year #12 : Dance Class!
  15. My Vision….not really knowing
  16. Letters To My Countrymen
  17. Melania Trump, Astrosplained

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