I was born in the 1960s, a time when "You called a spade a spade" a time when a slap on the back and a good "wog joke" went a long way! (Even with the wogs.) By the way, my Mother told me WOG stood for Worthy Oriental Gentleman, so, at the time, I never realised it was a derogatory term!
When I left school and moved on into the "real world", I quickly became aware of other cultures, peoples sexual identities, their religions, their abilities and I became aware of the ever growing awareness that was soon to be called "Political Correctness".
I had previously been exposed to how hurtful it was to be intentionally described in a way that was meant to harm, you see, I was the chubby kid, so I understood this outcry for equality, for respect.
Now, I am a Mother. I am a Mother of two sons, one has Down syndrome and the other is Gay. What I did not know before about being Politically Correct, I now know about in terms of respect, inclusion and equality.
My sons, my neighbours, my Chemist, the girl at Woolworths, the Mechanic up the road ... all have one thing in common; they are all Human Beings. The fact that they have those roles in life or the fact that they may have Blue or Brown eyes makes no difference, they are entitled to fair and equitable treatment which also includes referring to them or addressing them in a respectful and appropriate manner.
My son who has Down syndrome is not "A kid with Down syndrome" nor is he "A Downsie", not even "The Boy with Downs" and most certainly not "A Down's child" he is "LJ" who also happens to have Down syndrome.
We can drill down one step further than that and talk about awareness when it comes to people who have disabilities or conditions of health etc., we can take enough of an interest in them and the issues that impact their daily lives, by getting their diagnosis right too.
To spread awareness, we first must know what we are talking about and today my friends I am here to tell you, my son has Down syndrome NOT Downs NOR Down's syndrome. Medically know as Trisomy 21, often referred to as T21.
So if you feel the need to identify a person by their, height, their weight, their IQ, then just remember this one thing, we are all People before any of our characteristics ... It will sound something like this ..."Wow have you read that great blog post written by Sandra, the person who writes great posts!" Well, maybe one day ... The Happy Ending is of course, that we all get it right!
How do you show your respect for others?