Today's letter from the Editor
Today's Matrices
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Maths Teacher

£110 - £200 per day: Randstad Education Leeds: Secondary Maths Teacher for spe...

Maths Teacher

£90 - £160 per day: Randstad Education Leeds: Secondary Science Teacher (mater...

Maths Teacher

£110 - £200 per day: Randstad Education Leeds: Secondary Maths Teacher for an ...

Maths Teacher

£22000 - £37000 per annum: Randstad Education Leeds: A West Yorkshire School i...

i Editor's Letter: Crimes against disabled people

 

There is one, tiny saving grace about today's story detailing the shocking rise in hate crimes against disabled people: the figures refer to 2011. One has to believe that this year, the figures will reflect a Paralympics-inspired drop in such barbarism.

I also understand that some of the rise is attributable to the greater confidence of victims coming forward, but there is no hiding from a one-third rise year on year. It is simply shameful.

Who are the attackers? Are they the people on my 27 bus? Are they you, or me? Back in the dark ages of my school years, like many, I was guilty of the type of ignorance that saw us all bandy around words like "flid" or "spaz" without ever knowing what a thalidomide victim, or a person with cerebral palsy, was. But, attack a person for being disabled? We were ignorant, not Neanderthal.

One positive by-product of the subsequent rise in political correctness is that we were educated out of our ignorance. For many years I never heard any of the many derogatory terms used against disabled people (I do not here see the need for "people with disability"). That is, until recently.

Among some of our young, insults like "spaz" and most commonly, "retarded", are bandied about in the same pejorative way that "gay" is. Unlike us back then, they know what the words mean. However, confront a teen, and they will insist they are neither anti-gay nor anti-disabled. And, they invariably are not. But it is a smaller leap to hate crimes from bandying such words around than it would be if we all understood how dangerous apparently innocuous language can be.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam
'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

Exclusive extract from Janis Winehouse's poignant new memoir
Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

The Imitation Game, film review
England and Roy Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption in Basel

England and Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption

Welbeck double puts England on the road to Euro 2016
Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Pictures removed from public view as courts decide ownership
‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

Donatella Versace at New York Fashion Week