In one of my class periods, my professor read a blog post saying that the “stigma” people have against mental health is actually “discrimination,” and then he opened up the room to hear views on this topic because he was still figuring out what to think.
Similar to my view on disabilities, I said that I think it just adds another unneeded wall to call something “discrimination” when it can be called “stigma.” For example, what good would it do for me to tell an audience that they are all guilty of discrimination when I could just address the problem specifically and give another option, such as, “instead of saying, ‘the handicapped,’ it would be great if you would use person-first language and say ‘people with disabilities!'”
I’m not speaking from a blissful state of ignorance that ignores how bad things can get. I know that people with mental illnesses end up in prison because there is not enough room for them in hospitals. I’m disappointed that my apartment has absolutely no elevators or ramps, and I would not be able to teach a piano student in a wheel chair. Because I have albinism too, I feel shock that people in Tanzania and in some other parts of Africa are attacked and murdered for body parts, thus making them more disabled. (And I believe that is discrimination, not just stigma.)
I would just encourage us to not cheapen the word “discrimination” until it means it means nothing when we blow it in peoples’ faces, except that it turns them away from our logical, well-meaning conversation.
Can we be more specific and attack the problem instead of the person?