Disability Is Natural Books and Media

Our language

does our thinking for us.

Wendell Johnson

Question Yourself

Perhaps we’re in another age of enlightenment, and that would be a great thing. In the last few years, I’ve seen or heard the following expressions as book titles, on bumper stickers, and in other places:

—What If Everything You Knew Was Wrong—

—Don’t Believe Everything You Think—

—Thinking Errors—

And I’ve recently read two fascinating books: Sway: The Irresistible Pull of Irrational Behavior by Ori Brafman and Rom Brafman, and Mistakes Were Made (But Not By Me): Why We Justify Foolish Beliefs, Bad Decisions, and Hurtful Acts by Carol Tavris and Elliot Aronson. Like the phrases above, these books ask the reader to question assumptions and beliefs. Wendell Johnson’s decades-older book, People in Quandaries: The Semantics of Personal Adjustment, also encourages us to rethink our beliefs and the language we use. None of these books is specific to disability issues, but each has valuable lessons we can apply.

In the Sway book, the authors describe the “diagnosis bias” this way: “...the moment we label a person or a situation, we put on blinders to all evidence that contradicts our diagnosis.”  They also describe “value attribution,” in which we “imbue someone...with certain qualities based on perceived value, rather than on objective data.” And they include this quote . . . Click here to continue.


New Ways of Thinking and Revolutionary Common Sense