Of all the terms that emerged in the 1990s to describe various reference groups in “politically correct” ways, the one we still use is “differently abled,” meant to describe people who need accommodation such as a wheelchair to manage certain physical tasks.
When we think about it more closely, though, aren’t we all differently abled, since no two people have the exact same abilities?
Case in point: Oscar Pistorius, the sprinter from South Africa who’s gunning to compete in the 2012 Olympics. Yes, the Olympic Games, to be held next summer in London, even though Pistorius runs using prosthetics that look like blades. His legs were amputated below the knee when he was an infant, as he was born without the fibula in his lower legs.
Featured recently in the New York Times, not only is he campaigning to race against men without prostheses or other accommodation, he’s now modeling for Thierry Mugler. Do check out these photos where his full hunkitude is on display.
In Pistorius’s own words, from the Times article:
“When people see something that has a stereotype of not being perfect, or that we think is a bit taboo to discuss, it just catches them off guard,” Mr. Pistorius said, “especially in a context where they are so used to seeing what we as human beings deem as perfection.”
We’re in awe of Pistorius’s determination to do exactly what he wills.
Now, what were those challenges you were griping about earlier today? Which of your different abilities can you use to negotiate the obstacles?