What “Cripping” Means

Using the terms “crip” and “cripping” is one way of “taking back” language and power from the people who, and the institutions and systems that have used it historically (and, in some cases, presently), to harm and demean people with disabilities, including certain at times “crippling” physical disabilities (like Cerebral Palsy, Muscular Dystrophy, Multiple Sclerosis, etc.).  Language, control, and social power are thus asserted by people with disabilities and our allies, who have the right to speak for ourselves and act on our own behalf.  Therefore, by using the terms “cripping” and “crip,” instead of “cripple” or “crippling,” one may claim, strategically, that a host of well-meaning diagnoses, labels, treatments, options for intervention, and medical cures have the potential to be unwelcomed by — if not harmful to – the individuals they are designed to “help.”  An extreme illustration of certain “curative” approaches is eugenics.  Individuals with disabilities and disability identities have the right to exist, to make our own choices, and to be expected, included, and welcomed in all societal spheres.  Individuals who are disability identified have ownership of our own bodies, minds, ideas, thoughts, and feelings.