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Mentally Defective politically correct?

Reply with quote Hi All,
I know it has been a while... years? I am not much active in web accessibility anymore as I am a programmer now for the state of Alaska. No more web design...

I did have to think of you all today when I was looking at a Job Announcement my wife sent me from the US Forrest Service, Law Enforcement.

I quote:
I have not been adjudicated as a mental defective, nor have I been committed to a mental institution.
- http://www.usajobs.gov/GetJob/ViewDetails/308664200

Really? Mental Defective? Hello?

As many of you know, I am technically Autistic, ADHD and Depressive... so would that make me a "Mental Defective?" I really hate this "Politically Correct" movement... but this seems just one step left of "Don't apply if your a retard."

I had to read that one twice to be sure someone actually wrote it that way. That said, maybe that is some acceptable terminology I have just never heard before. I can see if someone is mentally unstable you may not want to arm them...

It just makes me want to start singing Officer Krumpky from "West side story" where they sing about having a social disease! Just replaced with Mentally Defective.

So I figured I just have to post it here so you all can at least shake your head on a Monday/Tuesday Morning.

Cheers all.

[size=9]Kyle J. Lamson
Analyst/Programmer III, State of Alaska
Reply with quote Hi Kyle, nice to see you back on the forum. Thanks for thinking of us Smile

I had the same reaction as you - the terminology sounds pretty outdated to me! Looking it up, I see that its origin is in federal law. There's a related piece about it here: guns and mental illness.

For me, the issue here is that it's pretty unclear what the term means. So people who have suffered mental health issues, past or present, could be put off from applying for the job, even though this probably doesn't mean them.

Time to revisit the wording, I'd say!

James Coltham - Digital manager by day, web and accessibility blogger at lunchtime, freelancer by night. Tweets at @prettysimple.
Reply with quote Nice Link - Anyone wishing to follow up, the main part is at the bottom of the article where it quotes almost the exact wording as the job announcement, just that the Forrest Service dropped the inability the handle your own affairs part.

Good read though....

[size=9]Kyle J. Lamson
Analyst/Programmer III, State of Alaska
Reply with quote That term is centuries out of date. Should definitely be changed, although I imagine that's quite a major task.

The term 'defective product' is used when you buy something that works so badly you have to get rid of it. Applying that to describe someone's psychology is incredibly negative.

Then again, we use terms like "vision impaired". But that's for things which are simple and objective physics - such as being unable to resolve the letters on an optician's chart.

If a person is unable to resolve right from wrong, good from bad, there's a lot of grey areas.

A proven history (in a court of law) of causing harm to themselves or to others seems to be the essence of the restriction. I guess they allow other forms of criminality which aren't relevant to public safety.

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