Like many of you, I went to see the movie, Avatar last month. I was quite pleased to finally see a movie featuring a character with a disability in a key movie role.
The character, Jake Sully, played by Sam Worthington, uses a wheelchair in this wonderful film. Unfortunately, the many journalists talking about the film need to participate in Springboard’s Disability Etiquette & Awareness Training. The reason is the language these men and women have used to introduce the character from “crippled ex-marine” to “wheelchair bound soldier”.
They, like many others, need to keep in mind that the wheelchair is what enables the person to independently get around, giving them their freedom and that “crippled” is an outdated term.
So what would have been a better way to refer to the character? “Jake Sully, an ex-Marine who has a disability”.