Beyonce to remove this 'ableist' word found in university language guides from 'Heated'
In response to Beyonce's song, Hannah Diviney, a self-proclaimed disability activist and Editor in Chief of Missing Perspectives, called Beyonce out in a July 30 tweet for using the word 'spaz' in a new song.
'Spaz' is often found on university language guides, which serve to dissuade college students from using terms that are purportedly problematic or hurtful.
Beyonce appears to be bowing to leftist activists by removing the word “spaz” from her newly released song, “Heated.”
In response to Beyonce's song, Hannah Diviney, a self-proclaimed disability activist and Editor in Chief of Missing Perspectives, called Beyonce out in a July 30 tweet, writing, “So @Beyonce used the word 'spaz' in her new song Heated. Feels like a slap in the face to me.”
So @Beyonce used the word 'spaz' in her new song Heated. Feels like a slap in the face to me, the disabled community & the progress we tried to make with Lizzo. Guess I'll just keep telling the whole industry to 'do better' until ableist slurs disappear from music 💔
— Hannah Diviney (@hannah_diviney) July 30, 2022
Beyonce’s team confirmed to Variety that the word would be replaced with the word “blast” and that no harm was intended. Now, the lyrics to the hit song will read “Blastin’ on that a**, blast on that a**.”
“The word, not used intentionally in a harmful way, will be replaced,” her team told Variety.
“Spaz” is often found on university language guides, which serve to dissuade college students from using terms that are purportedly problematic or hurtful.
Spaz is short for “spastic,” a medical term that describes muscle spasms. The National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke defines “spasticity” as a “condition in which there is an abnormal increase in muscle tone or stiffness of muscle” and could impact movement and speech.
The word, however, has recently come under scrutiny by activists who say the word is offensive.
As reported by Campus Reform, university language guides promote inclusive terms and dictate which words are permitted and not permitted on campus. They also offer suggestions for alternative word choices to promote inclusivity.
The California State University system tells students to avoid using “spaz” in conversation as it is offensive to “People with Disabilities.” “Psychotic,” “crazy,” and “loony” are among other words to avoid using, as well.
Arizona State University’s Disability Language Style Guide, promoted by the National Center on Disability and Journalism, refers to “spastic” and “spaz” as a “derogatory term” for people with cerebral palsy.
Northwestern University’s Inclusive Language Guide offers a subsection for “People with Disabilities,” arguing that ableist terms “emerge in everyday language and as figures of speech.”
A copy of Western Washington University's (WWU) associated students' inclusive language guidelines shows they suggest replacing words such as “spaz” and “stupid” with “illogical,” “absurd,” or “wild.”
According to WWU, "spaz" is an example “of Ableist language, which is any word or phrase that intentionally or inadvertently targets an individual with a disability whether it be physical or mental."
The guide notes that there are “so many other words” that can replace offensive language and encourages students to “[g]et creative.”
Federal agencies have been implementing language guidelines, as well.
Campus Reform reported that The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released guidelines similar to those on college campuses.
The CDC’s guidelines suggest using the phrase “People who use a wheelchair or mobility device” rather than say “[c]onfined to a wheelchair or wheelchair-bound.” Instead of “[d]isabled,” say “[p]eople with disabilities/a disability.”
Now, however, language policing is beyond the confines of public universities and federal agencies, trickling into pop culture with Beyonce as the latest target.
Campus Reform contacted every university mentioned as well as Hannah Diviney for comment. This article will update accordingly.
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