Smyser-Fauble discussion of how technical communicators, not only have to be aware of what they do, but also of the words they use as even simple words might be stigmatizing and othering individuals, further illustrates the humanistic perspective of technical communication. This makes me think of how big is a technical communicator’s responsibility. They have to always be aware of others and the importance of considering the perception of others of any documentations and how it affects them. When I read the line “technical communicators need to be more aware of the rhetorical effects of language used within technical informational texts.” (102), I wondered who decides what is appropriate use of words or not? In the case of people with disabilities, I wonder if choosing words would be different from their perspective in comparison to words that people choose to use because they believe they are “appropriate”. I remember I once watched a video of a thirteen-year-old Qatari kid who was born without legs (and I am skeptical about the words I used to describe him here). In that video he talked about how people use the expression “people with special needs” (he used the Arabic expression) to refer to him or many like him. He stated how much he does not like when people use this expression to refer to them and thinking that they are being good for using this expression. Instead, he thinks that the expression “with disabilities” is better and he does not have a problem with it. The reason he does not like the expression “with special needs” as he stated it, is that it sounds as if they were “incomplete” people and is stigmatizing them while they are as good as the others are. He also does not like to be called “disabled” because he is not, but he has a disability. I wonder if giving people with disabilities the chance to reflect on words used to refer to them would change what we consider as the right or wrong word to use.
Reading Sackey’s chapter I was especially interested in his statement that “we cannot separate economic injustice from racism.” (209). Economy and industry do affect the environment. Individuals and corporation seeking to gain money working in industry usually would be thinking more of how to make money than how to keep the environment clean and safe. But how this is connected to race reminds me of the factories we have back home. They constructed factories in the edges of the city were I used to live. They believe that they have chosen a place away from people that might be affected by the smoke that comes out of the factories. However, the fact is that there people who live around that area and they are affected by the smoke. Those people are poor villagers who live in small houses and already are not given enough attention and care. I find the fact that they were not taken into consideration when those factories were built is a form of racism and a mistreatment of those people.
Generally speaking, I enjoy how the reading shows how technical communication is not only about academia and writing, but is also about human and just treatment of human beings and their surroundings.