Beyoncé and Lizzo are two pop singers who decided to take swift action and removed “ableist slur” from their songs. However, linguist experts believe that they showed “ethic and civil responsibility”.
According to Insider report, the Truth Hurts hit-maker issued an apology in June for the term “spaz” in her Grrrls track from her latest album Special.
In the disabled community, spaz refers to spastic cerebral palsy and calling someone by this slur means to make fun of their “uncontrollable body movements”.
However, Lizzo clarified that in African American Vernacular English, spaz is akin to “going wild”.
The singer did change the lyric mainly because she understood the power “words could have” on someone.
Beyoncé, on the other hand, also faced backlash for the term “Heated” in her song for her album Renaissance, which was later changed as per singer’s statement.
This lyric change controversy sparked conversation in the media on how disabled Black community experience racism and ableism in the United States.
“There are plenty of disabled Black people, and their concerns are significant beyond the language that’s used in the song,” said a Black linguist expert.
It’s often seen white people with disabilities compared their disability to race which is quite contrary because “ableism is an issue in the Black community and therefore these conversations should be had by Black people”.
Linguistic experts explained that there is a common perception among community and that is “if you’re disabled, it’s just like being Black”.
“Black disabled people experience both ableism and racism, and they are the people who should be speaking on disability issues relating to the Black community and its language,” said linguist specialist.
A Black linguist professional from Virginia Tech University viewed the lyric changes in the songs as acts of empathy by Lizzo and Beyoncé.
“They aren’t just being woke, they are not placating their fan base, they’re participating in long-standing traditions of ethic and civil responsibility when it comes to language use. “This looks like linguistic justice,” added an expert.