Urban Dictionary is a site, that, in their own words, lets users "define their world". However, the term "CEREBRAL LOLSY", clearly derived from the term "cerebral palsy" does not define my world, nor does it define the world of any other person I know that has cerebral palsy.
The definition of "CEREBRAL LOLSY", according to urbandictionary.com, is "WEHN SUMTHIANZ SOOAW FUNNAY YOU GET A life ruining disease." As a person who has lived with Cerebral Palsy my whole life, I am deeply shocked, sickened and disappointed by this "definition". It is inaccurate, derogatory, and the author is clearly uneducated on the realities of living with cerebral palsy.
Firstly, it is a mistake to refer to cerebral palsy as a "disease". "Disease" implies something frightening and contagious, and cerebral palsy is neither. The proper way to refer to cerebral palsy is a disability, as it impairs one's ability to complete tasks in the typical way.
More importantly, the author of the definition refers to cerebral palsy as "life-ruining", an assertion that is far from the truth. I have been diagnosed with cerebral palsy from the age of one, and I do not remember a time when I wasn't aware I had it. My cerebral palsy is a part of me, as much engrained in my being as my hazel eyes or my dirty blonde hair. It is a core aspect of my being, one that has shaped the courses my life has taken. It has in no way, shape, or form, "ruined my life" or the lives of those around me. There is not a single person I know with cerebral palsy that would ever say that their disability is "life-ruining". Cerebral palsy, as well as all other disabilities, only cause us to experience life a little differently than most. Disability is no more a cause for a ruined life than race, gender, sexual orientation, or any other marginalized characteristic.
By reducing cerebral palsy to a cruel and bigoted joke, the author has demonstrated their lack of knowledge regarding cerebral palsy and those who live with the condition. However, by allowing the definition to remain on the site, Urban Dictionary has demonstrated their willingness to contribute to the ableism in our society and propel stereotypes about people with disabilities. With the influence that Urban Dictionary has among thousands of youth in the generation of the internet, the company has the potential to change attitudes and beliefs about marginalized groups in our society for the better. Unfortunately, they seem to be doing the opposite. Urban Dictionary allows users to remove definitions from the site if and only if the definition contains someone's full name or constitutes an inside joke between friends. I am disgusted to see that they allow such bigoted content to remain on their site.
As a person with cerebral palsy, I demand that Urban Dictionary remove the definition of CEREBRAL LOLsy from their site, issue a public apology, and revise their Terms of Service to institute a policy of removal for all prejudicial content.
Cara Liebowitz started this petition with a single signature, and now has 206 supporters. Start a petition today to change something you care about.