Reclaiming the term ‘Spaz’

Spaz is slang for spastic and can be seen as a derogatory term in by major of cases but for some people with cerebral palsy, including myself, it can be a term to be reclaimed as a part of our identity.

I often called me a proud spaz or the Proud Spaz because it embraces the freak side of my nature and how society sees me. By using the term I am making it clear I know I make some people uncomfortable and that I am taking control of the situation in the way black people use nigger and gay people use queer. I am not saying it is a publicly acceptable term but that it is a term I use and take responsibility for, as I expect a reaction.

I believe this is what Ian Dury wanted when he wrote the song “I’m Spazticus”, a reaction to make people think. And this is what the comedy of the same name also wanted, for tv shock value more than anything else. Those ‘disabled people’ who find Spaz inappropriate are most likely those who do not relate to it as language is a personal choice.