Tulsa Changing Ordinance Describing 'Idiots And Lunatics'
TULSA, Oklahoma - The City of Tulsa is changing the language of a city ordinance that includes outdated terms for people with mental issues.
The City has exclusions in the law that specifically mentions the terms "idiots" and "lunatics" - words that are now really offensive to people who work in the mental health field.
Melissa Baldwin, with the Mental Health Association of Tulsa says “That's clearly very stigmatizing language, very outdated, those are not phrases you would like to hear in today's society. It really is overdue to change this terminology.”
The Mental Health Association fully supports the change that is now going through city council to revise the language for an obscure city ordinance that describes who might be exempt from municipal prosecution. Councilor Ben Kimbro said the outdated language no longer applies. "Where these words hundreds of years ago had technical relevance, I would make the case that they no longer do."
The existing language in the ordinance describes "Idiots, lunatics and all persons of unsound mind" while the revised language will read "Persons impaired by mental retardation" and "Mentally ill persons and all persons of unsound mind."
For the advocates of people with mental illness, it's a refreshing change in terms that signals a broader change of heart.
“I think this is certainly an improvement and not as stigmatizing as what we currently have” said Baldwin. “That’s not how our current society views or responds to people with mental illness.”
The name change follows the recent City Council vote to eliminate "Brady Street" because of the namesake's ties to racism.