RETARD

Yes.  I am titling this blog entry with “THAT” word, because I need your attention please.

First, bear in  mind that I use that word to make you sit up and take notice about what I want to talk about.
I am not using that word to insult, degrade, belittle, compare, or humiliate.  You may read about that distinction of language usage HERE.

Second, I will give you one chance when you use that word to insult, degrade, belittle, compare, or humiliate.  Then I will politely, calmly, and privately pull you aside and explain to you why it is not a good word choice.

I give you that chance because I realize that we have  become numb to the words we use and we don’t always think of the further implications or origins. I get that language is living and evolves and grows and changes.

On Facebook yesterday I privately messaged one of my FB “friends” that his caption under his sisters picture was inappropriate and incredibly offensive as he stated she “Wasn’t as retarded as she looked”.   I gently explained as the mother of a severe special needs child, it was wrong.

His response was two fold:
1.  He was not insulting my child but poking fun at his sister.
2. The word has been in the OED since 1910.

oh.  I see.  So her making a funny face and being called retarded is ok.  Because yeah– my child never makes that face (uncontrollably, by the way) and you didn’t mean ANY offense to special needs kids ANYWhere……
except that you obviously used it to poke fun, insult, degrade, compare, and/or humiliate your sister (even in “good fun”)

Second, there are loooooooooooots of words in the OED.
171,476  words in current use, and 47,156 obsolete words. To this may be added around 9,500 derivative words included as subentries. So just because it’s IN THE DICTIONARY, doesn’t mean that is a “good word” to use.
Hey!!
I tell you what– THIS WORD is in the dictionary too.
Wanna use THAT?

Of course you don’t.  Because it’s wrong and unacceptable.

That is the way we have to start thinking about the word I used in the title of this blog.

AND, if we are going by the standard of “oh hey, it’s in the dictionary….”
CHECK THIS OUT:
The Almighty Oxford English Dictionary FIRST defines it as a modifier:
Delay or hold back in terms of progress, development, or accomplishment:  his progress was retarded by his limp

Second?
as a noun:

INFORMAL OFFENSIVE

A mentally handicapped person (often used as a general term of abuse).
Oh hey.  CHECK THAT OUT!!
OED specifically stated that it is OFFENSIVE and a TERM OF ABUSE.
As this FB “friend” puffed himself up and tried to show me how “smart” he was I just said:
Barney? Goodbye
And blocked is ignorant ass.
So, lets save the word “retard” for its use solely as a transitive verb.
Oh, and if you are looking for words for describe my son– or other “special needs” persons?
Here are a few:
adaptable
adventurous
affable
affectionate
agreeable
ambitious
amiable
amicable
amusing
brave
bright
broad-minded
calm
careful
charming
communicative
compassionate
conscientious
considerate
convivial
courageous
courteous
creative
decisive
determined
diligent
diplomatic
discreet
dynamic
easygoing
emotional
energetic
enthusiastic
exuberant
fair-minded
faithful
fearless
forceful
frank
friendly
funny
generous
gentle
good
gregarious
hard-working
helpful
honest
humorous
imaginative
impartial
independent
intellectual
intelligent
intuitive
inventive
kind
loving
loyal
modest
neat
nice
optimistic
passionate
patient
persistent
pioneering
philosophical
placid
plucky
polite
powerful
practical
pro-active
quick-witted
quiet
rational
reliable
reserved
resourceful
romantic
self-confident
self-disciplined
sensible
sensitive
shy
sincere
sociable
straightforward
sympathetic
thoughtful
tidy
tough
unassuming
understanding
versatile
warmhearted
willing
witty
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9 thoughts on “RETARD

  1. Brilliant. Well said. I can’t let people get away with using the word “gay” to mean “stupid” or “lame” or “uncool.” And I try to discourage the use of “depressed” for feeling bummed because you ran out of lipstick or missed an episode of American Idol. Depression is real. And words really do make a difference. -Amy at http://www.momgoeson.wordpress.com

  2. Great post!! At the same time, I think that the word itself is of little significance. We could just end up exchanging the “R” word for another word that ends up being just as dehumanizing and offensive. We need to change the attitude toward people with disabilities and make sure they are respected. I starts with a word, but extends so much farther.

  3. Pingback: Use of the Word “Retard” | World On The Spectrum

  4. I unfriended someone on my FB page just yesterday for nasty use of that word. She said she’s “not a retard in a special school” and I was very offended. It was aimed at a government dept she was angry at, but I’m a mother of two kids with autism, one at special school. I want nothing to do with that sort of behavior. Great post!!

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