Thought Catalog

Why Are We Still Saying 'Retarded'?

  • 0

Let me first just say that I love name-calling as much as the next girl. It’s a cheap, easy way to reduce a person to a single frustrating, infuriating, or amusing quality. I particularly love slinging abuse on the roads, from the safety of my own vehicle. But every time I hear ‘retard(ed)’ slip into casual conversation, I reflexively wince. We’re an open-minded, educated generation, so let’s insult each other more thoughtfully.

For every time I’ve called someone out for saying ‘retarded,’ there have been ten times I haven’t and later wished I had. And yet, it’s never felt very satisfying, much less effective, to admonish my friends.

Once I was in my dorm room with a couple of guys who lived in my building. We were having a laugh at someone else’s expense when one of them said “That dude’s retarded.” I said, a little too loudly, “My sister’s retarded,” the same way someone would if he were messing with you, except that my sister really does have Down Syndrome. I showed him a picture of my family and watched him recoil. “I’m sorry,” he said, “I didn’t know.”

The whole thing went exactly wrong. I came away looking over-sensitive and self-righteous instead of him coming away looking ignorant. What bothered me the most, though, was feeling like the only way to make my argument was to invoke my sister. My friend didn’t stop saying ‘retarded,’ he just stopped saying it when I was in earshot.

Here’s what I should have said: think about what you mean when you call someone ‘retarded.’ I’d say I found the term offensive, but on some level, as with any dis, you probably use it to be offensive. You probably meant to hurt the person you’re describing, but did you mean to perpetuate a negative stereotype? Engage in hate speech? As Glee star Jane Lynch said in a recent PSA, “The r-word is the same as every minority slur. Treat it that way, and don’t use it.”

This week, I came across a video, ‘End the R-Word,’ that does what I’ve been trying to do for years: humanize people with developmental disabilities so that maybe, the next time you say ‘retarded,’ it feels personal.

Created by Idaho’s Treasure Valley Down Syndrome Association, the video champions the ‘Spread the Word to End the Word’ campaign the Special Olympics and Best Buddies International have jointly led.

The message resonates for me and for anyone with a connection to someone with a developmental disability. If you knew my sister, you wouldn’t call me ‘retarded’ and mean it as a jab. You wouldn’t laugh and say affectionately, “What are you, retarded?” You wouldn’t even use the word to sound self-deprecating — “I’m so retarded.”

But do you really need to know how smart, how positive, how incredible my sister is to remove ‘retarded’ from your vocabulary? Wouldn’t it be enough to know that you longer sound completely ignorant? I’d hope so. TC mark

image – End The R-Word

More from Thought Catalog

Thought Catalog Videos


    • Erin

      I completely love this.

      • Annoyed

        I completely hate this.

        First of all, I think it is the author of this post that is using the word offensively!! “My sister’s retarded” — what the hell is that? Why would YOU say that? Does her condition not have a proper name? Jeez. YOU’RE the one using the term in an insulting way. When I say to my friend or boyfriend, “Stop being retarded”, I’m referring to it’s ACTUAL meaning, which is that they are being slow or limited in their emotional/intellectual response or behavior. I am not insulting /or referring to people with mental disabilities in ANY way, and frankly I’m sick of people implying that.

        Here’s a idea. Instead of banning a perfectly legitimate word, why don’t you instead stop calling people with mental disabilities “retarded”. Their condition has a name and if you don’t know it, mentally disabled is the correct term. Seriously.

        With your logic, shouldn’t we also then stop using terms like “crazy” or “insane” or “deranged”. There are millions of people with mental disorders that I’m sure would find THOSE terms offensive? Should we ban them too? NO! Just educate your damn self and don’t refer to people with mental disorders as “crazy” or “insane” just like you shouldn’t refer to someone with Down Syndrome as “retarded”. Get a flippin grip.

        • Annoyed

          And in reply to the jackass below who called the person “dumb” for posting the proper definition of Retarded. You should know that “dumb” is also an adjective defined as “a person unable to speak, most typically because of congenital deafness.” See where I’m going with that?

          If you don’t want anyone to use the word Retard (even though they AREN’T referring to people with mental disabilities), you’ll also have to stop using the term “Dumb” (even though you aren’t referring to people who are unable to speak) because it’s the EXACT same thing. Why don’t you marinate on that for a while.

    • http://twitter.com/rockegan Rachel Helen

      I totally agree. It’s along the same lines as saying “that’s so gay” … it’s derogatory and inconsiderate. Thank you for writing this and sharing it with the world. It is so important that people understand that using certain words, even in jest, is just not okay.

      • test run

        right on

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1051560087 Geoffrey Abram

      retard
      verb |riˈtärd| [ with obj. ]
      delay or hold back in terms of progress, development, or accomplishment: his progress was retarded by his limp.

      just saying.

      • macgyver51

         You’re a jackass.

        Just Saying.

        • http://www.facebook.com/grc15r Gregory Costa

          You could almost say he’s a…retard. 

        • test run

          if you are a complete dick…  n*ger is also in the dictionary. f*ggot too..so unless you are calling someone a bunch of sticks, i doubt your comment has validity.

        • Koba Chan

          While we’re on the topic of definitions, have you even bothered to look up the definition of retarded? It’s not merely a ‘clinical word’ as you’ve stated DOZENS of times, it has an everyday meaning as well. ‘His growth was retarded by not getting proper nutrition.’ Please realise that it can be used in multiple ways. When people say ‘you’re retarded’ they are trying to get the point across (albeit rather crudely) that their intelligence is diminished, or that they’re acting stupidly or in a hindered way. Not everything is as nearly as big of a deal as you’re making it out to be.

      • test run

        you are missing the point entirely.. its a clinical word.. with clinical meaning. that has entered the vernacular.  so your defining principle of whether or not something is appropriate or ethical is whether or not it is in the dictionary? !

      • Nic

        do you understand that she is telling us not to use it to offend anyone? or were you just trying to be smart or something?

    • Guest

      Calling someone retarded is not the same as, let’s say, calling someone gay. Calling someone gay is offensive because you are strongly implying that being gay is a bad quality. Can’t we all agree being retarded is a bad thing? To equate calling people retarded to racial slurs and gay-bashing is to downplay the offensiveness of those things.

      • http://twitter.com/xsssy xsssy

         This is what I’m wondering. I don’t think these cases are at all the same and I think we should acknowledge that when we talk about why it’s wrong to say the r word.

      • Anonymous

        No, I don’t think we can all agree being “retarded” is a bad thing. Wow.

        • Guest

          If you were retarded you probably couldn’t follow this whole argument completely, but that’s not a bad thing? If you were retarded you couldn’t persue MANY occupations because your mental capacity would prevent you from doing it, but that’s not a bad thing?  If you were retarded you wouldn’t be mentally capable of having and caring for your own children because it would be too overwhelming, but that’s not a bad thing?

        • Anonymous

          It’s a characteristic of a whole person.

        • Guest

          Wow. You’re retarded.

          Oh, excuse my ignorance. You’re DUMB.

        • test run

          immaturity is more like it

        • Koba Chan

          Says the biggest insulter in the entire thread… You drip with hypocracy, amazing.

        • test run

          yes and you havent insulted anyone on here.

        • Guest

           You are awful. Obviously everyone is entitled to be offended by different things, but it’s simply fact that it’s bad to be mentally handicapped. I hope you are one of the people that have a mentally handicapped baby since clearly you don’t find it to be a negative in any way and it wouldn’t matter to you.

        • Reply to guest

          It still doesn’t take away your value as a human being. A human with down’s has as much value as a life as a nobel prize winner. All human lives are equal in value no matter where you’re from, what gender you are, what colour you are, what language you speak, whether you’re obese or fit, or how many IQ points you have.

        • Nobel Supporter

          I disagree, a mentally handicapped person that does a job that was MADE for them just to keep them busy (i.e.- sorting misc things, folding boxes, crafts, etc) does NOT make the same valuable contributions to society as, we’ll use your example, a Nobel Prize winner. One is a drain on society and it’s economy, and one has made the world a better place. I’m not saying one deserves to live more than the other, but one definitely has more value to society.

        • test run

          economy 101 would disagree with you. those mindless jobs, say packing bags at the grocery store, create revenue and fill a gap that NO one of typical development really wants to do. Putting one persons quality of life before another is just another way of justifying hate. Its sad that we live in a world in which members of society feel it important and their duty to critically analyses and compartmentalize people depending on what they feel is worth while. There are numerous other people who ARE NOT nobel  winners, yet they make significant contributions to society. Who are you to degrade others work? 

        • test run

          “If you were retarded you wouldn’t be mentally capable of having and
          caring for your own children because it would be too overwhelming, but
          that’s not a bad thing?” wrongo.. and this is why the average person should NOT use that term.

        • Koba Chan

          Pretty sure being retarded isn’t a good thing…. O_o

        • Anonymous

          It’s a characteristic of a person. It’s neither.

        • Guest

          The same way being paralysized from the waist down is a characteristic of a person. They are disabled and can hopefully go on to live a great life. That doesn’t mean it doesn’t suck they can’t feel their legs.

        • Koba Chan

          Exactly.

        • test run

          i agree that it is a characteristic… but that does NOT mean we should be allowed to call people retarded

        • Koba Chan

          No, if you had a choice between having a retarded child vs. having a normal child you would choose normal every time because being retarded IS a birth defect, or a horrible outcome of an accident. It is a disability and no one would choose to have it. It is not a positive thing and if you can’t admit that, you’re only deluding yourself.

          But I’d like to point out that I, in no way, hold a person’s disability against them, it’s not their fault. But it’s not an optimal way of living, do you see my point?

        • Guest

          Please stop with your ignorance. 

        • test run

          being an idiot seems to work for you

      • test run

        no calling someone “gay’ is dangerous in its implications for much of the same reason calling someone retarded is. it is a set term classifying behaviors that taking out of context or used by people who mean harm is offensive.. 

    • http://twitter.com/AllanStruthers Allan.S (Vyperod)

      Should we stop calling people stupid as well?
      It’s not like they chose to be stupid, so it’s unfair to make jokes about it.

      • Guest

        is this a serious retort? calling someone “stupid” is based on the name-caller’s assessment of another individual’s intelligence, which is never objective. i’m holding back here from announcing my assessment of your intelligence. not that it would necessarily even be “true.” right?

        • http://twitter.com/AllanStruthers Allan.S (Vyperod)

          And ‘retarded’ is used an assessment of someone’s mental state.
          For example, i’d assess your mental state as retarded.

          Now, the extent to how objective the insult is is not in fact relevant to my argument. It appears that you haven’t understood that though. So i shall reiterate (for your benefit)

          Stupidity isn’t chosen, i have many friends who admit that they have low intelligence, they have tried not to be all their life, but unfortunately for them, it’s just how they are. It would be unfair to use stupid as an insult, because it’s not his (or anyone else of low intelligence’s) choice to be that way. So to apply stupid as an insult to others has the same moral implications as you highlighted in your piece. 

          Please try and understand this time. 
          But if you still don’t that’s okay, we aren’t all sharp thinkers in this world :)

      • test run

        this is not a serious question, is it? did you NOT read  the article?

    • macgyver51

      .fs

    • http://www.facebook.com/skramer31 Stephanie Kramer

      Very cool.

    • Danaynay

      What about all the terms that are derogatory toward women? Why do we laugh when someone says, “grow some balls” or “don’t be such a pussy.”  Don’t get me wrong – it’s good to point out ignorant slurs, but come on ladies.  Stand up for yourself too.

      • test run

        grow some balls is a dis to men that is rooted in our inability to see things beyond  macho stand point, it is not offensive to women. you can, and most likely will, carry on and continue a whole onslaught of terrible language or bias remarks, but that doesnt make you appear wiser, or intelligent. 

    • KMG35

      Here’s my issue with this:  It’s hypocritical and I’ll tell you why.

      When someone says “that’s so gay” or “that’s so retarded” …. it’s just an ignorant dis:  not a direct dis at your sister with downe syndrome or someone’s gay brother.  If someone was deliberately attacking your sister, well then clearly that’s a different story.

      Now you’re also telling me there’s a more thoughtful way to insult each other?  Really, and how is that?  Calling them a jerk-off?  Asshole?  Piece of shit?  Oh yes, that’s more acceptable.  My point is that this is all relative.  Using retarded or asshole to insult someone is one in the same.  If you say something out of anger or frustration or if you just simply think someone is an asshole or is retarded, it’s just that.   It’s when YOU take it to that next level and call it a “hate crime” that it becomes overblown offensive.  Think about it.  You’re giving it more meaning & attention than it actually has.  The real problem is that people should learn to treat each other better, in general.  Saying its more acceptable to call someone an asshole then retarded is just passive & hypocritical. 

      • Koba Chan

        THIS!

      • Rose

        “Now you’re also telling me there’s a more thoughtful way to insult each
        other?  Really, and how is that?  Calling them a jerk-off?  Asshole? 
        Piece of shit? ” A more thoughtful way is to explain to the person why they are a jerk off or asshole. How are friends, coworkers or strangers going to relate to what you say or mean if they can not derive from the words you use meaning?  This is about thinking about meaning. This is about meaning making. This is about understanding that when you use the word retarded you are insulting an unintended party, so to speak………….. NOT just the person you want to insult. It is a mark against your intelligence to default to such typical labels. Be mean but do it with gusto! do it with PRIDE.  dont be passive aggressive and weak about it! insult to insult. The word retarded has a meaning behind it, just like faggot. These words insult other people, not just those you intend to insult. At this point a good insult to use against you is to call out the deficits in your critical thinking skills. SEEEEEEEEEEEEE how that works. you CLEARLY know how you messed up and how to correct your behavior. 

    • Chummy Worrshrack

      People need to stop being such politically correct whiners.  If you’re insulted by the term retarded, so what? I’m not, and there’s nothing you can do, especially writing a little whiny article, that’ll stop people like me from using it as an insult. Because retarded people are retarded.

      • test run

        so basically you are insisting that the right to opinions is null since it doesnt matter to people like you who you offend or do not offend? brilliant lack of empathy on your part. 

    • Koba Chan

      So we should stop calling people ‘idiots’ just in case we might offend a dumb person.
      Stop calling people ‘pussies’ as to not offend the female genitalia.
      Stop calling people ‘dicks’ lest someone’s penis has a problem with it.
      Stop calling people ‘bastards’ so we don’t offend someone who grew up without a father.
      Stop calling people ‘chicken’ because the poultry might revolt.
      Stop calling people ‘freaks’ because it might upset circus folk.
      I could go on and on. (And yes, this list is meant to be ridiculous.)

      You’re being too sensitive. I agree that saying something is ‘gay’ or ‘jewish’ or whathaveyou is offensive, because their is nothing wrong with being either of those things, but being retarded is not a positive thing, so calling someone ‘retarded’ is meant to get the point across that they are mentally slow or developmentally challenged (same as calling someone stupid). It’s not nice, but that’s the point of an insult. If someone were to call me ‘gay’ in a derogatory way, I’d just say ‘Yes, and I’m FABULOUS!’ Because there’s nothing wrong with it… I’m getting off my point, but you might want to let this go or you’re going to be annoyed for the rest of your life. Move on and grow a little thicker skin.

      • :/

        actually, if we stopped calling people “pussies” I wouldn’t complain about that tbh

        • Koba Chan

          True, I’m not a fan of that one either, but the difference (from that of the writer) is that I realize people have the right to use that word how they see fit (and I believe language evolves), but my high horse is in the stables right now, but apparantly hers was ready to race.

        • Guest

          way to make the world a worse place, koba chan

        • Koba Chan

          Care you actually explain yourself or just hide behind your annonymity?

        • test run

          just because you have the right to say it doesnt JUSTIFY IT. you missed the authors point by a mile. you lack the intellectual and moral character to see  dual perceptions and opinions and its strikingly pathetic. 

      • test run

        dick and chicken are not clinical terms taking out of context by morons.

    • Monica

      Always being a big part of the disabled community I have tried to stand up and stop people from using the word retarded. Yes the word is deragatory when used improperly, but in some instances it is the correct word to us. However when someone uses this word to describe an inanimate object or something that is not actually “retarded” they are associating their negative feelings toward that object onto individuals with disabilities. To me this is about respecting the entire community and recognizing their strengths and value to society. 

      • test run

         it is not proper unless you are a doctor or a social worker.. enough with your banter.

      • test run

        racist

    • Leigh

      Another note to all of those saying “there is something wrong with being retarded” just like being gay or being jewish or being black, those who are defined as “mentally retarded” do not have a choice in their state. In most cases they are born with whatever disability they have and strive to be as fully functioning as they can, and in many many cases there are individuals who live awesome lives. 

      • Guest

        This is so offensive to gay, jewish, and black people.

      • WOW.

        And I’m guessing you were “born” racist, homophobic, and ignorant – that wasn’t a choice?

      • sparr

        Are you implying that gay, black, and Jewish people choose to be that way? WOW. Your ignorance is profound. 

      • Koba Chan

        You are a horrible person for saying this.

        Mental retardation is a defect. Being gay, Jewish, or black is NOT. Not comparable. WOW.

      • test run

         personal integrity. your parents must have abused you to lengths unknown to man to create such a hateful bigot.

    • Anonymous

      TC comments, you never fail. I love that even a piece like this faces backlash. Hopefully the author knows to ignore it.

      • Koba Chan

        No, hopefully the author learns something. It’s not personal against HER, not everything is about HER (or her sister), she needs to get over herself. It’s just a word, not a personal attack. She need to chill the fuck out.

        • test run

          what nationality are you? skin color? sexual orientation. chances are you suffer from something called white privilege.  so its your RIGHT to tell the author to chill the fuck out? id like to know more about you. education…. etc.. you seem a bit unvetted to make such distinctions, complete with a very limited vocabulary and lack of global respect. you just look like a little vapid child with nothing else to do but sit online and insult well thought out and respectful content. you fail.

        • Koba Chan

          Do you have nothing better to do than troll everyone’s comments? You don’t know the first thing about me. And you don’t deserve any answers to your questions, because your obviously a racist twit. You keep commenting like you’re the defining authority on the mentally disabled. I don’t care if you’re a social worker or a therapist or whathaveyou, you are not a good person and that is quite clear. It is my right to tell the author to ‘chill the fuck out’ because I have a right to have my opinions just like everyone else, even you, regardless if I disagree with them. If you cannot handle dissenting opinions, then who here is truly acting like a ‘little teenager’?

        • test run

          KOBA you are defending the use of the word retarded!

      • test run

        agree people like KOBA… obviously a little teenager, have a difficult time comprehending adult concepts, like empathy. 

    • http://www.facebook.com/grc15r Gregory Costa

      Michael Scott’s words of wisdom: 

      I would never have called Oscar faggy had I known he was gay. You don’t call retarded people “retards”. That would be in bad taste. You call your friends “retards” when they’re acting retarded. And I consider Oscar to be my friend.

    • http://twitter.com/NIKO93 Alex Nikolov

      Now, whilst I agree with your sentiment that the word ‘retard’ can be offensive to people with development disabilities, it is important that you distinguish between a *derogatory* term, and one that is simply *profane*. 

      A term like ‘f*ggot’ is explicitly derogatory, and will always be a term used to disparage gay people irrespective of the context. The word ‘retard’, (much like the words cretin, idiot and moron), has now largely been divorced from its original medical meaning that would have referred to a Down’s Syndrome sufferer, (thus when using it, you would very rarely be thinking of such a person or using it to attack a disabled person).

      Thus, whilst certainly profane and insulting, the term itself is not derogatory. When I first started using the word in primary school, (elementary? whatever you call it in the states), I used it simply to describe people that I disliked. It was years later that I learnt about its link to Down’s Syndrome sufferers.

      So be careful when you assume association between meanings.

      • :/

        I love it when people defend their right to be offensive…

      • test run

        i love it also when people think it is ok to use terms like this in a manner that is offensive, then try to redefine it in a way to make it ok.. 

    • Guest

      Retarded is not a term used for people with mental handicaps anymore the term has been relegated to mean something different now, much like idiot and moron.  Idiot technically means someone with severe retardation and moron means someone between the ages of 7-12 with mild retardation. These are the literal definitions of these words, yet somehow no one complains these are offensive anymore. All three used to be medical terms. 
      While I absolutely do not condone the use of the word and have stopped using it, my problem with posts like these is that the people who post them tend to substitute another awful word choice for “retarded”. I get really frustrated when people get up on their high horses about using “retarded” but turn around and say “that’s so gay” or call someone a “fa**ot”.

      • test run

        actually it is. it is the CLINICAL term in the dsm4.. 

    • thegreendoor

      This is a great article. I never really correct people when I hear them say the word “retarded” because I’m so used to hearing it but I never use it. My twin brother has a learning disability. He’s high functioning so you wouldn’t really know it unless someone told you or you spent enough time talking to him. My mom is a family support coordinator for children with disabilities and I used to tutor kids with disabilities. It’s nice that people are starting to acknowledge that saying “That’s so gay” is wrong but I feel like everyone kind of forgets about how wrong it is to call someone retarded.

    • jessica

      Thank you. I too have a younger sister who is severely mentally retarded (like, she’s 23 and infantile), and this is my one major soapbox issue. I have no problem explaining my views to friends and acquaintances who use “retarded” inappropriately. (And for the record, I don’t use the word “gay” as an insult, either – I feel they’re similar issues.) No, your friend who got drunk and decided to do something risky for a laugh is not retarded. He’s a dumbass. Let’s call a spade a spade, shall we? I’m all for profanity, though, and I don’t think the R-word is profane. It’s just ignorant. 

    • Sama

      Ok, I can’t believe so many people are actually arguing with this article. The author’s message is pure and simple: “retarded” is an offensive insult. Stop using it. It’s not going to hurt to go an inch out of your way, and avoid using that term when possible. Stop making such an issue!

      • Koba Chan

        All insults are offensive, that’s the damned point.

        • Sama

          That’s a minor point. “Retarded” is an offensive TERM, if that makes you feel better. 

        • Darren Elliott

          I think you just made Koba Chan’s point.

        • test run

          point is this is a CLINICAL term. if you dont have a medical or social work degree you have NO RIGHT to use it.

        • Koba Chan

          Please save your arrgogance for someone who cares. Clinical terms used to include ‘idiot’ and ‘moron’ as well, so your point is moot.

        • Test Box

           you clearly care. you responded.

        • Koba Chan

          You just made my point, thank you. Too bad you can’t understand it, apparantly.

    • Darren Elliott

      This article is retarded.

      • test run

        your lack of integrity is noteworthy

    • Lambdabeta

      I think my dog is retarded, and he is totally cool with me say it. 

      • test run

        you are an idiot.

    • Tesia C.

      Sure, I can stop using “retarded” as long as English provides me with better terminology for ‘someone with sub-average intelligence’. I know many of these kinds of people and they need a new name, that is all. Instead of whining though, I think you should veer the cause towards making up some new words and definitions for describing the group. I think you fail to see that the only reason why “retarded” was used for so long is because English lacked a better term for “stupid person” and had to resort to the medical condition of actual mental retardation. It is NOT with malicious intention that “retard” is used to describe people with “normal by medical standards but still below average” intelligence. So yes, you do come off as a tight-ass because your friend did not mean to hurt your sister and he isn’t hurting your sister. This is different than calling something “gay” because the word doesn’t actually connotate positive or negative and therefore by using “gay” to invoke negativity is assuming that something/someone being gay is bad/wrong. I can understand that cause just fine. I’ve stopped using “gay” to describe things because I realized its implications. However, I will not stop using “retarded” until a new word replaces it, even if I had a family member that is mentally challenged (I do, actually). 

      • Volare

        I use dumbass pretty interchangeably. 

    • pigglypuffs

      I’m sure a lot of people has said this already but I think the issue I have with this article is that while I really do sympathize with the author and her family, I don’t think it’s fair to simply banish the word ‘retarded’ from the vocabulary of all of those around you when there are so many words out there that can personally insult someone. These are terrible examples but what about ‘ugly’? What if I’m hideous or a close friend of mine has serious body image issues? I can personally take offense to the word ‘ugly’ being used derogatorily because it is an actual issue in my life. That goes for ANY insult. I can take personal offense to not just widely controversial insults like gay or black or jewish, but .. insults a lot of us don’t think twice about: nerdy, ghetto, awkward… If I had a hard time growing up because classmates at school berated me for ..trying too hard..or being too fat or.. sleeping around, I would feel equally uncomfortable about my friends using related insults in a joking manner. How can one be so adamant about expelling ‘retarded’ from our vocabularies because of one’s encounter with down syndrome when EVERY insult can be linked in some way or another to something someone can be very seriously affected by. I think if the author wants to bring this up, she needs to consider EVERYONE’S feelings and whether or not they have extenuating situations in their personal lives that might lead them to be more sensitive toward different insults. In that case, she would be limiting all offensive words and essentially encouraging everyone to be incredibly nice all the time. I’m not against that. But I think the best solution is to just to be cautious and considerate of others and joke around when it’s appropriate. It’s my opinion that we shouldn’t have to completely stop using the word, especially when its meaning has, like others have said, evolved and largely dissociated with those with down syndrome. 

      • Guest

        You’re confusing  “personally” insulting someone and generalizing an
        entire minority of people. Just because people “don’t think twice”
        before they speak doesn’t mean they shouldn’t.

        • test run

          agreeed.. forethought please.

        • pigglypuffs

          I’m sorry if I wasn’t clear! What I was trying to say is that while it’s definitely  true  that people suffering from down syndrome are a minority that should be stood up for and should not be misrepresented, people who are suffering..say, depression because they have been ostracized for a majority of their life for being called..say, stupid is just as worth consideration. That down syndrome is an established medical condition, in my opinion, should not make it more of a soapbox issue than any of the other terrible situations that society pushes people into. To reiterate, we should not call people fat because there are an entire minority of people who suffer from bulimia or anorexia who would be more affected by that insult than we assume. I am in no way saying that because people often say thoughtless things, they should be allowed to in the future. I don’t think that’s okay at all – but I’m saying that this article ignores the fact that ALL insults are offensive. ALL insults should be a soapbox issue. Would ANY of us on this forum be able to say that we would like to progress into a society where no one insults each other? Test Run, for someone who is passionately defending the idea that we should not use the world retarded, you seem to really enjoy blatantly putting down other people’s opinions. It’s not practical to erase all offensive language. To be more clear, I don’t think that saying retarded is in any way right either, because putting ANYBODY down is not RIGHT. But simply expelling this one offensive word from our vocabulary is NOT the solution, it is a slippery slope. Our energy, attention and change of attitude is MUCH better spent on the healthcare, education and treatment of children with down syndrome than merely trying to stop the use of a word. 

        • pigglypuffs

          Oops, typo.  *Would ANY of us on this forum be able to say that we CAN progress into a society where no one insults each other?  Haha I hope that we’d all LIKE to do that. 

    • Hannah

      This post is retarded. 

      The terms “idiot,” “imbecile,” and many others were originally the CORRECT MEDICAL TERMINOLOGY for mental retardation (which is the correct medical terminology now).  But they had to be phased out because they became too insulting.  How stupid is that??

      We also forget that “retarded” is a word that means, literally, slow.  If you want to insult someone by calling them slow, have at it.  You’re using the word correctly.

      I don’t get offended when someone misuses the term “insane,” “crazy,” “bipolar,” etc. etc. though by following this logic I should be.  I also don’t get offended when someone uses the word “gay” in the same way.  I use those words in the same way, and I’m both those things. 

      It’s just a word.  And if someone showed me a picture of their retarded sister to try and guilt me out of saying it, I’d say the same thing to their face.  Don’t like it?  Go talk to somebody else.  I do not change the way I speak because someone else has a problem with it. 

      Build a bridge and get over it.  Life’s tough, get a hel…. oh. 

      • Guest

        You sound like a real gem..

      • test run

        you clearly have NO idea about the evolution of a DX or its methodology. those  were phased out, not because of any implication on its social use or the observed level of offense. they were phased out because they did NOT define the qualities of the DX. they were phased out because new studies and other evidence suggested they were inappropriate. SO unless someone knows the clinical back ground of a person, or they are legally able to administer various tests needed for the dx of mental retardation they should not use them. Your example of bipolor highlights this vary issue. NO one goes around saying “he is so bipolar two” or she is acting so  bipolar 1…. .the idea hannah, and im fairly certain you lack the integrity to understand this vary simple concept,  is that words hurt.

    blog comments powered by Disqus