Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Retards of the World Unite! You Have Nothing to Lose But Your Bicycle Helmets!

The push is on to abolish the term "retard." To those with mental disabilities, it is apparently hurtful.

To retard something is to slow it down (e.g. this medication will retard your heart rate).

It's a good word, and versions of it are used every day in schools. Late students are tardy (which brings the question: if they are tardy a second time, are they re-tardy?)

Seriously, what is so hurtful about this? Mentally disabled people are, as the term "retarded" suggests, "slow." If "retarded" is hurtful, then so should be the term "mentally disabled."

I'll grant you that "retarded" is a common pejorative for people who do stupid things or for people who are just plain stupid.

So shouldn't any term that identifies a person as mentally impaired be "hurtful" to those who are medically retarded?

Suppose a guy cuts me off of the highway, and I yell that he's an idiot.

An idiot is someone who either doesn't think, doesn't think properly, or who thinks not quite enough.

A retarded person is the same thing. His mental disability prevents him from thinking well.

What's the difference?

The answer is that there is no real difference. This is just another example of Americans seeking the heroic glory of victimhood. In this country, we hate our business leaders, but we love our victims.

This whole move to abolish the word--it's retarded.

Don't play games with words. If people suddenly start using the term "retarded" to describe a silly or stupid thing, this will not make those with mental disabilities suddenly more cognitive.

This is much the same as the movement to end the use of the N-bomb (i.e. nig*er). As if the word itself was the cause of racism. In fact, the word is a variation of the Spanish word negra, which means nothing more than "black." In German, the word is negerin.

It's just a word. The current preference is "African-Americans;" but what if a black/colored man is an Australian Aborigine? He's not African. What about Egyptians? They live in Africa, but we don't refer to them as "African-Americans."

Sure, I don't use the N-bomb because of its hostile connotation, but, if suddenly no one knew the meaning of the word, racism would still exist.

Similarly, if nobody used the word retard or retarded, it's not as if we wouldn't notice that some people are cognitively impaired.

Let's put this into perspective.

In American history, the term "secessionist" has been made connotative to treasonist.

Since I think that the South should have been allowed to secede, I take offense to the connotation of "secessionist."

Does this make Southerners of the time any less secessionist? No, it doesn't; so it's a stupid argument.

1 comment:

  1. I don't know for sure, but was the term "mentally retarded" at one time nicer than the commonly used reference of "stupid"? People will eventually use whatever is chosen as a nicer version of a label in a negative way. Eventually kids will say, "You're so impaired!"


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