What’s that you say … retard?

Using the word “retard” is part of our language. It’s slang for dumb, stupid, moron, idiot, fool. It’s just a word — no offense meant. Okay, I understand.

But I also ask you to try to understand that using this word perpetuates a negative stereotype. When you say it to your buddies, it’s a slap in the face of every person who actually lives with a mental disability. Yup, truly it’s just a word but if you know it’s offensive to a whole bunch of people who live, work and play really hard to do most of the things you find easy to do — maybe it’s a word you can live without. Maybe it’s a word you’re willing to delete from your vocabulary, just because you’re a decent person who understands life is difficult enough when you have Down’s Syndrome (or any other number of mental disabilities).

There really isn’t anything funny about being “special” (when you are referring to a person with a disability) or “retarded” — it’s actually a road full of challenges, at best. I love a good laugh as much as the next person, just not at the expense of another. Having three kids with disabilities, I can tell you that we have shared a lot of laughs, tears and heartache.

Honestly, your choice NOT to use this offensive word, will make a difference to ME. You won’t cure any of my kids’ disabilities with this request, but you will begin to help make this a more accepting and inclusive world. A world where we all can feel okay about who we are, no matter what.


About dbdaze

Currently spending much of my time contemplating the remainder of my life ... realizing the importance of dreams that are fulfilled, support of those closest to you, and the value in downsizing and living with less.
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4 Responses to What’s that you say … retard?

  1. Good point and well taken. Thanks for bringing this to folks’ attention. I myself have wondered if people whom have children with disabilities would take offense to this. I know people mean it to be playful with each other, but it is not playing when it hurts another. I myself must apologize.

  2. missionmom says:

    While hearing and using the word retard might not affect you personally, for the millions of people living with special needs, it’s a stab in their chest. Do you use the N word? Bet not. What about other slurs? Why are you holding onto retard so dearly? Of course you have the right to use it. Just wondering why you would when it only continues the marginalization of people with differences. You shouldn’t have to have a family member with special needs to get what we are saying. Sad for you not to see that.

    • dbdaze says:

      I don’t approve but I understand that most folks who use this word aren’t intending to be hurtful. What I don’t understand is the almost violent response you receive when you bring it to their attention. You’re right, you shouldn’t have to have a family member with special needs to understand so it blows me away when they react so vehemently when it’s brought to their attention. What’s not to understand??

  3. Judith says:

    Oh Debbie I really get very angry when I hear anybody referring to another as a retard. I recently took Grandson No 3 to task for calling his younger brother a retard. I explained to him just what the word meant and how it isn’t acceptable to use it. Hopefully, he will learn.
    Thanks for sharing. 🙂

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