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Thread: The 'R' word- My thoughts on it after a recent incident...

  1. #1

    Default The 'R' word- My thoughts on it after a recent incident...

    For those who don't know what the 'R' word is, it's retard. A word that I have despised for years ever since I heard some administrators and teachers call me that one time in the early '80s. I have always hated it when people call me that. If there's one thing that will set me off, it's calling me that word.

    I had an incident a few months back in which an older resident at my old apartment complex called me that after I had pointed out he was breaking the rules by being allowed to be in the TV lounge after-hours. The complex usually kept it locked up because of the fact that college kids are known to vandalize things while drunk. I've actually seen it happen.

    I had pointed out to the guy that he wasn't supposed to be in there and that I was going to report him. And his retort after I told him that I follow the rules after 16 years, he said, 'I don't care if you were born here you stupid retard, I'll do whatever I want!'

    Suffice to say, it shook me up. The incident caused me to have a lot of bad flashbacks that night and weekend to my childhood and it's what helped me hasten my decision to move and end up in my new home, which went faster than I thought it would.

    I of course reported the incident to the property manager and I will admit when I reported it, I was literally near shaking over it. She even commented on how emotional I was over it and even she said what the guy had said was plain wrong.

    And to note, I hadn't had flashbacks since 1998 when I was getting harassing phone calls from someone I went to high school with. I'd had bad flashbacks then and did the best thing I could- change my phone number and got it unlisted.

    I admit I'm still shook up but I am slowly getting over the incident. What has made me think about the word has been the incident I had with that guy and what I recently saw on TV. A report that has made me feel a little positive despite such a negative incident that has effectively forced me out of my home of sixteen years.

    A local high school near Cleveland has been pushing a movement to stop usage of that word. That actually made me smile that night when I saw it on TV. It made me feel better that there were others like myself who found that word offensive. I have my reasons for finding it offensive.

    As many know on ADISC I have disabilities such as Asperger's, a hearing loss, cerebral palsy and that's why I am so offended by that word.

    I take pride in what that high school in Cleveland's trying to do. It makes me think about that word and to me, I find it up there with other words that are offensive to people. Some people don't find it offensive but there are people like myself that do.

    So what I want to ask ADISC is this; what's your thought on the word? Do you find it offensive or not? Like I said, I've always found the word offensive. This is not an attention-seeking post but rather a way to start a healthy and open-minded discussion over the word. I'd like to discuss this thing with my fellow ADISCers and see where they stand on the issue.

    To me, this is from the heart and very emotional for me to write about. I had wanted to write this after the incident but I needed time to think about it. After a lot of emotional thinking, I feel I'm ready to discuss this in a calm manner with my ADISC family.

    Thank you ADISC, for giving me a forum to write this.

    Last edited by WildThing121675; 25-Mar-2012 at 08:00. Reason: Mild grammar mistake I wanted to correct....

  2. #2


    I usually use the word retard to refer to those who have the ability to think but refuse to do so.

  3. #3


    To me, there are inherently bad words and there are words which are used inappropriately. Nigger is an inherently bad word. I put the word "retard" (noun) in the same category. "Retard" (verb) and "retarded" I don't.

    To me, you may be a person with metal retardation (I'm not sure if Asperger's is under that umbrella, but I know CP isn't). But let's look at that more closely: you're a person, first and foremost. Nothing changes that. If I choose to call you a retard, then I'm choosing to regard you as something other than a person.

    If you have mental retardation, then you have mental retardation and that's all there is to that. If I say that you're a retarded person or a person with mental retardation, I'm preserving your dignity as a human being, and also saying that you happen to have mental retardation. If I call you a retard, I'm saying that you're defined entirely by that condition. If I'm saying you're a person with mental retardation, then I define you as a person with a condition.

    It doesn't make you any better or worse. Perhaps you're better or worse at certain things, like calculus, but I think all people have inherent value as people that the details of who you are don't change.

    I think this is a relatively common convention. I also think that referring to a group of people as "black people" or "the blacks" have very different connotations as well.

  4. #4


    Even mentally disabled people can show some signs of intelligence. So I tend to use the term "Retard[ed]" only when something is completely devoid of any intelligence, like reality TV shows, pop musicians or Skrillex fans.

  5. #5


    You don't call retarded people retards, that's bad taste. You call friends retards when they're acting retarded. - Michael Scott

    Do I find it offensive? Not really even though I have mentally retarded family members but I do know that it is wrong to call them retards to their face, they aren't necessarily stupid but just slow to learn and you shouldn't hassle them for that.

  6. #6


    Some words change over time, unfortunately often going from something innocent to something rude or offensive. The term retard, I believe, was originally a medical term meant to indicate somebody with a low IQ (something around 70.) If not precisely that, you get the meaning from things such as 'mentally retarded' from the verb 'to retard.' Now it's taken on a meaning to describe someone you consider to be an idiot in general, or just simply as an insult.
    Unlike Nightfox, I disagree that the word is now appropriate to use in any context. While you may mean the term in a strictly medical sense, one cannot escape the fact that the word has taken on another meaning. However well your intentions, offence is likely to be taken by someone at use of the word in a proffesion setting. I will admit to myself using the term in a derogatory fashion on occasions in day to day life, but I try not to use it at all if I can.
    It might be noted, the terms 'funny looking kid', 'cripple' and probably many others aren't exactly PC any more either.

    Other words that have changed their meaning include 'gay', which used to mean happy, then came to mean homosexual, and now unfortunately finds itself used as an insult fairly often due to the prevalent amount of homophobia.

  7. #7


    Words aside I'd be pissed if someone acted like that whlie I was doing nothing more than watching TV.

    Perspective, he was wrong to call you a name, however may have been justified in a reaction in that you started a needless confrontation.

  8. #8


    I don't use it anymore, well I try not to. On occasion it slips out, oddly enough normally I accidentally use it on myself, but in general I try not to say it. Generally speaking I try to perform due diligence when it comes to language. That said I can already tell I am going to have a lot of problems doing that with ablest speech in general, given the kind of huge range that people apply it on.

  9. #9


    Ironically, "Retard" tends to be an insult thrown around by people that lack the intelligence to think of something better.

  10. #10


    I don't care for the word. I have been called retarded as a child and I came to a point now where I don't care. If someone isn't nice to me because I'm "retarded," then they hate people with disabilities and they are bigots. I would ever hate someone for having a disability. If they hate retarded people, do they hate autistic people or ADHD people, cerebral palsy people, etc?

    According to the dictionary, retard isn't even a bad word. It just means to be delayed or to make slow; delay in development process. But then people use it as a slang when they do something stupid but stupid literally means lack of intelligence and dumb means unable to speak and idiot means lack of intelligence their IQ is under 25. Imbecile means the IQ between 25-50 and moron is an IQ between 50-69. All these were medical words and people started to use them as slangs so I fail to understand why people keep applying retard and retarded to a person with a low IQ because they will mind as well do it with these other words and get offended by them and say they are putting down retarded people. So that is why i do not get offended over retard and retarded. I did try and eliminate all those other words from my vocabulary but it's hard because then I don't know what word to use instead so I went back to using them. People are technically hypocrites when they get offended over the R word but find all those other words acceptable to us. They say things like "Why not just say stupid if you mean that than saying retarded?" I should tell them next time "and stupid literally means lack of intelligence so when you say stupid, you are still putting down retarded people and people who don't have average intelligence whose IQ is in the 71-84 range.

    What if they were to change the definition of retard and retarded, would they not be offensive anymore and would people stop applying those words to retarded people or to autistic people, etc? The definition of stupid has changed. Now it means lack of common sense or annoying or irritating, lack of meaning or sense. Even dumb has changed too because more meanings were added to it like lack of good judgment or intelligence but the rest of the original meaning is still there.

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