For each civil-rights movement in all of history, there have been slurs used against groupsfighting for their liberty. In the 1930s and ‘40s, Jews were taunted with one word. For hundreds of years, African Americans have been called another word. And today, gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, and any other person who does not have the same gender identity or sexual preferences as “normal,” straight people, are called still another. Many of these terms began innocently, were bastardized, and then found their way into the common vocabulary. And as if it weren’t bad enough to call gays and Jews these words, these terms have also been ascribed to people who seem to show even the slightest stereotype of each of these groups. For example, if someone is tight with their money, someone might call them a “Jew.” Or if a boy or man crosses his legs, he is called “gay.” I think we all agree that it is not acceptable to use any of these terms in a derogatory sense.
And yet, there is one civil-rights movement and one slur that don’t get nearly as much attention or respect as they deserve; the mentally disabled community and their respective scientific term that has been corrupted: “retard,” and its adjective, “retarded.” I hear these words used casually at least once every day. The concept that we need to get into our heads is that these terms are no different from the other slurs that we know and hate so much. Not only are they offensive to the mentally disabled, but using them as a synonym for “stupid” is extremely hurtful to whomever is being called this name.
Please, stop using these words, and pass the message along to those who have not yet gotten it. Please, spread the word, to end the word.
For more information about the movement to end the usage of these derogatory slurs, please visit www.r-word.org