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Friday, January 15, 2010

"Retard!"

As of just a little while ago, I became a member of a FaceBook group that advocates for children and adults with mental and physical handicaps. The group centers their advocacy around educating the public about using the term "retard" when referring to severely handicapped persons.

Here is the link for the group. Check it out if you are interested. http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=5039649875 (Please Don't Say "Retard")

My son, as some of my readers know, is deemed by our state as being handicapped. He has several mental disorders that affect his ability to have a "normal" life that his peers have. He struggles daily in some form or fashion with his symptoms, which are many to count.

At one time, I myself was legally deemed handicapped. I even had a special parking sticker for my parent's car. I required a tracheotomy from birth, until I was almost a teenager. And I also had required carrying around specialized equipment in the car where ever we went, in case I needed assistance with clearing my lungs.

There were countless times through those years that men, women and children alike would gawk and stare at me. They would point and snicker. There would be whispers here and there as well. And there was also the occasional "If that were MY kid, I wouldn't take IT out in public. Not when they are RETARDED like that".

Sometimes, it was loud enough that my parents could hear it plain as day. Those people WANTED THEM TO hear what they said.

Other times, people would say it low enough, thinking that they aren't being heard. All the while, my parents could hear them. Believe me. And those people knew it by the way my parents would cut their eyes and walk away. With their heads held high of course.

Words DO cut. They do HURT others. Especially when the words are used in an inappropriate, meaningfully hurtful, non-medical terms. Especially the word 'retard' or 'retarded'.

Here is the definition for "retarded"...

http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/retard

re⋅tard

/rɪˈtɑrd, for 1–3, 5; ˈritɑrd for 4/ Show Spelled Pronunciation [ri-tahrd, for 1–3, 5; ree-tahrd for 4] Show IPA
–verb (used with object)
1.
to make slow; delay the development or progress of (an action, process, etc.); hinder or impede.
–verb (used without object)
2.
to be delayed.
–noun
3.
a slowing down, diminution, or hindrance, as in a machine.
4.
Slang: Disparaging.
a.
a mentally retarded person.
b.
a person who is stupid, obtuse, or ineffective in some way: a hopeless social retard.
5.
Automotive, Machinery. an adjustment made in the setting of the distributor of an internal-combustion engine so that the spark for ignition in each cylinder is generated later in the cycle.

1 comment:

Quiet Waters Rise said...

I agree with you, words do "cut" and they also shape our personalities, fears, and beliefs.

We all know the famous adage of "Sticks & Stones ...", but as much as we may try, words do hurt and have an effect on us.

There are people out there who are cruel and who say things to intentionally hurt another person. But I think the majority of people speak without stopping to realize the impact of their words. If only people could do that, it would make a large difference.

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