Friday, July 1, 2011

The 'R' Word

Lately, Steven and I have been discussing the 'R' word (you know....that Retard word) and it's uses and connotations a lot.  With Steven being at college, he's been in a position (on numerous occasions) where the term has been used by lecturers and students alike.  Whether to make a point, get a laugh or whatever.  Steven has been quite upset about it and has had many things to say to all of those involved....leading to inevitable discussions between us about picking your battles.

From my own position, as long as the term isn't used in a derogatory or malicious manner, and happens more as a slip of the tongue, I'm usually ok.  And Steven seems to be coming around to this opinion too.  Recently Robert Rummell-Hudson from Schuyler's Monster Blog has also been writing posts around the term and something he said confirmed my beliefs around 'picking your battles' (actually it was just one thing among a truly fabulous post).  He said, "There's a saying that if the only tool you have is a hammer, then every problem starts to look like a nail".  I don't just resonates with me.

Anyway, I wanted to include a link to this particular post for you all to read.  I would love to hear your thoughts and comments on this topic but remember.......if you can't say it nicely, then don't bother saying it at all.  This isn't a forum for nastiness.


Becstar said...

Fabulous discussion thread! I don't like the word one bit- no matter what situation it's used in. I cringe when I read or hear it. I understand it's meaning but why not use 'delayed' that's much more palatable.

Another pet hate is the word 'Spastic' which to some, yes small/closed minded, uneducated and socially deprived people is perfectly fine to use.....but IT'S SO NOT OKAY!

Melissa Luxmoore said...

Thanks Bec for opening the discussion :).

I don't like the word but i have found myself in situations where very close friends, who really are the most gentle, understanding and caring people, have forgotten momentarily that they are in our presence and have made a little off the cuff comment with it. You know...."uh, I'm so retarded". The look of despair on their faces when they realise the slip makes me feel for them. I usually don't say anything and just let it pass....I can be pretty sure it won't happen again.

I think we also need to remember that we have all been brought up in an era where the comments, while hurtful, were common place. It's about educating an entire generation. It wasn't that long ago that 'nigger' was an acceptable term. ALL of us now know that the term is unacceptable no matter what context it is used in....I guess it is up to us to ensure that society becomes as educated around the term 'retard' as it is around 'nigger'.

Robync said...

I read this last night and had to process my thoughts before putting pen to paper.
When I was five I wanted to raise some money for a service in Melbourne, it was called the Spastic Society. At that tender age I knew nothing, but I knew that I hated that name.
As an adult I managed a support service for adults with intellectual disabilities, and when we went out in the bus people would say there goes the retards. ( i wanted to stop the bus and slap them, The bus was taken away so they would not stand out as different, trouble was, they then had to then pay for any outings.
Many of the parents were in their 80's and still caring, they often referred to their adult children as retarded, I never corrected them as in their generation they were told that was the condition of their child and that they would be better leaving them in an institution and getting on with their lives. Kinda like getting a new car I guese.
Do I like the words? No I hate both of them, however I am respectful of those that have grown up being told that their child was retarded.
Today society is more appropriate in their use of words, but really nothing else has changed, there is no more support for families and the R word is used just like the c word, to get a response. Let them, Karma will take care in the end.