Susan's Blog

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Outing “Retard:” No Longer Sub-Rosa

One of the world’s most effective disability advocates is my friend Tim Shriver. Take a look at his recent blog post, all about Rosa’s Law, to be signed (hopefully) by the President, to help us all think about how language matters; words matter.  Some of us may feel that this is an example of PC gone mad, but I think that is missing the big picture.  We have all seen the hurtful and rampant usage of the word “Retard” and it is time to shelve it with all the other slurs we no longer dare use.  No excuses.  Just end the word already.  And make sure you pass this message onto those who use it without even thinking.  If they don’t mean anything by it — why even say it?


I had the pleasure of hearing Tim speak in person at my daughter’s commencement exercise from UConn last year. A powerful and motivational speaker, I felt as if he was channeling his Uncle John. Something he said really stuck with me that day – “To reduce your life’s mission to a paycheck is an insult. It’s an insult to your intelligence. It’s an insult to your education. It’s an insult to your potential, and it’s an insult to your spirit.” I think the use of the “R” word can be categorized the same way.

— added by Joe Delia on Wednesday, October 6, 2010 at 7:36 am

Excellent news, and good riddance to that word!

— added by kim mccafferty on Wednesday, October 6, 2010 at 10:37 am

It would be nice if we didn’t have to legislate kindness and consideration. I’m afraid that the R word will continue to be used by the less well educated and the thoughtless. I heard it twice in one day earlier this week, once by a young female cashier at a pet supply store when she couldn’t get her price scanner to work properly (“This thing is so retarded,” she said in frustration) and once by an acquaintance who was complaining about her in-laws.
It’s a sad shame that the R word was once considered to be an improvement over earlier terms like moron and mongoloid. Even if, by some miracle, the word is eliminated from spoken and written usage it’s still going to be an uphill battle to change public perception of those whom our society deems less worthy of respect.

— added by Sunni on Friday, October 8, 2010 at 5:30 pm

This will be wonderful…I am amazed at all the people that ise the word. I was extremely shocked just yesterday when I got a letter from an ed. consultant that used the words “retarded individuals” in her c.v. So sad that even someone who is working for those with disabilities doesn’t have a clue as to how offensive the word is.

— added by Jenn on Sunday, October 10, 2010 at 8:45 pm