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Quit Using The Word “Retarded” In Three Easy Steps

How To Quit Saying The R-Word

Are you a frequent “R-word” abuser? Do you know it’s wrong to say but just can’t quit? Follow these three easy steps and you will be on your way to freedom from using outdated and offensive vernacular!

Perhaps you have come here for help. You realize that you have been using the word “retarded” indiscriminately for years now and it is so ingrained in your psyche that you just can’t stop. Here are three easy steps to make your life (and the lives of others around you) a little bit better.

1. Watch: Not Acceptable R-word PSA by Spread The Word to End The Word

This 35 second video clip probably makes the strongest argument for NOT using the “R-word”.

2. Read This: How to Avoid Using the Word “Retarded” by wikiHow

In this “How-to” article by wikiHow, the authors explain (with visuals) how to avoid using the “R-word”.

Here is Step One:

Keep the definition in mind. The word “retarded” literally is an offensive term for people with intellectual disabilities. By calling someone else “retarded” in an insulting manner, you’re suggesting that having these disabilities is something to poke fun at or be teased for, which it is not.

To Read More…

Do not call something you don’t like “retarded”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

3. Find Different Words To Use: 225 Substitutes for the R-word by Terri Mauro

Terri Mauro (of specialchildren.about.com) wrote a fabulous piece on words you can use instead of the “R-word”. Here are some of my favorites:

Often, when asked not to use the R-word, defensive speakers will reply, “You can’t say anything these days!” But people, that’s just a failure of imagination…

For: I am such a(n) ______________. Use: birdbrain, chucklehead, lummox, nincompoop, yahoo

For: You’re so _________________. Use: brainless, cuckoo, daft, kooky, scatterbrained

For: This is ___________________. Use: asinine, bizarro, inane, sophomoric, plebeian

I would also like to add one to the mix… derpy. (See CommentsTo Read More…

While it is easy to chalk it up to “political correctness”, as I have written about before, the words you choose to say matter. Hopefully this post will give you something to think about and perhaps even change your behavior. If you are still not convinced, maybe these posts will adjust your perspective.

5 Things People Don’t Get About The Word “Retard”

What’s Wrong with ‘Retard’?

“That’s So Retarded” – Why I Stopped Saying This, And You Should Too.

Thanks for your time and attention.

Do you have post that you think makes a strong case for not using the “R-word”? Please tell us about it in the comments section below!

Photo Credit: benchilada & meghantosh

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Tim Villegas

Founder and Curator-At-Large at Think Inclusive
Tim Villegas has worked in the field of special education and with people with disabilities for over ten years. Tim has turned his passion for blogging and promoting ideas about inclusive schools and communities into his own website, thinkinclusive.us. He believes that we can create a bridge between educators, parents, and advocates (including self-advocates) to promote ideas, innovation and inspiration to change our world to be more accepting and value each and every human being. Tim lives with his fetching wife and three adorable children in Marietta, GA.

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  • Leah Kelley

    Tim – thank you for a great post on an important issue! As requested, here is a link to our experiences with this! http://30daysofautism.wordpress.com/2013/01/06/autism-empathy-and-the-r-word/

    • Tim Villegas

      Thanks Leah! Your post is great! So proud of H. :)

  • RagsOnYouSchwags

    all these words started out in the mental health community and spread their way into the public vernacular: idiot, moron, retarded, handicapped. all perfectly acceptable terms until they became bastardized by common use. as soon as the word becomes common use the health community changes it to reduce the stigma, but it just shifts it along to the new word. i bet in twenty to thirty years you’ll be telling people it’s hateful to use the word “autistic.” because history shows that that’s how it goes.

    • Tim Villegas

      I don’t entirely disagree with you. When I started in the field of special education we still used the eligibility category of “mentally retarded” in public schools. I would point out some other words that society once deemed acceptable like the “N-word” or any number of other racial slurs. These words are now deemed unacceptable because of the advocacy of these minority groups and society as a whole understanding these words are offensive and (like you said) stigmatizing to these groups. The word “autistic” is an entirely different matter… “autistic” is a word that self-advocates have suggested to use rather than “person with autism” because their autism is part of their identity. Ultimately, I believe it is important to listen to what self-advocates are saying… Thanks for your comment.

      • Michelle Bianco Ekross

        I think you have it backwards! I was taught to use “person with autism (diabetes, etc.)” because a person is a person first, and their disease is not their whole identity.

        • Tim Villegas

          When I first began my career in special education I thought the same thing. Students with autism…students with cerebral palsy…etc… It was only when I began developing relationships with autistic self-advocates and listening to what they preferred to be called that my mind was changed. Here is a link to an article about “person-first” vs. “identity-first” language that might help clarify the issue: http://autisticadvocacy.org/identity-first-language/ Thanks for the comment. BTW…I think that identifying autism as a disease is a mistake. Here is why: http://www.michigandaily.com/arts/melanie-yergeau-autistic-self-advocacy

          • Michelle Bianco Ekross

            Yes, I should have used condition instead of disease. I was referring to diabetes as a disease. I will continue to ask people with various conditions how they prefer to be referred to. I prefer to say Jeff has type 1 diabetes, or Jeff is diabetic; Walter has autism, or Walter is autistic.

        • Kimberly

          First off, autism is not a disease. I am autistic, and so are many of my friends. We all refer to ourselves as autistic, or aspies. It is a part of who we are. We embrace that as part of us. No one I know takes offense to that. Saying someone has autism makes it sound more like a bad thing. People say that person has cancer, aids, etc. The negative stigma associated with autism is only going to continue if people keep treating as something that should behidden, like adding it on at the end as a deficit when you say that person has autism.

          • Michelle Bianco Ekross

            In my reply I said I know autism is not a disease. I am sorry I used the word disease. I certainly did not mean to offend. I have autistic cousins and friends and I know people can refer to themselves in ways that are not acceptable for others to say, so I just make sure I treat everyone as an individual and not a stereotype. I ask when appropriate. Thank you for your comments.

          • Kimberly

            Thank you for reading my response. I hope I did not come across as offensive to you. I did see where you said it is not a disease. I have attached a link for you to read. The article states that autistic individuals like to embrace that and consider it a part of them, using the term “autistic”. People who are ashamed of it, such as the boys mother in the article, say person with autism, as they are trying to distance themselves from that, like it is not a part of who they are. I appreciate that you wish to do as someone prefers, I was just hoping to inform you that to the asd population, being called autistic is always a more positive, less derogatory term than having autism. http://www.autistichoya.com/2011/08/significance-of-semantics-person-first.html?m=1

    • thehomelessguy

      it is never the word, but the intent behind the use of the word, that may be offensive. And you CANNOT change offensive intent by removing words from the vernacular.

      • Tim Villegas

        This is really good point. The intent is really what is at issue. I support not using the “R-Word” because so many people with disabilities has spoken out against this particular word. I think going as far as “banning” people from saying the word (meaning making it illegal) is preposterous. It comes down to awareness for me and that is the reason I wrote this piece. Here is a letter that John Franklin Stephens (a self-advocate with Down syndrome) penned after Ann Coulter used the “R-word” to describe Pres. Obama via the Special Olympics website: http://specialolympicsblog.wordpress.com/2012/10/23/an-open-letter-to-ann-coulter/ Thanks for your comment.

      • txsaint

        I clicked like BUT, retarded is not the recognized term anyway. It is legally and officially “intellectual disability.” There are very few instances when you would use the word retarded that are not condescending, and that’s the whole point.

    • Down Wit Dat

      The word “autistic” is used by the self advocacy community as a self descriptor.

    • Aaron

      You’re absolutely correct. It is not the words we use, but the purpose and intent behind them. If enough people were to start using “autistic” then the balance would shift, and we would no longer think anything differently about “retard”.

      I think we should stop with the useless battle on specific words, and instead worry about the purpose and intent behind these words.

      “They’re just words, they don’t control us”

      • Wren Around

        Words can be structural violence. They can be used by people in power to deny marginalized people employment, education, housing, healthcare, and freedom. If you’ve ever gotten a job application returned to you with a note that says, “Deaf-do not hire”, you wouldn’t make such a reductive statement about the powerlessness of words.

        • balance

          Perhaps put it this way. If the N-word had been a word with a useful
          definition before it was applied as an insult, maybe it would have some
          claim to usage, but since it’s basically only existing to insult, we
          frown on it.

          The word retard/retarded has historical use as a
          verb and adjective that refer to slowed development, and there is still a
          need to talk about that concept in many areas, so talking about “never
          using the R-word” creates an environment hostile to people just trying
          to talk about something that doesn’t really have a useful synonym. Get
          creative and invent an alternative if you think the word itself needs to
          be eradicated. But it probably doesn’t need to be eradicated, because
          those who choose to insult others will still find a way to do so, and
          adding judgement of innocent people for using a legitimate word in a
          non-insulting way isn’t going to help, but muddy things further.

    • Charlie

      It’s already happening. “Autistic” is gaining ground as a derogatory term for people with poor communication skills. Meanwhile people whose tempers are not sufficiently predictable are called “Bipolar,” and people prone to impulsive behaviours have “Tourettes.” And honestly, I think that in most case, the people who use these terms out of context as an insult bear absolutely no ill will or disrespect towards people who actually have disabilities. They’re just so bad at verbal communication that they don’t know how to emphasise their point whilst still saying what they actually mean to say, so they end up grabbing at exaggerations and broad associations, picking on something (and in this case somebody) that’s far outside the situation at hand. I think that if we work on educating people so that they habitually say exactly what they mean, we’ll make a lot more progress in cleaning up the way we talk. This current approach of deeming words offensive as they become misused isn’t going to get us anything but a longer list of offensive words.

      • RagsOnYouSchwags

        “They’re just so bad at verbal communication that they don’t know how to
        emphasise their point whilst still saying what they actually mean to
        say, so they end up grabbing at exaggerations and broad associations,…” <– i have to disagree with this part of your reply. when people begin to use those words as analogies in common use, they are being highly efficient in their communication, and most people know exactly what they mean and what the context is…that's why they come to be used that way. and connotation counts also, it's pretty easy to tell which meaning is intended when someone says they think you're "special." sorry, but the critical right of freedom of expression includes offensive speech.

        • Charlie

          Knowing what inappropriate analogy means does not make you highly efficient in communication. Being able to use an appropriate analogy does.

  • Wren Around

    “Derpy” is an ableist word, too. It usually describes something or someone that doesn’t walk or speak well. It’s pretty hurtful to those of us with speech and language disorders, movement disorders, etc. The word’s contemporary popularity arose out of My Little Pony, Friendship is Magic series after fans dubbed a mis-drawn pony “Derpy Hooves” and the writers responded by giving the character more screen time and making her a cross-eyed, slurring, clumsy pony whose gag is that her bumbling ruins everything. If you Google image search “Derpy” you will not only find a lot of memes depicting People with Disabilities, you will, disgustingly, find memes featuring non-disabled people who have been Photoshopped to have the facial characteristics typically associated with people with Downs syndrome. Whether this was the intention of the show’s creators or not, it is clear how this word functions in our culture. Please consider removing the recommendation to use that word.

    • Tim Villegas

      To your point…you are correct in saying that when you search the word in Google images there are very unfortunate memes. In fact…if you do Google image searches on any number of the “suggested replacement words” for the “R-Word” you will find very similar photos and memes. The point of the post is not really about how many words we can come up with to say instead of the “R-Word”, the point is that those that defend using the “R-Word” by saying…”well…what am I supposed to say then…??” are suffering from an unimaginative vocabulary. Incidentally…I did a little research about “Derpy” (aka Ditzy Doo) http://mlp.derpynews.com/amy-keating-rogers-on-derpy-hooves/ It does not seem that any of it was intentional. Thanks for your comment.

      • Wren Around

        I’m sure neither you nor the MLP creators “intended” for the word “Derpy” to be an ableist slur, but those intentions are irrelevant. Clearly, the word now functions in our culture as a synonym for “retarded”, and both are words that work to perpetuate our oppression. Your article may focus on a different word, but in writing it you’ve made the suggestion that people replace one ableist word with another. You seem to have done your research, so no doubt you have come across the many dis-abled bloggers and scholars who have decried the use of the word “derpy.” In all social justice activism is to empower the self-determination of the people you are allying yourself with. You’ve spoken of yourself multiple times as an ally and educator in the Disability community. The appropriate response to being asked by PWDs not to advance the use of ableist words like “derpy” is not to derail the criticism or talk about your good intentions. So I’ll ask you again, please consider removing your suggestion that people use the word “Derpy” in place of “retarded.”

        • Tim Villegas

          We can agree to disagree about intent. I think intent is absolutely valid… But now that you bring it up, I will strike it out and make a note of our conversation in the comments since it is a word that I proposed. Though, I cannot speak for the author of the piece I am referencing: http://specialchildren.about.com/od/disabilityrights/ss/225-Subsitutes-For-The-R-Word.htm Thanks for your candor and advocacy…

          • Wren Around

            That’s much appreciated. Thanks for the edit.

          • Jen B
          • Wren Around

            That’s a great resource with lots of great examples of how the word “Derpy” is a dig at the physicality of cognitive, speech, sight and movement disorders. Thanks for posting it, Jen B.

          • llcoolJ

            I always thought Derpy was referring to people who took drugs, nothing to do with mental illness. I’ve read a few sources, and all of them are pretty much opinion, not any facts. Any actual factual sources on this subject would be much appreciated.

          • Wren Around

            If you do even a cursory literature research for the terms “derpy disability language ableism” you’ll find a plethora of scholarship on the subject, most with supporting evidence, peer review, and pop culture references.The authors are themselves People with Disabilities, and are therefor experts in the use and consequence of this language. I’m sure you can find disagreeing opinions written by abled people without that lived experience, but the opinions of those without lived experience are not comparable. Good luck in your independent research.

      • Eventide Parfait

        Actually, not everyone relevant to the discussion agrees. I’m a disabled brony, and I’ve seen people with strabismus saying they’re just fine with a certain character, and evidently her name as well. I can’t really find them at the moment, but I know they’re out there. I use the word about myself, as well, sometimes. I think the word can be claimed, because it’s young and easier to redefine. Ditzy, however, is old, and more definitely an offensive term. Therefore, I like the name Derpy better for that character.

        • Wren Around

          It doesn’t take community consensus for words to become problematic. PWDs aren’t a two dimentional, monolithic community, so we aren’t going to agree on everything. The word derpy has a clear and documented history of oppressive usage, and is demonstratably understood within our culture to mean “retarded.” It doesn’t matter whether or not someone “intends” it’s use in a non-ableist way– the rest of the culture fluently understands it as “crippled and stupid.” Arguing intent or personal definitions is like saying “when I call something gay, I mean it’s bad. I’m not talking about *actual gay people!*”

          When we actually start to value the dignity and lived experiences of PWDs, it will be enough evidence for jus some of us to say “yo, this word hurts us. Please don’t use it.” You don’t think the word hurts you–so? Does it hurt you if people don’t say it? No. Why are people so fervently invested in preserving a word that doesn’t mean anything to them? Its no skin off your back.

        • Wren Around

          “Derpy gets cured” <—that right there is a VERY good example of how the word "derpy" functioning fluently within the culture as a synonym for "disabled." Not all disabled people want or need a "cure."

          Also, "If you are okay with a two-girl pairing"? What in hell does that even mean? Are you talking about Lesbians? Are you warning bigots who "aren't okay with"
          Lesbians that their delicate sensibilities might be offended?

  • Barb

    I guess I can best explain it the way I feel about it by referring back to the Margaret Cho incident…

    http://lifewiththechickmagnet.blogspot.com/2013/11/margaret-cho-is-in-town-why-we-wont-be.html

    • Tim Villegas

      Thank you for sharing your article Barb. All the best!

  • Tracy

    Sorry, birdbrain is also offensive and speciest.

    • Rachel Ogden

      Please consider taking “birdbrain” off of the list of alternative words. Tracy is right, it is very offensive and most definitely speciest.

    • Tim Villegas

      Speciest is a new one. :) Thanks for your comment.

      • Bethwyn Mell

        actually it is SPECIESIST. And it is not a new ‘one’ Richard Ryder coined the phrase over 40 years ago

    • AvengerHawkeyePierce

      I really hope that this is sarcasm. If so, good one.

    • David Roche

      That’s retarded.

  • Tony Cruz

    Well then this is daft. Oh and asinine.

    • Tim Villegas

      Well played Tony. Thanks for your comment.

  • getoveryourself

    This isn’t going to work. Words don’t ‘end’, and there are too many people out there like me who just don’t give a flying fuck. People need to get over themselves…

    • Tim Villegas

      Indeed. There are too many people out there like you… Thanks for your comment.

    • pictor

      Words just don’t end, you’re right. Nigger and Spic are still common vocabulary you hear every day on on the street.

      Oh wait…they aren’t. You know, maybe with education, we can change our speaking patterns.

      • guestgal

        You haven’t been around many “african americans” have you…?

        “nigga” this and “nigga” that. And lets face it. Nigga is just word substitution for Nigger.

        Or is it ok, because they are black? It’s still just as bad of a word. In fact, I’d say it’s actually gaining popularity among people who aren’t holed up in their house worried about offending people. (I work with thepublic, these type of people procreate faster than people worried about offending)

        I hear it a million times more than I ever heard it 10 years ago in the same job. Just because it’s swept under the rug (IE: blacklisted from TV/discussions), doesn’t mean it’s gone or even fading.

        But I digress….A word only has as much power as you give it.

    • Dot McFarlane

      You would care if you had a relative or close friend with an intellectual disability. Please grow a heart.

  • Down Wit Dat
    • Tim Villegas

      These are wonderful. Thanks for sharing the links.

  • Allen Edwin Butt

    As a lower-class Roman citizen, I take offense at the use of “plebeian” as a synonym for asinine, bizarro, and sophomoric. I’ll be taking this up with the tribunes in short order.

    • KilgoreTroutTheSecond

      But actually, don’t use “plebeian.” It is classist.

  • A Critic

    “3. Find Different Words To Use: 225 Substitutes for the R-word by Terri Mauro”

    So it’s wrong to use “retarded” but okay to use more obscure words meaning the exact same thing? And this isn’t all about political correctness?

    • Judith Murray

      OK, this whole conversation has become asnine. I am the mother of an intellectually disabled son, who is now 27. You can say “Oh, this is speciest” “I don’t like this because of my Romanian background,” and both are excuses for not looking at your behavior, head on, when you use this very offensive term.The correct response is: “I am sorry, I did not know this was hurtful. I am going to try my best not to use this word anymore, and I am going to try and make my peer group understand why it is unacceptable.”
      Here’s the facts” My son was born intellectually disabled. It’s the way God made him. I know, now, from all these years of living with him and getting him out on his own, that God doesn’t make mistakes. Because when he makes the intellect smaller, he makes the heart larger. You would be pressed to find a better, more honest, kinder, more forgiving, and more helpful person than my son. He lives in the moment, he does not hold on to slights from the past…..so even if you had used the word in his presence, if you said, “Dude, I am sorry. I did not realize that this is hurtful.” He would forgive you instantly and move on. Consider that all of us are born with faults: Ears too big, bad acne, tendency to be heavy, or thin, freckles, crooked teeth….none of us are perfect. Now imagine that one fault that you KNOW you have, imagine the worst thing, the most hurtful thing that was ever said to you about this visible flaw, and then imagine that the whole country uses it all the time, and throws it around like it is nothing. Now, how would you feel? Show some empathy people. People with intellectual disabilities are PEOPLE. They feel hurt and unaccepted when you use this word. Stop it. It’s not OK. It’s never OK.

      • Anonymous Replier

        I’ve worked with mentally disabled kids all of my life. Even a member of my family who I love very much has been diagnosed with several disorders. I still say the word, but it’s not like I use it for purposes of bullying.

        This article wasn’t written about bullying. Obviously. Bullies wouldn’t think twice to change their vocabulary, their goal is to offend. I understand you’re offended, but honestly, I don’t give a fuck what you think. The English language is a very mutable thing, and words never mean what they initially were made for; they are always changing.

        The point is, some people here don’t agree with being “politically correct.” I find it a way to control society with more abstruse effects such as those delineated by Orson Welles in 1984. I do not use any offensive terminology in the presence of one who may be possibly offended; nor do I use it to specifically refer to anyone who could possibly be directly offended by it.

        Retarded literally means “Slowed.” I don’t even understand why people are offended by it. Calling someone “slowed down” is much less offensive then insulting their general intelligence overall. When I use the word, I use it to friends who aren’t affected by any mental disorder or anything, or to call out against actions I find to be frustrating/hindering the process and flow of the current situation.

        In conclusion, I’m sorry you feel entitles to bitch about normal, nice people using a word simply because other people use it for bad things. Don’t get your panties in a bunch. Toughen up. The world doesn’t always work like we want it to, and as a mother, you should know that.

        P.S. God makes mistakes every day, after all, so does my imaginary friend Steve.

        • Barb

          If you can’t empathize enough to understand, you’re a shining example of the kind of willful ignorance we’re discussing.

          • Judith Murray

            You know, I doubt you know more about the first amendment than anyone else here. I’m not an idiot about the English language – I teach English and Journalism and have a master’s degree in both. I agree that language morphs over time….but here again is the point. It used to be OK to make racial slurs. That’s not OK anymore. Why? It hurts people. When you say you don’t say this in the presence of people who will hear it and be hurt, I have to ask you: Are you sure? Because you wouldn’t know my son is disabled by looking at him. You wouldn’t know I’m his mother by looking at me. I don’t think I asked you to give up your first amendment rights. I asked you to have some consideration for those who could be hurt by your careless words. With our language having so many words would it truly kill you to use a different one? Every year in my high school class when one kid calls another a retard I say quietly, “I have an intellectually disabled son. I would appreciate it if you would not use that word.” They sometimes apologize – but they never use the word again in my presence. You can break out a bunch of big words, and compare this to Orwell’s “1984,” but this isn’t Big Brother watching you, or stopping you. It’s another human being who is asking you not to throw a word around because it’s hurtful. You also have the right to pull the wings off of helpless butterflies, but it’s not very nice. Neither is this. Both, by the way, are indefensible. You are not changing my mind, but you are losing my respect.

        • Wren Around

          Funny how the people defending their right to use abusive language always “work with the disabled” or “teach the disabled” or “have family who is disabled” but never ARE THEMSELVES disabled, or have friends and peers who are disabled. Their relationship to disabled people must always be one in which they have power over us, and consequently, they think that gives them the authority to dictate how words that belong to our community should be used. Judith Murray, you are doing just fine, I hope you don’t give Anonymous Replier a second thought.

          • Anonymous Replier

            Because you truly know that I’m not disabled?

            The person you credit is only as credible as I am, as they used their relationship with someone who is mentally disabled to establish their position. This, I say to you:

            “Nice double standards.”

            It’s great that you don’t like my opinion and all, but I think you wanted to take the easy way out on denouncing me without actually reading what I stated. It’s people that do that whom I cannot stand, so I hope that this isn’t true.

  • Rehd

    Good article. Have you found instances where people
    use this term to self identify? I see some in the disabled community
    using the word “gimp” to self identify, and to tell you the truth I
    find it problematic. I know they are trying to “take ownership”
    of the word, but to me it still comes across as a pejorative. I also find
    it problematic how easily words like “gimp” and “lame” are
    utilized by able bodied people and by the media. It would not be
    tolerated if the words had racial or sexual orientation connotations. It
    appears that physically and mentally disabled people are still fair game for
    derision and ridicule.

    • AvengerHawkeyePierce

      As someone who has a mental disability, whenever I use such words it is usually in a self depreciating manner at best, self loathing at worst. Problematic yes, unhealthy, also yes, both being reasons why I have been trying to stop. However, I question whether it is my place to tell other people how to use language to describe themselves when they are a member of the marginalized group that the word offends. Definitely a conversation worth having though.

  • Kay DeeBe

    I find whenever I go to say the r-word, I substitute it with “ridiculous” and it usually works perfectly!
    Also, its easy to adjust if you’re in the middle of saying “reee-diculous” :)

  • Robert

    Remove the word and replace it with another and then that word will become offensive and it will need to be removed and so on and so on. Have you learned nothing from the African-Americans? I wont go down the list of names that were preferred then offensive but I will say that when I was a teenager, my friends were BLACK and proud. Well, now I’m not allowed to call them black any more. So please, feel triumphant in your taking of retarded, which years ago replaced mongoloid, slow, trainable, moron, mentally handicapped, and intellectually challenged. What is happening in this country is we are trying to limit speech. First stop words here and there. The BAD ones that most people won’t mind. Then we’ll stop the ones that most people will mind, but not enough to make a fuss about. Then we’ll get some entertainers fired for what they say. Maybe get a guy thrown off the radio, maybe fired from a TV show. How about ban a book, maybe two or three. Block a website? Maybe a whole genre of websites or books. I don’t think those paintings or pictures count as art and they offend me. As do your political views. SEE WHERE THIS IS GOING? Freedom of speech also means the freedom to offend. It is the price we pay to have that freedom, sometimes we have to be offended. If we have to hear someone being called a retard so we can also hear Bach. If I as a Cuban have to hear the word spic so I can also say that I disagree with my government, then please, yell out spic as often as you like, it’s just a word. It can’t hurt me. And in this country, the first (and I stress FIRST) amendment already protects me from “Kill the spic!” It’s shocking that we get just 2 generations from those that actually fought for our freedoms and we get their grand-kids fighting to take them away.

    • Bethwyn Mell

      written from the point of view of a privileged white male.

      • legend zero

        Assuming someone is privileged just because they are white is quite ignorant. Maybe he’s from what you would describe as Southern poor White trash. I would argue that someone from that background has it very bad, that is the only cross-section that it is acceptable to denigrate.

      • Tiffany Darnel

        That, BETHWYN, was written from the point of an ignorant self-righteous liberal who preaches tolerance for all except those who disagree. Grow up. You assume that simply because he stated his OPINION and has a profile picture of a white male he is automatically privileged. You don’t know his story, you don’t know who he is. Get off your throne and stop being so judgmental. If he didn’t have a profile picture of a white male, you would have never made that argument. You are 100% bias based simply on appearance. Grow up and learn to accept others based on who they are, not what they look like.

        PS: Obama ruined America, and you, by default, ruined America by voting for him. How does being judgmental feel now? I based that opinion purely on your ignorant statement with no prior knowledge of who you are. See what a retard you are? My bad…nincompoop.

    • http://the-travel-guru.com/ Roni Faida

      I always say Black. It’s not offensive if you say Black. The politically correct term is now African-American but I never call myself that and neither do any of my friends.

      • diannna

        I call myself black as well because I’m a child of the 70s, Maybe if I was child of the 80 I would call myself african american. Plus african american is stupid to use when you are describing someone who is black because not everyone whose black is african american.

        For example I was searching for black dolls to buy on the internet and they were all labeled african american which ticked me off because what if you’re Jamaican, Panamanian, Haitian, etc?
        AA is not a race, it’s more of a culture/ethnicity. The dolls should be labeled as black to include all cultures who may be black, nothing wrong with the word black or negro en espanol.

      • legend zero

        I wish it was at the point where you could just call yourself an American. I’ve met Black people from Brazil, they call themselves Brazilians. I’ve met Black people from Britain, they call themselves British.

  • Omar

    If somebody actually has a clinically diagnosed dysfunction resulting in delayed/impaired development of cognitive, language, motor, and/or social skills, the current official term (WHO ICD-10 F70-F79) is “Mental Retardation”. Granted, they plan to replace it with “Intellectual Disability” in 2015 (ICD-11); but that doesn’t address the underlying issue.

    No matter what word is official, nothing will change until we address the inability of the willfully ignorant and deliberately stupid to discuss differing ideas and opinions without resorting to pejorative abuse.

    I completely disagree with step 3 of the article encouraging use of 225 substitute words to insult others. It is mentally and emotionally irresponsible people suffering from linguistic and moral depravity that use personal insults in place of careful thought and rational argument.

  • Sage

    This whole article was retarded.

  • Dot McFarlane

    The R word is forbidden in our household. I live with my two best friends Lisa and James. They’re siblings and both have intellectual disabilities, though James’ is more noticeable. A number of years ago Lisa was the victim of an unprovoked physical assault by a teenage girl who thought it’d be ‘cool’ to “hit the R-word (I won’t even spell it),” then hit her in the back. Needless to say, that girl got a HUGE lecture from us.

  • Nick DiTucci

    Retarded: less advanced in mental, physical, or social development than is usual for one’s age.

  • Kenneth

    I understand not using the R-word as it can be offensive, but your words offered as substitutions sound like you are saying, “Use these words instead. We’ll know what you really mean.” …. as if birdbrain is the equivalent to retarded.

  • Stewart Gruey

    A dwarf has retarded growth, a person with down’s syndrome has retarded mental capabilities. Calling someone a retard is associating them with people with mental insufficiency. It is not insulting to a person who literally has mental insufficiency. I have two mentally retarded sisters and it doesn’t offend them because when people refer to them as such, it is true and not meant to insult them.
    Now with other words, not saying nigger stigmatizes the word and gives it power. Are African Americans insulted by it anymore? Most aren’t because they use it themselves. If I called my homosexual friend a faggot, he would laugh. If they didn’t know me, it would be a toss up since they wouldn’t know if I was insulting them or not. Saying words are unacceptable only makes them more harmful when spoken. Call me a cracker all you want, I’ll laugh every time.

    • Carrie Main

      I commend you and your two sisters with mental disabilities for your strength and your healthy self esteem regardless of the words used to describe you. That said, I don’t believe your experiences represent the majority of people.
      I have a son who has Autism. He is VERY hurt when he hears the word used at all, even if it is not directed at him. I also know that my homosexual friends find the use of the word “faggot” hateful and derogatory.

  • Kathy

    I read through this article, watched the video and thought…Yes, If I do this I’m going to make a valiant effort to stop. Then I read through the comments below. For the love of God. Someone is offended by something in every single comment! It’s insane! When you step back and read through all of these…it’s almost comical!
    Why is everyone so offended by everything? I’m not starting a campaign to have “Fat Ass” removed from the list of things people say! I heard it for most of my childhood! It hurt and it hurt bad.
    Instead of trying to remove words, just teach people to be good people. Teach that there will always be someone who isn’t nice. Teach to ignore that ignorance. Everyone shouldn’t have to stop because I’m offended!
    We’re turning into a culture of weaklings.

    I’m very sorry for people who hurt from hurtful words. I know that feeling. I also know that they are just words from mean people.

  • sterling archer

    the video was retarded, all irony aside.

  • Tyler Schommer

    Retard has a few meanings. It means idiot, moron, that kind of thing, although they all used to (or currently do) refer to someone with a mental handicap. The other meaning is literally slow, as it is used in music, which is where it was derived from for the first meaning. It is the same kind of thing with the word fuck. The word fuck has taken a meaning, a very violent meaning, something that the late George Carlin would talk about in his shows. Fuck means sex, plain and simple, with no negative context to it. It is a sweet act between two people for either pleasure or to reproduce, something all organisms do. The word has just changed meaning because it was convenient for the person. It doesn’t work like that.
    Keep that in mind once.

  • MiracleFrank

    As a non-patrician second year college student, I find your suggestion to use the words “sophomoric” and “plebeian” to be classist and exclusionary. Please amend your article immediately.

  • Randy Campbell

    “Birdbrain” = Birds are inferior. If we’re going to start being humble, we might as well go all the way and avoid reinforcing that idea that human are better than all the other animals on the planet. “We’re the best! We’re the best! Birds are dumb! Birds are dumb!”

  • Carolyn Van Marter Hinkle

    When I was teaching grades 4-6 in the 70′s, the very worst insult the boys could hurl at each other was, “You are such a woman!” Again, it’s the intent behind the word. I was totally offended and had a classroom discussion about it. As with the r-word, any time you use a word to make a group of people feel inferior or less valuable, it’s just plain wrong.

  • Carrie Main

    In my opinion, this is no different than other words we have characterized as hate speech like the “N-word” or racial slurs used to describe people (for example) of Mexican, Chinese, or Middle-Eastern decent. When the “N-word” was first used it was by people who were not of African American decent. As time passed people who cared about the feelings of others learned that people of African American decent found it hurtful and derogatory. Similarly, many people find it offensive when people of any sex use the “C-word”. We all know that the use of either of those words is offensive to many people. Those of us who care about the feelings of others choose not to use them out of consideration and respect.

    The “R-word” is no exception. It was not a word chosen by people with disabilities. People with disabilities find it hurtful and derogatory. Those of us who care about the feelings of others choose not to use the “R-word” out of consideration and respect.

  • CKennedy

    I agree with previous comments that in a few decades, the “new” and acceptable words of today will also carry stigma, and no longer be politically correct. I’m a middle school teacher, and have a great example. A few years ago in our district, we started using the term “exceptional learners” for those with learning delays or disabilities, as it was thought to be more politically correct. One of my colleagues recently passed back work to a student, with the comment “Exceptional work!” written across it. The student was upset, and wondered what she had done wrong. The teacher realized that the new generation of students was now starting to see the word “exceptional” as negative – and, thus, in a few years that word will no longer be politically correct, because of its negative connotations (that we are creating.) I’m not saying I have a solution for this, and I am fully behind not using the R-word; just thought I’d share this anecdote!

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  • Kate

    I only use retard for the idiots in society that do not have any form of disability.

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  • Charlie Urban

    This article was retarded.

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