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  1. #1
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    Default Anyone else bothered by the use of the word "retarded"?

    IME it's a word that is used rather frequently amongst horse people to describe people, animals, and situations that they think are stupid, irrational, or that they just don't agree with.

    Now, I'm not one of those terribly over-the-top PC people, but I do have a problem with this. Perhaps it's because my mother taught special education or because I will be going to grad school for the same thing. I just feel it's utterly heartless, not to mention brainless sounding, to use an outdated word used to describe people with a cognitive handicap to describe something/someone that you think is stupid. No one in any sort of professional field dealing with children uses the word retarded to describe a person's handicap. The term mentally retarded is hardly used either. It's an outdated term that was used in an era when many people, including young children with cognitive handicaps were sent to hospitals or group homes rather than be seen in public with their families.

    As far as I'm concerned it's no different than if you were to refer to a black person as a "negro". No one would be okay with that. Or, calling a gay person a fag. Granted, that's still being used, but it seems like it's going away too. They words from a time in the past when the people in mind where not respected and treated equally.

    Does anyone else just cringe when they hear someone say that? Especially a child?



  2. #2
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    I have no problem referring to animals acting retarded. I NEVER refer to children as retarded. I can be known to refer to a normal intelligence level adult as retarded when they do something far below their intellegence grade.

    I find PC to be very irritating. People looking at me might euphemistically call me, "vertically challenged" and "fluffy". I'm short and morbidly obese. I'm not proud of the latter, but I am realist enough to recognize that at 5' & 200+ lbs I am what I am. Calling me vertically challenged and fluffy changes nothing. I'm short and fat. I embrace it. Both conditions have made me who I am.
    ~Kryswyn~ Always look on the bright side of life, de doo, de doo de doo de doo
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  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kryswyn View Post
    I have no problem referring to animals acting retarded. I NEVER refer to children as retarded. I can be known to refer to a normal intelligence level adult as retarded when they do something far below their intellegence grade.

    I find PC to be very irritating. People looking at me might euphemistically call me, "vertically challenged" and "fluffy". I'm short and morbidly obese. I'm not proud of the latter, but I am realist enough to recognize that at 5' & 200+ lbs I am what I am. Calling me vertically challenged and fluffy changes nothing. I'm short and fat. I embrace it. Both conditions have made me who I am.


    My argument though is that retarded was a word used to put people in a place below the rest of society... to isolate them and give an excuse for poor treatment.

    "Vertically challenged" and "fluffy" are silly terms used towards people with senses of humor regarding their flaws. Heck, they could even be called endearing. Calling a person retarded who may be too disabled to even understand that you're trying to mean, let alone the medical meaning of the word, is not endearing or kind joking. And using that term to describe someone who is not disabled is ridiculous because then the word isn't even being used correctly.

    I hope eventually the word will go away as society just gets over it. We've used lots of words that refer to specific groups of people to insult, tease, or even just describe others. Think of all the racial slurs that have come and gone over the decades. There were words used against Polish, Irish, Jewish, Italian, and Japanese people. Now society has moved on to Mexicans, Muslims, the LGBT community, and those with cognitive handicaps. I have rarely witnessed professional adults in public situations use slurs for the first three.



  4. #4
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    Default

    Perhaps it's geography more than horse world? I don't hear that word much in CA, barn or otherwise.



  5. #5
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    Possibly. I'm in the northeast and I heard it, and admit to using it, starting in junior high. ALL the kids said it. Lots of teachers tried to explain why it wasn't right. Kids still used it in high school, kids at the barn used it, even my (then) trainer used it. I'm talking about using it towards animals AND people. I finally thoroughly freed myself of it when I started college because I realized it was pretty absurd for a future teacher to talk like that, especially one who was interested in teaching special education. Today I still hear people say it... including adults... with children... in public places. I'm not talking about just within the horse world, though like I said I see it there quite a bit.

    I just think, would you let your child use language to make fun of someone who was blind or deaf or used a wheelchair? Probably not, because you figure such people would understand what you were saying. But you let yourself and your children say derrogatory things towards people who you think are too disabled to understand you?



  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by alternate_universe View Post
    My argument though is that retarded was a word used to put people in a place below the rest of society... to isolate them and give an excuse for poor treatment.

    "Vertically challenged" and "fluffy" are silly terms used towards people with senses of humor regarding their flaws.
    Not when they're used by other people directed TOWARDS you, which was her point. Just call a spade a spade.

    Your argument about the use of the word "retarded" doesn't hold much water with me. "Retard" (v) means to ": to slow up especially by preventing or hindering advance or accomplishment". "Retard" (n) ": a holding back or slowing down : retardation""

    Saying someone is "retarded" isn't necessarily being insulting. It might be being bare-bones factual

    When you land a big plane it tells you "retard retard retard" at flare. I don't think the plane is calling the pilots idiots. I think it's saying to throttle back so the plane slows down.

    So are we talking about the word "retarded" being used in a cruel tone of voice, or the use of the word "retarded" at all, in any context or tone?
    "The nice thing about memories is the good ones are stronger and linger longer than the bad and we sure have some incredibly good memories." - EverythingButWings



  7. #7
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    Yes. I think the use of "retarded" or "retard" as a pejorative is bothersome to me.

    I know there are others who don't agree with that.
    "Aye God, Woodrow..."



  8. #8
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    It bothers me, and I make an effort to not use the word in a negative manner.

    Another one that bothers me is using the phrase "you're so gay/that's so gay" to refer to someone or something negatively.



  9. #9
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    Feb. 19, 2011
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    So what if the word "you" is replaced with "that", as in "that's retarded" or "that's gay"? Do you still feel the same way?


    One of my sisters has a young DS son. She is opposed to use of the R word and likes to correct people who use it. I think she should read the definition in its entirety. Many many words have more than one definition. Personally, I don't think she needs to be correcting adults, but if she wants to correct her own children, go right ahead.



  10. #10
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    I work with a 5 yr. boy with cerebral palsy who does not talk and who has severe physical limitations. I've been going to school with him for the past three years (2 yrs of pre-school and this year, kindergarten). It's been an ongoing struggle with OT's, PT's, Speech therapists and special ed teachers who favor life skill training over an academic education.

    I and his mother routinely refer to these people as retardants who are actively trying to retard this child.

    I taught him how to answer questions using a red "no" and green "yes" button - only to be told that using a color code was too abstract a concept for him to understand.

    I was told that I should only expose him to upper case letters, because he would find it too confusing to learn both upper and lower case letters. He's an eager learner, and not only can recognize both, but can pick out letters to spell kindergarten level words, associate the sounds each letter makes, and match lower case letters to their corresponding upper case mates.

    I can go on, but the point is, many children who have been labeled "retarded" have been made so by underestimating their potential, by setting bars too low, and by not challenging the child to learn. Retarding is something done to many children, not something they are.



  11. #11
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    I haven't heard that word used by anyone in years. I think the last time I did it was being used by an 8ish year old, who was corrected pretty quickly and stopped using it shortly thereafter. That's about it.
    "The difference between genius and stupidity is that genius has its limits." Albert Einstein

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  12. #12
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    My late sister was Downs Syndrome and I absolutely hate the term "retarded" used in any derrogative description of human or animal. I can remember a group of kids chorusing in a sing song chant "Reee-tarded Debbie, reeee-tarded Debbie" at the play ground when we were kids that absolutely broke my heart for her. Of course, she had no idea what that meant and in the sweet, good nature of a Downs person, she smiled & thought they were cheering her.

    I think if your life has been touched by a mentally challenged person, you definitely view slang terms for their function as demeaning no matter what the PC dictionary description is.

    I also hate the terms "spic, whop, kike, jew, nigger" and any other ethnic slang description. How about HUMAN?
    Lost in the Land of the Know It Alls



  13. #13
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    I have heard it used as an insult by people considered "professionals" and it offended me. When someone does use the term in a insulting way it shows their lack of education and class.



  14. #14
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    Nope, not a real problem with retarded which is a descriptive term...I consider "retard" as a pejoritive. Don't have a problem with "handicapped" either...they're not "differentially challenged" or any of a bunch of various words. Deaf & Dumb isn't an evil description either.

    Way too many parents demanding their kids don't have a problem and want everyone else to make them feel good and go along with the lie.
    "Sic Gorgiamus Allos Subjectatos Nunc"



  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cabaret SK View Post
    It bothers me, and I make an effort to not use the word in a negative manner.

    Another one that bothers me is using the phrase "you're so gay/that's so gay" to refer to someone or something negatively.
    My kids used to call practically everything gay. Like this toaster is gay if the toaster wasn't working quick enough. So I would always say, "the toaster is having a relationship with other toasters of the same gender?" Eventually they stopped using the term just to get me to stop with my dumb questions.



  16. #16
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    It's definitely on my list of words that needs to be retired. Yesterday.
    * trying hard to be the person that my horses think i am



  17. #17
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    Being the mother of a "retarded" child, yes, I have a problem with it.

    My problem is that the vast majority of folks who use it are not using it correctly. Most often people use to it imply that something is stupid, rather than developing more slowly than the norm. Retarded most certainly does not equal stupid.
    "Is it ignorance or apathy? Hey, I don't know and I don't care." ~Jimmy Buffett



  18. #18
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    Yes, I find it offensive.

    There are some situations when it's still a descriptive term. I've heart is used by medical professionals in explaining the difference between retardation and delay - this was not to a patient/layperson but to med students, in explaining a concept, because there is a difference.

    And of course as a technical term in say microbiology, retarding colony growth. Or fire retardant, etc. Those are fine.

    I sort of find it funny when people whip out the dictionary to say "see, it is so not a bad word, it just means x." Uhhh, the dictionary I checked also contains this entry
    noun
    4.
    Slang: Disparaging .
    a mentally retarded person.
    a person who is stupid, obtuse, or ineffective in some way: a hopeless social retard.
    I don't think anyone with a smidgen of sense could argue that the word is not disparaging when used in the sense that OP meant.



  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by Outfxed View Post
    My late sister was Downs Syndrome and I absolutely hate the term "retarded" used in any derrogative description of human or animal. I can remember a group of kids chorusing in a sing song chant "Reee-tarded Debbie, reeee-tarded Debbie" at the play ground when we were kids that absolutely broke my heart for her. Of course, she had no idea what that meant and in the sweet, good nature of a Downs person, she smiled & thought they were cheering her.

    I think if your life has been touched by a mentally challenged person, you definitely view slang terms for their function as demeaning no matter what the PC dictionary description is.

    I also hate the terms "spic, whop, kike, jew, nigger" and any other ethnic slang description. How about HUMAN?
    How terrible kids can be. It breaks my heart just reading your post.

    I get really angry when adults use the R word, or any other derrogatory word, because they should know better. They are no better than the bullies at school who use the same words. And I also get angry when adults don't correct children when they witness the children using the same words.

    We're all equals, no matter what limitations we have, no matter what color our skin is, and no matter what sexual orientation we are. Everyone in this world needs to have more compassion for their fellow humans' feelings.
    "If you think nobody cares about you, try missing a couple payments..."



  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by Trakehner View Post
    Deaf & Dumb isn't an evil description either.
    I heartily disagree with this statement.
    "If you think nobody cares about you, try missing a couple payments..."



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