you are such a retard

USAToday ran an op-ed piece today written by Theresa Howard. The piece, entitled "A Mother’s View of a word that wounds: Retard" just reminds me of what I wrote a few months ago after hearing that word again.

Heard someone use the "R" word again. And I suppose I am more than a bit sensitive to it, as the dad of an amazing, darling "retarded" ten-year-old daughter.

The "R" word. It seems cool, so flip, so easy to just bounce off the tongue to make light of a mistake or forgetfulness or error. But as I think about it a bit more, "retarded" is an adjective describing a condition in a person, not describing the person. For example, we could say that "he is a man who is mentally retarded," or "she has mental retardation." Not "she is retarded."

It may seem like I am splitting hairs here, but I wonder how come people don’t adopt sayings in a similar way if they don’t happen to feel well. Just as they say "I am so retarded" when they do something wrong or make a silly error maybe we could encourage people, when they don’t feel well, to say things like :

I am SO cancerous.

I am so AIDS.

I am SO Sudden Infant Death Syndrome.

Seems amazingly paradoxical to me that it is (appropriately) offensive to make light of physical conditions, but to many it is downright funny or just socially cool to make light of an intellectual condition.

Somehow it felt a but freeing to see that another parent felt the same way about that word…


Posted on July 5, 2007, in Dad stuff. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: