Why do you find the word "retard" offensive?

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XFilesGeek
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30 Dec 2012, 10:29 am

PseudointellectualHorse wrote:
Jitro wrote:
Is there really any polite way to insult someone? I don't think so.
Exactly! And it's important that we be able to insult people! If the speech police deprive us of the lesser weapon of verbal hyperbole, then there's nothing to do about annoying people except shoot them.

Damn it, insulting people is an art form, and to denigrate the art of the insult is to contribute to the decline of Western culture. Consider this: Shakespeare was the master of the insult. So don't bother to argue with me, because I'm an easy target; go after the Bard of Avon if you dare. I've got a book here, 300 pages of insults from Shakespeare's plays. So go censor Shakespeare, you blocks, you stones, you worse than senseless things!

Here's the book link on Amazon: Shakespeare's Insults


Talk about being over-sensitive..........


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deltafunction
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30 Dec 2012, 11:59 am

I still think that it's all about diversity. It's obvious to people not to use words that discriminate based on other things like race, class or gender. But it seems not so obvious (or willful ignorance) to not use words that discriminate based on sexual orientation, disability or other differences. It's up to people to learn what's offensive and what isn't and to use words that don't offend or discriminate against whole groups of people. It takes a better person to speak their mind without using those words in an offending way despite what others around them are doing. Just because a word is commonly used doesn't mean that it isn't offensive.



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30 Dec 2012, 12:06 pm

There are times where offending some people is actually a moral and just thing to do - the unreasonable, the religiously or politically fanatical or simply overweening, obnoxious authority. I think it's actually healthy that some people are insulted from people from time to time. You never know, it might just burst open that massive bubble they're toting a little bit.



deltafunction
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30 Dec 2012, 12:38 pm

Tequila wrote:
There are times where offending some people is actually a moral and just thing to do - the unreasonable, the religiously or politically fanatical or simply overweening, obnoxious authority. I think it's actually healthy that some people are insulted from people from time to time. You never know, it might just burst open that massive bubble they're toting a little bit.


Yeah, though it's mean to offend minority groups. Words like "retard" are meant to insult minorities and not those in power.



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30 Dec 2012, 12:51 pm

deltafunction wrote:
I still think that it's all about diversity. It's obvious to people not to use words that discriminate based on other things like race, class or gender. But it seems not so obvious (or willful ignorance) to not use words that discriminate based on sexual orientation, disability or other differences. It's up to people to learn what's offensive and what isn't and to use words that don't offend or discriminate against whole groups of people. It takes a better person to speak their mind without using those words in an offending way despite what others around them are doing. Just because a word is commonly used doesn't mean that it isn't offensive.


The problem is that it is a diversity in itself when a given word is understood as an insult or not. The word retard can both be used to discriminate but also the absence of the word retard may be discriminating. In defining retard absolutely as an insult against disability one would risk to discriminate persons who do not share the same philosophical or political perspective that lay as foundation for the given understanding of the word retard. In other words would an absolute definition and allowed use of a word in a community end up in a communitarianism where some always will be excluded and discriminated because they believe in and value values which the communitarinistic society does not accept and value.



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30 Dec 2012, 1:08 pm

IChris wrote:
The problem is that it is a diversity in itself when a given word is understood as an insult or not. The word retard can both be used to discriminate but also the absence of the word retard may be discriminating. In defining retard absolutely as an insult against disability one would risk to discriminate persons who do not share the same philosophical or political perspective that lay as foundation for the given understanding of the word retard. In other words would an absolute definition and allowed use of a word in a community end up in a communitarianism where some always will be excluded and discriminated because they believe in and value values which the communitarinistic society does not accept and value.


To me it's more like the intention and meaning of those who say the word dictates whether it's used in an offensive way. Insulting someone by calling someone a "retard" would be to say that they are a lesser person because they are intellectually slow if you use the formal definition of the word. That is directly insulting to those with down syndrome because of the medical term that used to be used to describe the condition, and would imply that they are lesser persons. That is why a community would accept or dislike the word, and they have good reason to be offended as well because they were likely spending their whole lives fighting discrimination that they are lesser people. See http://specialolympicsblog.wordpress.co ... n-coulter/

Quote:
I’m a 30 year old man with Down syndrome who has struggled with the public’s perception that an intellectual disability means that I am dumb and shallow.


I don't personally find the word offensive but I wouldn't want to use it because it offends those with down syndrome. I also think that those who use the word as an insult tend to generalize and imply that any intellectual impairment makes you a lesser person and discriminates against those with any disability. As others have said before on this thread, they have been insulted with this word before, so why would anyone use a word that is meant to insult those with disabilities? I don't see how it can be used in a positive way.

I don't see it as any different than discrimination against race or gender. What if we replaced "You're a retard" with "You're such a woman" or "You're so black"?



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30 Dec 2012, 1:49 pm

deltafunction wrote:

To me it's more like the intention and meaning of those who say the word dictates whether it's used in an offensive way. Insulting someone by calling someone a "retard" would be to say that they are a lesser person because they are intellectually slow if you use the formal definition of the word. That is directly insulting to those with down syndrome because of the medical term that used to be used to describe the condition, and would imply that they are lesser persons. That is why a community would accept or dislike the word, and they have good reason to be offended as well because they were likely spending their whole lives fighting discrimination that they are lesser people. See http://specialolympicsblog.wordpress.co ... n-coulter/

Quote:
I’m a 30 year old man with Down syndrome who has struggled with the public’s perception that an intellectual disability means that I am dumb and shallow.


I don't personally find the word offensive but I wouldn't want to use it because it offends those with down syndrome. I also think that those who use the word as an insult tend to generalize and imply that any intellectual impairment makes you a lesser person and discriminates against those with any disability. As others have said before on this thread, they have been insulted with this word before, so why would anyone use a word that is meant to insult those with disabilities? I don't see how it can be used in a positive way.

Also I am curious to know what your position on discrimination and diversity is with race and gender. Would you be comfortable using racial slurs or sexist language?


Retard is for me the same as a person having a great wisdom (low intelligence); he is as much a human as a person without great wisdom but a great celverness (high intelligence). This have its foundation in my philosophical understanding of reality (which is to complex to describe in a forum post). Of that reason I often use the word retard of myself, because I more often pose a wisdom than a cleverness. To not allowing me to use such words about myself is as much discrimination as using it to insult another person.

I have no special thoughts about race. I value "complementary gender" and I'm against "economic sex". Ivan Illich (1990) describe the categories as follow (which may give you an understanding of my language in this regard):

Quote:
"By "complementary gender" I mean the eminently local and time-bound duality that sets off men and women under circumstances that prevent them from saying, doing, desiring, or perceiving "the same thing." Together they create a whole which cannot be reduced to the sum of equal, merely interchangeable parts; a whole made of two hands, each of a different nature. "

"By "economic sex" I mean the duality that stretches toward the illusory goal of economic, political, legal and social equality. Male and female are neutered economic agents, stripped of any quality other than the functions of consumer and worker. "


Source: http://www.davidtinapple.com/illich/199 ... ender.html



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30 Dec 2012, 5:10 pm

pensieve wrote:
There's a new medical term for it and the only people that use it now are using it to let someone know how stupid/annoying they sound etc. The only people I hear use it are aged between 13-25.


There is a relative of mine who is in his mid 50s who I've heard use it a number of times.

He's so snobbish and condescending that I really hate to be around him anyway. And I've never been able to figure out what is so special about him that could possibly make him think he is better than everyone else.



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30 Dec 2012, 5:12 pm

vermontsavant wrote:
r84shi37 wrote:
Retard definition:

Verb
Delay or hold back in terms of progress, development, or accomplishment.

Noun
offensive. A mentally handicapped person (often used as a general term of abuse).

Retarded definition:

Adjective
Less advanced, esp. mentally, than is usual for one's age.

Synonyms
backward - delayed

I don't find "retard or retarded" offensive. I used to verbally use them; ever since I joined WP I learned that many aspergians (and probably anyone with a mental condition) hate it, so I have avoided using them. Now, looking at it from a technical standpoint, most aspergians are held back or delayed in some form or another i.e socially, motor issues, etc. I don't consider us handicapped, but some people do, and I guess from a very particular perspective we could be considered handicapped. Aspergians are generally socially less advanced than their peers, however, I think we tend to be intellectually more advanced. Aspergians are probably delayed in certain ways as well.

It's really just a word, and the meaning of the word more or less can apply to aspergians. Of course, there are plenty of types of mental conditions, I'm just using AS as my example because I'm fairly sure that most WP users are aspergians. I understand that in certain context it can be offensive, but generally. it's just a word; like "obese" or "weird".
if we go back to the original latin it simply means slowed down


I've often heard it used as a verb meaning to slow down or delay. As in retard the motion of a particle or to delay the timing of a spark.



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30 Dec 2012, 5:14 pm

It just sounds offensive


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30 Dec 2012, 5:36 pm

I don't find it offensive, either. Words change meaning over time. Gay used to mean happy, now it means homosexual. Other insults also came from mental conditions, like idiot and moron. Dumb was originally used to describe someone who is mute, and lame for someone physically disabled. But I don't see anyone getting offended over those words.



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30 Dec 2012, 5:41 pm

eric76 wrote:
vermontsavant wrote:
r84shi37 wrote:
Retard definition:

Verb
Delay or hold back in terms of progress, development, or accomplishment.

Noun
offensive. A mentally handicapped person (often used as a general term of abuse).

Retarded definition:

Adjective
Less advanced, esp. mentally, than is usual for one's age.

Synonyms
backward - delayed

I don't find "retard or retarded" offensive. I used to verbally use them; ever since I joined WP I learned that many aspergians (and probably anyone with a mental condition) hate it, so I have avoided using them. Now, looking at it from a technical standpoint, most aspergians are held back or delayed in some form or another i.e socially, motor issues, etc. I don't consider us handicapped, but some people do, and I guess from a very particular perspective we could be considered handicapped. Aspergians are generally socially less advanced than their peers, however, I think we tend to be intellectually more advanced. Aspergians are probably delayed in certain ways as well.

It's really just a word, and the meaning of the word more or less can apply to aspergians. Of course, there are plenty of types of mental conditions, I'm just using AS as my example because I'm fairly sure that most WP users are aspergians. I understand that in certain context it can be offensive, but generally. it's just a word; like "obese" or "weird".
if we go back to the original latin it simply means slowed down


I've often heard it used as a verb meaning to slow down or delay. As in retard the motion of a particle or to delay the timing of a spark.


Yes, and people don't get offended by that use because it has no insulting connotations. Nobody gets offended by saying that a fabric is flame retardent either. But when it's used to mean "person or thing I find contemptuous" then understandably people get offended. It's the contempt that makes it offensive.



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30 Dec 2012, 5:42 pm

I think people who get offended over the words retard and retarded are hypocrites because they use the words stupid and idiot and dumb and they don't connect those words with a mute person and someone with low intelligence. I get that words change over time but so did the R word and people keep connecting it to the low intelligence? Why not do it with the other words too? Why not connect dumb to mute people and get offended by it?

I have tried to eliminate the other words from my vocabulary but all it did was made it difficult for me to figure out what other word to use so I am back to using stupid, dumb and idiot. So that is why I do not get offended by the words retard and retarded.


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30 Dec 2012, 5:45 pm

TB_Samurai wrote:
I don't find it offensive, either. Words change meaning over time. Gay used to mean happy, now it means homosexual. Other insults also came from mental conditions, like idiot and moron. Dumb was originally used to describe someone who is mute, and lame for someone physically disabled. But I don't see anyone getting offended over those words.


They have been retired from clinical use, so they no longer refer to groups of people. However, "retarded" (actually "mentally retarded") is still on the medical records of many living people. Once it gets retired entirely from official use to refer to any living people it will lose much of its' offensiveness. The catch is that when that happens, it will be because a new term has risen to take its place officially. The term that is now ascending is "intellectual disability" and also "cognitive disability". In time, a version of those terms will become an insult too.



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30 Dec 2012, 5:49 pm

League_Girl wrote:
I think people who get offended over the words retard and retarded are hypocrites because they use the words stupid and idiot and dumb and they don't connect those words with a mute person and someone with low intelligence. I get that words change over time but so did the R word and people keep connecting it to the low intelligence? Why not do it with the other words too? Why not connect dumb to mute people and get offended by it?

I have tried to eliminate the other words from my vocabulary but all it did was made it difficult for me to figure out what other word to use so I am back to using stupid, dumb and idiot. So that is why I do not get offended by the words retard and retarded.


I think its' because those other words are no longer in clinical use by anyone (unlike "retarded") so they no longer refer to a group of people. "Retarded" hasn't actually left clinical use yet. "Cognitive/intellectual disability" will likely eventually replace it but it still appears on medical files and is still being applied officially to people who score <70 on IQ tests. There is a popular misconception that doctors and teachers don't use the term "retarded" in an official capacity but they do. They just always preface it with "mentally" to differentiate it from the insult use.