Stop Using The R-Word!

Lounge By sportsmom005 Updated 6 Apr 2009 , 3:45pm by Karema

sportsmom005 Posted 1 Apr 2009 , 1:45am
post #1 of 27

Hi everyone,
I love CC. I have been a member for awhile now and couldn't imagine not having this site to learn from. Everyone here is so kind and helpful. With that being said, from time to time I come across posts where people use the word "retard" or "retarded". Usually, it's done to describe something foolish they or someone else has done. I'm sure that when most people use this word they don't stop and think about what they're actually saying, and don't intend to hurt or offend anyone. However, this word is used far too often to describe less than perfect behavior, or even worse, as an insult. As the mother of a 7-year old mentally and physically disabled child, I am asking my fellow CCers to help eliminate the use of this word in everyday speech, and in our online family. Listed below are some links with more information.

MSN article:
http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/29981699/?gt1=43001

Special Olympics Website:
http://www.specialolympics.org/03-31-09_Spread_the_Word.aspx

Pledge to eliminate the use of the R-word in everyday speech:
http://www.r-word.org/

On behalf of my daughter and other mentally disabled children and adults, I thank you very much for your support!

Chrisy

26 replies
kellertur Posted 1 Apr 2009 , 2:45am
post #2 of 27

I agree as a former teacher of special needs children. I don't remember reading the word here. (but I don't read every thread).

I once worked with a teacher who actually referred to one of my students as "retarded" because he couldn't answer her demand quick enough. She knew he was special needs but that didn't stop her. icon_sad.gif
I couldn't believe she got away with no repremand... so much for that kids self-esteem.

dailey Posted 1 Apr 2009 , 2:56am
post #3 of 27

I agree, i hate that word.

hellie0h Posted 1 Apr 2009 , 3:09am
post #4 of 27

Right on Chrisy,
As a mom of an adult son with Down Syndrome, I couldn't agree more. What makes me see red, when so-called comedians do a stand up routine mocking a mental or physical handicap.

sportsmom005 Posted 1 Apr 2009 , 3:14am
post #5 of 27

Thanks you both so much for responding.

K2cakes, I've only seen it in a few threads. Most recently, I think I read it in the cupcake thread. I know most people don't even think about it when they say it, it's become so common. The MSN article made me think of that thread and I just wanted to raise a little awareness thumbs_up.gif

I am absolutley horrified by what that teacher said icon_mad.gificon_evil.gif
Soem people just don't have any sense at all. That poor kid!

Chrisy

sportsmom005 Posted 1 Apr 2009 , 3:16am
post #6 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by hellie0h

Right on Chrisy,
As a mom of an adult son with Down Syndrome, I couldn't agree more. What makes me see red, when so-called comedians do a stand up routine mocking a mental or physical handicap.




Oh I know that drives me crazy too. Or when I hear it in a song or a movie... icon_mad.gificon_evil.gif

Thanks for the support thumbs_up.gif

kellertur Posted 1 Apr 2009 , 3:34am
post #7 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by hellie0h

Right on Chrisy,
As a mom of an adult son with Down Syndrome, I couldn't agree more. What makes me see red, when so-called comedians do a stand up routine mocking a mental or physical handicap.




Ok, I'm probably going to get eaten alive for this, BUT there is a certain nationally famous MAINE comedian who makes his living without saying the "R" word (that I know of) but about how "stupid" we Mainers all are. I won't say his name because of the rule about not bashing celebrities. Tim Sample (who I do like) pokes fun at us but in a fun, witty way. LOVE the fake accent!

To me, the best comedians don't have to resort to the *F* bomb or dirty words, demeaning jokes... they succeed by talent alone.
For example~ Brian Regan... I laugh myself into hysterics everytime and not one dirty/demeaning word. He has a "hooked on phonics" bit that makes fun of the program, not the kids who use it. BIG difference. Just my opinion... I hate the "R" word... icon_mad.gif

KellBell22 Posted 1 Apr 2009 , 5:03am
post #8 of 27

I've been guilty of using that in the past, but have really been making an effort to delete it from my vocabulary. It's become a big pet peeve of mine when other friends use it the wrong way, becuase it's not how it's intended. Antoher word that's misused and drives me crazy is people referring to things as 'gay'. ARGH!!!!

EyeCandy Posted 1 Apr 2009 , 1:02pm
post #9 of 27

Christy, I too do not like that word and get disgusted when people in everyday life say it in regular conversations. My Uncle who passed away a few years ago was mentally handicapped AND had downs syndrome. I think of him whenever I hear that word used in an out of context way. It bothers me too... you have my word that I won't use that word around here or in real life. :hugs:

Your baby has a GREAT Mommy who only wants the best! icon_biggrin.gif

sportsmom005 Posted 1 Apr 2009 , 1:33pm
post #10 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by KellBell22

I've been guilty of using that in the past, but have really been making an effort to delete it from my vocabulary. It's become a big pet peeve of mine when other friends use it the wrong way, becuase it's not how it's intended. Antoher word that's misused and drives me crazy is people referring to things as 'gay'. ARGH!!!!




Thank you so much for making the effort thumbs_up.gif . I think it's become a part of many people's vocabulary without them even realizing it. My sons have friends who have said it when they come over and I politely explain why we don't use that word in our house. And I think once they can put a face on why it's wrong, it really makes a difference because they make sure to try not to say it. My boys know not to say it but they do refer to things as "gay" and I am trying very hard to break them of that habit. I think most people say these things without realizing they're offensive because they're said so often. I'm not angry with anyone who may have said it without realizing what they were doing, I'm just hoping people will make a conscious effort to stop, like you have. Thanks!

Chrisy

sportsmom005 Posted 1 Apr 2009 , 1:40pm
post #11 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by K2cakes

Quote:
Originally Posted by hellie0h

Right on Chrisy,
As a mom of an adult son with Down Syndrome, I couldn't agree more. What makes me see red, when so-called comedians do a stand up routine mocking a mental or physical handicap.



Ok, I'm probably going to get eaten alive for this, BUT there is a certain nationally famous MAINE comedian who makes his living without saying the "R" word (that I know of) but about how "stupid" we Mainers all are. I won't say his name because of the rule about not bashing celebrities. Tim Sample (who I do like) pokes fun at us but in a fun, witty way. LOVE the fake accent!

To me, the best comedians don't have to resort to the *F* bomb or dirty words, demeaning jokes... they succeed by talent alone.
For example~ Brian Regan... I laugh myself into hysterics everytime and not one dirty/demeaning word. He has a "hooked on phonics" bit that makes fun of the program, not the kids who use it. BIG difference. Just my opinion... I hate the "R" word... icon_mad.gif




I promise I won't eat you alive icon_lol.gif . And I agree that those with talent shouldn't have to resort to those tactics. I guess I feel more strongly about this because mental disability is a medical condition, and most people (I hope) wouldn't make fun of someone for having cancer or diabetes, right? So why would anyone want to use a word that deliberately takes aim at such a vulnerable group of people?

Thanks for the support thumbs_up.gif

Chrisy

sportsmom005 Posted 1 Apr 2009 , 1:46pm
post #12 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by EyeCandy

Christy, I too do not like that word and get disgusted when people in everyday life say it in regular conversations. My Uncle who passed away a few years ago was mentally handicapped AND had downs syndrome. I think of him whenever I hear that word used in an out of context way. It bothers me too... you have my word that I won't use that word around here or in real life. :hugs:

Your baby has a GREAT Mommy who only wants the best! icon_biggrin.gif




So sorry to hear about your uncle. My daughter has cerebral palsy, and I'll admit, I never really thought about how often this word is misused until I had her. She can't speak for herself, but I can and if I can get just one person to stop using it, then I'll feel like I've made a difference.

Thanks for the support thumbs_up.gif
Chrisy

sarahpierce Posted 1 Apr 2009 , 2:22pm
post #13 of 27

There are 4 words I don't allow in my household.

1. Fat

2. Ugly

3. Stupid

4. Retarded

No exceptions! When my children say these I treat it the same as a swear word. I'm behind you 100%. thumbs_up.gif

cakes22 Posted 1 Apr 2009 , 4:09pm
post #14 of 27

I too hate that word, but I will admit that I have been guilty of using it. My son has a couple of friends that have mentally disabled siblings (that I didn't realise), and one time his friend was over and they were joking around and being 10 yr old boys and I said "you two are being retarded" not thinking about it, just said it. My son's friend say "You shouldn't use that word, it isn't nice." I didn't really think too much about it. But when I brought him home, I was talking to his parents and they had mentioned their daughter with special needs. I have to say that I learned a hard lesson from a 10 yr old boy, but it was one that I won't soon forget.
That word has made the list of words we can't say in my house either. along with stupid (dislike that word too).

EyeCandy Posted 1 Apr 2009 , 4:27pm
post #15 of 27

My 2.5 year old is the king of "No bad words, mom (or dad)!" He's great about catching us when we let "Stupid", "Shut up" or another bad word slip around him.

Thanks for the sympathy, but he's in a much better place now anyway. icon_biggrin.gif

summernoelle Posted 1 Apr 2009 , 7:40pm
post #16 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by K2cakes


Ok, I'm probably going to get eaten alive for this, BUT there is a certain nationally famous MAINE comedian who makes his living without saying the "R" word (that I know of) but about how "stupid" we Mainers all are. I won't say his name because of the rule about not bashing celebrities. Tim Sample (who I do like) pokes fun at us but in a fun, witty way. LOVE the fake accent!

To me, the best comedians don't have to resort to the *F* bomb or dirty words, demeaning jokes... they succeed by talent alone.
For example~ Brian Regan... I laugh myself into hysterics everytime and not one dirty/demeaning word. He has a "hooked on phonics" bit that makes fun of the program, not the kids who use it. BIG difference. Just my opinion... I hate the "R" word... icon_mad.gif




To add fuel to the fire and risk REALLY getting eaten alive, it's even worse that a world leader will go on talk shows and breezily joke about the mentally challenged and their abilities. icon_sad.gif This isn't a politically motivated statement, but there is a problem when that happens.

sportsmom005 Posted 2 Apr 2009 , 2:23am
post #17 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by cakes22

I too hate that word, but I will admit that I have been guilty of using it. My son has a couple of friends that have mentally disabled siblings (that I didn't realise), and one time his friend was over and they were joking around and being 10 yr old boys and I said "you two are being retarded" not thinking about it, just said it. My son's friend say "You shouldn't use that word, it isn't nice." I didn't really think too much about it. But when I brought him home, I was talking to his parents and they had mentioned their daughter with special needs. I have to say that I learned a hard lesson from a 10 yr old boy, but it was one that I won't soon forget.
That word has made the list of words we can't say in my house either. along with stupid (dislike that word too).




Wow, what a great story. I'm sure you felt terrible, but I'm really proud of your son's friend for saying that to you. My son has heard adults say it and been upset by it but hasn't wanted to correct them at first because he thought it might be rude. We told him it's ok to politely correct an adult in situations like this. His sister may not be able to defend herself, but that's what her brothers are for!

By the way, I love your avatar. My 5 year old loves penguins, and he's gotten the rest of us kind of hooked on them.

Thanks for the support thumbs_up.gif

Chrisy

sportsmom005 Posted 2 Apr 2009 , 2:35am
post #18 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by sarahpierce

There are 4 words I don't allow in my household.

1. Fat

2. Ugly

3. Stupid

4. Retarded

No exceptions! When my children say these I treat it the same as a swear word. I'm behind you 100%. thumbs_up.gif




Thankfully, my boys have never really said fat or ugly, and they wouldn't dream of saying retarded. Stupid and gay are the ones I'm trying really hard to get them to stop saying. My oldest is in middle school and if he starts saying something like that, his little brothers pick up on it and start too, so I try and nip it in the bud right away. They're good kids, but they do like to pick on one another. I almost think it's a boy thing because my sister and I never bickered like my boys do when we were younger.

Thanks for the support thumbs_up.gif

Chrisy

sportsmom005 Posted 2 Apr 2009 , 2:48am
post #19 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by summernoelle

Quote:
Originally Posted by K2cakes


Ok, I'm probably going to get eaten alive for this, BUT there is a certain nationally famous MAINE comedian who makes his living without saying the "R" word (that I know of) but about how "stupid" we Mainers all are. I won't say his name because of the rule about not bashing celebrities. Tim Sample (who I do like) pokes fun at us but in a fun, witty way. LOVE the fake accent!

To me, the best comedians don't have to resort to the *F* bomb or dirty words, demeaning jokes... they succeed by talent alone.
For example~ Brian Regan... I laugh myself into hysterics everytime and not one dirty/demeaning word. He has a "hooked on phonics" bit that makes fun of the program, not the kids who use it. BIG difference. Just my opinion... I hate the "R" word... icon_mad.gif



To add fuel to the fire and risk REALLY getting eaten alive, it's even worse that a world leader will go on talk shows and breezily joke about the mentally challenged and their abilities. icon_sad.gif This isn't a politically motivated statement, but there is a problem when that happens.




I won't eat you alive for saying it. I'm glad you mentioned it because I was really surprised that more people didn't get upset by this when it was said. It's not about politics, it's common sense. Someone in that position should know better than to say something like that, and their popularity shouldn't excuse their ignorance. It's another example of how common this way of thinking has become. Unfortunately, most people don't even think about it when they say something like this.

Thanks for the support thumbs_up.gif

Chrisy

mkolmar Posted 2 Apr 2009 , 3:18am
post #20 of 27

Just ran across this thread. I can't stand that word.
I also was upset with the people in the audience laughing at our new leaders joke. Goes to show you how much more we as people need to be educated and learn manners.

CakeDiva73 Posted 2 Apr 2009 , 4:06am
post #21 of 27

oh, I was so disappointed when I heard that he had said that!! I love him and I, for one, have said things without thinking of the impact and I think he is learning exactly how much you need to think before you speak.

I don't believe he meant it to be a direct insult, it was a careless remark nonetheless ~ but I think that regardless of my love of the POTUS, I would have been livid if I had a special needs child and heard that. It is because I don't believe there was malice behind the words that I can accept it. And lets be honest, the one before didn't exactly have a way with words.

On an odd tangent, we have friends who have a Down Syndrome child and they are forever telling these "tard" jokes. I am always caught so off guard - they are laughing hysterically and I just politely smile. I mean I can't very well reprimand a woman with a DS child nor can I, in good conscience, laugh along with the joke.

punkinpie Posted 2 Apr 2009 , 6:26pm
post #22 of 27

I am so with you. So many people use the word still. I know a person with challenges and she is very clear that no one is to refer to her that way and how hateful it is.

I was in love with the Pioneer Woman's blog until I read how she referred to her special needs brother.

She says on her blog about her brother "I love not having to whip out annoying euphemisms like "Developmentally Disabled" or "Mentally Challenged" or "Intellectually Delayed." As a blood relative of a ******** person, Im automatically exempt. I get to say *******. *******."

I just can't get past it. I took out the word from the quote as I thought that it didn't need to be repeated.

frostingfairy Posted 3 Apr 2009 , 8:10pm
post #23 of 27

I just told my class of college students (I teach public speaking) that they should put the words 'retarded' and 'gay' in the same category as the N-word and not use them under any circumstances.

Punkinpie, I totally agree with you. NO ONE should use this kind of language, and having a child/sibling/relative with disabilities does NOT entitle you to use that word. I also have a hard time with African Americans who use the N-word to each other.

Kids are always told "Sticks and stones can break my bones, but names can never harm me". WRONG!!! Words and names can be very harmful if used out of ignorance or malice. That's what I'm teaching my students and my children.

Erika

emrldsky Posted 3 Apr 2009 , 8:25pm
post #24 of 27

I might get flamed for this, but the word WAS the only word used for people who were disabled many years ago. That word was the appropriate word to use. And in defense of Pioneer Woman (LOVE her, btw), she grew up using that word for THAT purpose (she's not 20-something years old...her generation used the term appropriately, I'm certain). I doubt she uses it in the way it has become popular these days (i.e., degrading).

However, I do understand that now that it has become common to use it as reference to someone doing something "stupid." I was never allowed to call someone stupid growing up, only to say they did something stupid (really, when my brother BURNED spaghetti noodles...he did something stupid).

Do I say the r-word in an offensive manner? I have been known to, but I have been trying not to. I didn't grow up with anyone around me who would have found it offensive, so it was allowed to develop into a word I used often, and in a degrading manner. I'm not proud of it.

So I guess, in summation, I understand how the word has changed meaning over the years, but please keep in mind that many people who used the word before the meaning changed may not understand or see how it can be offensive.

hellie0h Posted 4 Apr 2009 , 1:41pm
post #25 of 27

Mental Retardation, Developmental Disabled...MRDD are correct terms when used in proper context. What, as a parent and advocate for special needs find insulting, is describing a "normal" person who acts ignorant or makes a mistake as being retarded.

Persons with birth defects or accidents later in life, causing them to have diminished brain function are not to be made fun of. These people struggle everyday to fit in. My son, who is Down Syndrome was further brain damaged at birth by lack of oxygen and most likely does not understand when he hears the word retarded being used inappropriately. But there are many who are slightly mentally retarded and are aware of this hurtful word.

Yes, to those of us with special needs children, take this as an insult just the same as African Americans find the N word downright degrading. Americans for some reason find it very easy to call someone of different ethnic origins, religion, or regional areas names, and I don't have a clue as to why. Most of us Americans are a "Heinz 57" variety anyway.

Just recently, a comedian, yes I will name him...Ron White, had a bit about going from analog to digital tv reception. He said the Mongoloids (at one time, referenced to Down Syndrome persons) of Appalachia would be on their rooftops wearing tin foil to get tv reception. The audience laughed, I grunted and turned it off. Maybe if the audience booed, he as well as others may have got a message.

I don't think I am overly sensitive, I just want people to understand that hurtful tags don't serve any purpose whatsoever.

JillK Posted 6 Apr 2009 , 1:37pm
post #26 of 27

As the mom of a Down Syndrome child, I don't get angry or offended at this as much as I do ... hmmm ... up on a soapbox? icon_razz.gif A lot of people grew up saying this and almost don't really understand the implications, I think, so I look on it as an education issue. I have friends, good people, who've used the word around me not even thinking about how it would apply to my son.

They're usually mortified if I gently point it out. icon_rolleyes.gif Lesson learned.

Jim's 4 -- he's the older of the two in my avatar. He's an active preschooler and a great big brother. I couldn't be prouder of him. icon_biggrin.gif

Karema Posted 6 Apr 2009 , 3:45pm
post #27 of 27

I wanted to add something or make a remark. It may not be popular and I appologize in advance if I offend anyone. But I think what the problem is that people use the term incorrectly. There is nothing wrong with the word Retarded. So to keep referrering to it as the R word is a little weird to me. I don't like when people use it incorrectly and think that it's funny. Mental Retardation is a disablility but those that have that condition are human. So if I were around someone that was mentally retarded I would say they were retarded. That is the real meaning.

I do hate the word Gay because I feel like society has taken a word that meant Happy and used it to describe a sexual preference. I dont think that it's happy at all. So when someone says they are acting gay they are using the wrong term because they lack the intellectual capacity to use a word that is correct. I feel the same way about the word stupid. Someone can very well be acting stupid but once again use it in the right context. I dont think think that some people know what the work means so they think they can just throw it around casually.

As a Black person I personally dont like being called African American. That is also a term that is used incorrectly and people throw it around. African American is someone that is born in Africa that comes to America. I was born in America so I'm American not African American. But anyway as far as the word Nigger if it is used correctly I dont care. A Nigger is an ignorant person. They can be white, black, green or purple. If they are ingnorant than the word applies. I dont like when black people just call each other that as a term of endearment.

So when my kids grow older I would teach them the correct meanings of this word and they will only be able to use it appropiatly. If they dont then there is a problem. I think it time that as a society we took back the power behind certain words and stop avoiding them but use them correctly and teach other around us to use them correctly. If I saw someone with Down syndome they are not retarded and for me to use that term would be ignorance. It's time to educate and not avoid. And as far as the President using that term on a talk show just shows that he is human just like the rest of us. Sometimes as people we dont think. I understand that he is a leader but not even leaders are perfect. That's why its important to educate instead of just trying to erase it which is impossible.

Like I said earlier I know this won't be popular but I am educated and that is why it bothers me. I was a teacher before I started baking and I was an english major in college. So I do understand what the words mean and dont find the error in the meaning but in the usage.

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