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r****d

Discussion in 'BBS Hangout: Debate & Discussion' started by emjohn, Mar 6, 2013.

  1. emjohn

    emjohn Contributing Member

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    Wednesday, March 6th is the annual Day of Awareness for Spread the Word to End the Word. It is a cause pushed by multiple groups that are asking the public to remove r****d and all of its derivations from everyday use. You don’t have to share it or agree with it, but I would hope that you will take two minutes to read and consider my perspective on this matter.



    Phrases like “that’s r****ded” are fairly common and most folks don’t think twice when they utter or hear them. Rarely is anyone intentionally connecting this word to people with mental handicaps and because of that, the overwhelming response to this campaign is that it is one more example of political correctness gone out of control. Here is why I don’t feel that is true.



    People with down syndrome, autism, cerebral palsy, or other disabilities are perhaps the last demographic of human beings that are socially acceptable punchlines. When I was a kid, it was comedy open season on the gay and lesbian community. You didn’t even need an actual joke to get a laugh on stage; they were enough of one by themselves. Go back and watch some vintage 80s Eddie Murphy or Robin Williams – it is uncomfortable to say the least.



    While the 90s movement for tolerance washed most of that out, “r****ds” remained fair game. I suspect that is because they are less able to defend themselves and because most people sincerely, privately, consider them less like fellow humans and more like brainless pets. That’s a notion that’s conveyed every time someone uses “r****d” as a putdown or more directly to stigmatize a person with a disability.



    In a similar vein, when I was a little kid, “f*****” was the ultimate insult to dish out at school. I had no idea what it meant, and was profoundly confused the day I looked it up in the dictionary. When I eventually understood the word’s meaning and grew up, I ditched it. That I hadn’t been using it “like that” wasn’t a legitimate justification to continue using it as a generic insult. Society seems to agree….but then turns around and uses it as excuse #1 or #2 today regarding the use of r****d.



    This is a Day of Awareness, and that’s what I’d like to get at. Before I met my wife and later her brother, I was unaware of how r****d stung. It wasn’t until we watched a comedy special and I realized my wife had started to quietly cry because of the inevitable series of jokes about that kid that has to ride the short bus. Plenty of folks think that there’s no harm in using the word because they wouldn’t use it if an “actual r****d” was there. But it tells mothers, fathers, siblings, relatives, and family friends that their child doesn’t count.



    I never had someone in my life with down syndrome before Richard became my brother-in-law. It took a little time for me to get to know him. It was eye opening that I had to help keep a light eye on him when he used public restrooms because he could be harassed. I can tell you that his difficulty communicating clearly with enunciation and vocabulary limitations is extremely frustrating for him. I can also tell you that he’s a great movie going partner and we’ll probably be seeing Iron Man 3 together. He’s a hell of a lot sharper than most people would think at first glance. When out at Target with his mom, Richard remembers what my 3-year old son likes and picks out his favorite DVDs or toys as gifts. He also knows when people are staring at him and he hates it. He knows when people joke about r****ds, that it means him, and that he is a lesser human being in their eyes.



    This is about awareness. Being more cognizant of the jokes and terminology that is hurtful but we never stopped to consider it. The examples that make me cringe the most are the ubiquitous joke about winning the Special Olympics and the internet memes about going “full r****d.” No one deserves to be a punchline because of the way they were born. Want to make fun of a bad decision trainwreck like Lindsay Lohan? Be my guest. Most people I know don’t joke on a child born with a cleft palate, limb reductions, or gastroschisis because they have, in medical terminology, a “soul.” Unfortunately, other babies are being born right now that won’t be granted that same basic courtesy because of a developmental disorder.



    I get the resentment towards an overly PC-society. I went to the College of William & Mary, and have seen the NCAA strong arm the school into ditching its utterly harmless green and gold feather logo over Native American sensitivity concerns (meanwhile, Go Washington Redskins!). I can’t tell you that any and all use of r****d is hateful. However, I do feel that the use of the word as an insult is unnecessary, classless, and hurtful. None of us would go out in public and say that someone is “acting like a jew.” Even if you want to point out that mental r****dation is still used in the medical community,* no one today would refer to a person as being “a black” or “a spic”** or “a gay.”



    Still don't care? Consider one last thing - every time you use it, especially in the wide open public internet, someone probably thinks a little less of you.



    We can be a little better going forward. For starters, let’s try not to use “r****d” as a go-to insult or make hundreds of thousands of people the butt of our jokes.



    * “mental r****dation” is in the process of being phased out in medicine

    ** shortened form of Hispanic







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    http://goinswriter.com/stop-using-r****d/



    http://sonc.org/schools/schools-faqs/r-word



    http://www.autismkey.com/despite-increased-awareness-the-r-word-is-alive-and-well/



    http://www.nytimes.com/2013/03/03/opinion/sunday/a-word-gone-wrong.html?smid=tw-share&_r=0
     
    #1 emjohn, Mar 6, 2013
    Last edited: Mar 6, 2013
    8 people like this.
  2. tmoney1101

    tmoney1101 Contributing Member

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    This thread is r****ded.
     
    3 people like this.
  3. Jontro

    Jontro Member

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    I also would like to nominate the word "hate" because it's too strong of a word.
     
  4. tallanvor

    tallanvor Contributing Member

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    I would add the word 'eremy' to describe Lin. He has been shooting better lately.
     
  5. DonkeyMagic

    DonkeyMagic Contributing Member
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    calling a mentally ill person r****ded, not acool
    calling a normal person r****ded, meh

    I'm just confused how firefighters will address their flame r****dant equipment.
     
  6. sammy

    sammy Contributing Member

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    Predictable.
     
    1 person likes this.
  7. kevC

    kevC Contributing Member

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    So would you rather have me say "that's mentally handicapped" when I see something foolish?
     
  8. Jturbofuel

    Jturbofuel Member

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    <iframe width="420" height="315" src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/l58NESfWDmQ" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>
     
  9. King1

    King1 Contributing Member

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    That's a wall of text I won't be reading
     
  10. durvasa

    durvasa Contributing Member
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    Like "idiot". It used to refer to mentally-ill people. Now its just a general insult towards people exhibiting low intelligence, but isn't used for the mentally ill.

    Looks like words like "r****d" or "r****ded" are going down a similar path. Eventually, they may be synonymous with idiot/idiotic.
     
  11. Haymitch

    Haymitch Contributing Member

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    I don't use that word too much. Not for any "good" reason. I just prefer to say something like "f***ing dumb****" because it sounds more harsh.
     
    1 person likes this.
  12. PointForward

    PointForward Member

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    this very needless PC crap is what got us here in the first place. the pussification of America is well under way.
     
  13. LCAhmed

    LCAhmed Contributing Member

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    Are we doing the same thing for the word gay? Rudy wont be happy about that 1
     
  14. gatsby

    gatsby Member

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    I, sadly, may be the only who supports this. I removed it from my lexicon a long time ago.
     
  15. durvasa

    durvasa Contributing Member
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    Is it really simply "PC" to encourage social norms that protect the most vulnerable members of the population like little kids or persons with mental disabilities? Wouldn't you agree that this falls under a different category than protecting the feelings of LGBT or racial minority communities?
     
    2 people like this.
  16. Haymitch

    Haymitch Contributing Member

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    I would actually like a Rudy Same-Sex-Oriented jersey.
     
    #16 Haymitch, Mar 6, 2013
    Last edited: Mar 6, 2013
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  17. v3.0

    v3.0 Contributing Member

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    Our lack of compassion towards the less fortunate will r****d our collective growth in humanity.
     
    #17 v3.0, Mar 6, 2013
    Last edited: Mar 6, 2013
  18. OmegaSupreme

    OmegaSupreme Contributing Member

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    usually don't quote walls of text, but feel the need to offset the kiddie responses. thanks for starting this thread.
     
    1 person likes this.
  19. DonkeyMagic

    DonkeyMagic Contributing Member
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    I think it's only ok if one mentally ill person calls another mentally ill person "retar"...apparently the lack of the D doesn't make it offensive.
     
    2 people like this.
  20. tallanvor

    tallanvor Contributing Member

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    You are belittling the mentally handicapped. I am willing to bet a mentally handicapped person would find what you just wrote more offensive than the use of the word 'r****ded'
     

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