Monday, 31 March 2014

This discussion is anything but retarded....

This is a discussion that I started in Facebook and thought I would move it over here...

We are having a debate about the word retarded...not the word retard....I would never use the word retard to refer to a person...but is it wrong to use the word retarded when speaking of an in that is retarded?
Let me know what you think...

I would think it would depend on the context. If you're meaning the action is stupid or moronic then I'd say no because those are the connotations when a person is called a retard. If you mean the action was slowed down (or retarded) then I would suppose it would be an appropriate use. For example: "That was retarded!" meaning stupid, thoughtless, moronic=NO "My reaction was retarded by being distracted." meaning slowed down because of distraction=YES. But, let's be honest, who uses retarded in a sense of slowed down except for musicians?

Darren Cannell I used it in the action was stupid, slow a bad decisions...doing that is retarded...

Hmm...I guess it's up to each person's discretion. I know I'm trying to catch myself and not use sayings like "Gypped" and "retarded". I've never used the "n-word", "jewed", and things like that. As a teacher I'm also sensitive to how people use "gay". It's definitely a bone of contention for some people. Overall I know I use retarded for actions but not people but I'm trying to remove it from my vocabulary all together.

Darren Cannell I guess it is something I am going to have to work on...old dog and new tricks comes to mind...but hey...will try...

 Totally understandable!

 It's never ok to use that word. It will always be taken as derogatory towards people with disabilities. Check out this website for a better reason than I can give.

It originally was not intended to insult anyone but to describe to families what their child may be like as in slower to speak etc. The usage by the public made it derogatory for future. I teach students the original root word meaning and the example in music in Italian but caution them that if it is hurtful in referring to a person or groupp of people we of course choose not to use the term, since the connotation has become derogatory. Popular culture affects language, cigarettes were called "fags" and happy people were called "gay" in a world before slang evolved and political correctness prevailed.

 Darren, wouldn't it then have to be 'retarding'?

I disagree that is is "never ok to use that word". It's all about context. Musical notation has retards when music slows and if it is used as a verb; not a noun or a cloaked insult then it is being used in its intended manor.

Most people that have used the word never intentionally were trying to put anyone down, in fact as I was growing up, we used the term in the manner of families with downs syndrome did in describing why someone's child didn't come to school with us, nobody used the term Down's Syndrome because it simply wasn't in usage, it's about language not malicious intent.

As someone who uses words and analyzes their meanings for a living I would argue that intent does actually matter. There are myriad uses of the words 'retard' and 'retarded' that are perfectly legitimate and anyone offended by these uses is simply ignorant. Now, some people will be insulted and offended because I just called them 'ignorant'; however, that illustrates my point! Being 'ignorant' is not a "bad" thing, it merely means they lack knowledge of how the word is being used. We need to balance political correctness with reason... you may have a 'right' to be offended, but if that feeling is based on your own misunderstanding then it is wrong to censure the other person when there was no actual offense. Further, speaking as one against censorship in any form, I would also argue that just as a person has a 'right' to be offended, a person also has a 'right' to be offensive... without the right to be offensive there are many social and political reforms that would never have taken place. What we really should be teaching is sensitivity and awareness on the part of both the producer and the consumer of the message.

 I agree, we live in such a world!

Darren Cannell And so the debate continues... let us hear from you..should we strike the word retarded as a method of describing an one should use it to describe a person, I think we all agree on that...but to describe an action????

 I am not ignorant of the word ignorant nor the word we are talking about. If you ask what the word means or what it is referring to in its many uses, the answer you will get from 99.99% of the population is a person with a disability. Because of society's use of the word in its negative connotation it can't really be used as it should be anymore.

Or perhaps there should be more education on the proper use of the word.
Do you ever use the term "Gypped"? Like, "I was Gypped! The cashier gave me the wrong change." THAT is a derogatory word. It was solely a reference to Gypsies who are thought to be untrustworthy thieves. Although I have no connection to Gypsies I do understand that the word Gypped has NO other meaning and therefore don't use the word and make sure to educate those who do.

Intent does matter, good point Bob. I agree. That said, I feel that we're "safer" (if that's the right descriptive?) to simply use an alternative word in describing an action due to the current culture's assumption or interpretation of the word, all too often. I never use it personally.

 How about the use of Engine Retarder brakes? There are signs that indicate their use is prohibited within city limits.

Any thoughts you would like to add...the debate continues.

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