Stop slurring

I’m talking about speech, but not about speaking indistinctly and running one’s words together. I’m talking about speech that insults.

Over on One Special Place, Renee Beauregard has a post deriding the use of “retard” and its variants (‘tard, ‘tarded, etc.) in common speech.

Do you have any idea how many times people with developmental disabilities are called the “R” word – in a way that is meant to be derogatory? And now, this word has become an adjective used as much as any other negative word to describe a person.

The history of disabilities is replete with terms that were once used clinically as well as insultingly: imbecile, idiot, moron, and others. Now that groups such as the American Association on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (AAIDD; formerly American Association for Mental Retardation or AAMR) have changed their names, maybe the term “retard” as a slur can take its place on the slag heap of misbegotten insults.

Ms. Beauregard notes some examples of people taking offense at this use of the term. Link to her post. There are other resources available, too. Check Alex Santoso’s post from Neatorama for notes about the usage of some of these terms. Meanwhile, have a little consideration, please.

3 Responses to “Stop slurring”


  • I agree with this posts, and I believe it is wrong for people to use these offensive words (i.e. retard, sped, imbecile, moron) without understanding the underlying message they are exemplifying. This is a conversation that I am constantly having with my peers, because they almost always forget the intensity and negativity these words portray when used so nonchalantly.I think it is important for people to be aware of the psychological affects that offensive words have on others. It is unbelievable how passively words such as “retard” or “sped” are tossed around, which makes feel that there is a lack of information in people who are not making deeper connections. Therefore, I have made a conscious effort to inform people in my presence the damage they can do by employing these words, especially if they are saying it to people who actually have a learning disability. This can cause those with learning disabilities to have a decrease in self-esteem among other affects. All in all, it is wrong to use these negative words, and I hope that people read posts like this one that can help them think about their word selection, because it truly does affect others.

  • Just last week one of the students here referred to a teacher’s policy as “so retarded!” Ironically, she didn’t have the grasp of the abstracts to understand that my objection was not that she was saying bad things about a teacher. I think she grasped that my issue was with her choice of words.

  • Hello I tried to subscribe to your feed and the link redirected me somewhere else. I will come back tomorrow.

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