This is going to be unpopular, I suspect.
I asked my sister about this. She said, “I am retarded. I am stunted. I am not challenged. I am not going to cross any goal.” She went on, but…
“Retarded”, as in developmentally delayed, is a medical term. There is no delay. There is no challenge to overcome. It’s a medical stoppage of growth.
It’s also similar to using the word “marriage” as synonymous with “same sex legal union (SSCU).” Are the words synonymous? No. Do people in SSCUs think that the term “marriage” is offensive once they learn it had a sacramental connotation? Once they learn the definition, do they care how the word is bandied about in relation to their SSCU? Certainly not, because the uneducated have conscripted the term.
It’s not the people using the term (wrongly) who apply to themselves who offend others…it’s those who want to be “sensitive” and want to invent an Orwellian NewSpeak.
How about educating people on language and the roots of words before we go sanitizing Huckleberry Finn and the “N” word…because that was the word used that wasn’t a pejorative at the time. This is the problem with the “Glee show” PSAs.
Perhaps there is a lack of solidarity in the “developmentally delayed” community. But the term remains a medical one, not a slang one.
How about using the word ‘retarded’ ONLY by its definition? And if not, correcting people who use it inappropriately? Because we can’t hurt the feelings of the uneducated while pretending to shield the “developmentally disabled?”
I think not. Or, maybe I think better, optimistically, of those who (according to the works of Mercy) should be corrected–appropriately. Instead of saying “That word is not PC,” how about saying, “I do not think that word means what you think it means” …and then explaining it. Yes, channel your inner Inyego Montoya.
‘Retarded’ is a medical word that had made its way into slang. It is sad that it its used as a pejorative, but raising the level of discourse means understanding the definition of the word and using it appropriately. Separate yourself from slang and ‘instruct the ignorant.’
Changing the language…well, we’ve been through this before with calling people who aren’t going to increase their intelligence quotients past a certain age as “idiots.” We also no longer call people incapable of speech “dumb” because ignorami misused these words. But in proper context of medical diagnosis, there was no harm.
Why would anyone let the uneducated take over the definitions of medical words is far beyond me.