“What a retard.” “She must be retarded.” “Lol, you are sooo retarded.” “How retarded.” “What a tard.” “Check this out, its so retarded.” “Eww, retard.” “I hope he doesn’t try to come over here with his retarded self.” Is this offensive? Does this make you cringe?
“Look at that chink, cracker, fag, faggot, nigger.” What about now, is this offensive? Does this make you cringe?
All of these are extremely offensive words, words that bring oppression on a specific group of people, that hurt a specific group of people, that are used to demean a specific group of people, that are used to oppress certain groups of people. All are words that shouldn’t be used. All are words that carry a heavy hate filled meaning. All are words that are fighting words, words that ruffle feathers, words that carry weight far beyond their simple syllables. These words have created deep wounds that prove that sticks and stones may break one’s bones but words will never hurt them is a complete myth.
Some of these words, although still distastefully used in certain circles, have been deemed politically incorrect, words that are frowned upon when part of daily conversation, words that children are reprimanded for saying, words that people are shunned for using. To get to that point, effort was required. People had to stand up and say please don’t use that word around me, let people know it wasn’t cool to use certain words, and teach people around them how hurtful the hateful words were.
For all of these words there is still a lot of work that needs to be done.
For the word retarded, though, there are many who still don’t see it as offensive. It is a part of many of our society’s daily conversation and is considered commonplace. It is anything but that though.
It is hurtful, it is hateful, it creates wounds, and it is oppressive to a group of individuals who often have no literal or figurative voice of their own to stand up for themselves.
This Wednesday March 6th is “Spread the Word to End the Word” day, an annual day of awareness to bring attention to the use of the hurtful word retarded and to stop people from using it person by person.
If the word retarded is a part of your vocabulary please visit this link to take a pledge to stop using it.
Words are so powerful. It is so important to choose the ones we use wisely.
(*Speaking of choosing words wisely I know that I used some very offensive words in this post. I chose them to hopefully drive home my point a little more. Please understand my heart in this.)
For further reading on the need for this word to stop being used, please check out the blogs below: