I'm not sure I agree with the current push to remove the phrase "mental retardation" from the national vocabulary. Yes, it's come to have negative connotations, but any phrase that means the same thing will get those negative associations, too. "Mentally retarded" is already the result of this process: it's a euphemism for "imbecile", "moron", or "idiot". We need some phrase we can use to describe the phenomenon. When my son is doing something unacceptable in public, and I say, "Pardon me, he's a special needs kid," people don't know what the hell I'm talking about. I suspect "intellectual disability" would lead to the same "huh?" reaction. But when I say, "I'm sorry, he's mentally retarded," it hits with the proper impact. People get it, or at least get something close enough that they know they should apply a different standard of behavior.
I do not like it when people use "retarded" as a generic insult or as a substitute for "fucked up", and will often gently point this out when I hear it. I feel the same way when kids use "gay" as an insult: it doesn't really do any good to come up with a new word for "gay" that isn't used as an insult. What we have to do is show people that it's not wrong to be gay, and that it's hurtful and destructive to use the term as if it is. Similarly, it is not wrong to be mentally retarded, and to use "retard" as an insult is cruel.
If people started using "cancerous" as a pejorative, the solution would not be to rename cancer "abnormal cell replication" in all federal statutes. It would be to socially penalize people who were insensitive enough to turn it into a term of abuse. I guess I feel that way about "mental retardation". It doesn't seem to me that the term is "only used to demean and insult people" as the ARC posting I link to states. But maybe this is a bigger problem outside my own social circle.
I am so sorry..... - OH MY! Where does the time go? I have not posted since October and we are almost through with March. I can't make up for lost time but I can tell you wh...
4 months ago