I remember, during the course of so many conversations, having to point out to my dad that we didn’t use this word or that word to describe various groups of folks anymore. I know he didn’t mean to want to be offensive; he just needed a little help keeping up with the times. (Although I always appreciated that he said “dungarees” instead of “jeans” and he often called his shorts “Bermudas.”)
Well, now’s my chance to help some of you keep up with the times too. News flash, in case you missed it: the r-word, including the word “retard” and phrases like “That’s retarded,” are now off the list of words to use if you’d rather not appear degrading and hurtful.
Stephen Colbert interviewed Special Olympics CEO Tim Shriver who did a great job of explaining why here. They do a quicker (and funnier) job than I can, so check it out.
Tim was also on Bill Maher – equally eloquent. What a wonderful spokesperson for people with special needs. I love the line ‘putting the word people first’. We can’t make people stop using words, but we can try to educate them.
I heard about the Maher piece too, and I’m glad that the word change is getting some momentum. It’s just not a particularly useful word or phrase (“mentally retarded”) anymore, even when used clinically. It has so much bad ju-ju around it now that I think it just needs to go.
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