Why The Word Retard Is A Bad, Bad Word
I used to say the word “retarded.” Not all the time, but on occasion when I wanted to describe something as ridiculous I’d say “That’s so retarded!”
Then I had a kid with disabilities, Max. He has cerebral palsy, and cognitive challenges ranging from comprehension to articulating words. A couple of years ago, I found out that the Special Olympics had started a campaign to get people to think twice about using the words “retard” and ”retarded.”And suddenly I became very aware of how demeaning and hurtful the word is to kids and adults with disabilities.
Although years ago the medical world called people with cognitive impairment “mentally retarded,” that term is now considered outdated, and offensive. Congress has, in fact, banned the words “retarded” and “retardation” from mention in federal health, education and labor laws; the preferred term is “intellectual disability.” These days, a whole lot of people use “retard” to describe something or someone as stupid, ridiculous, pathetic or loser-like. When people fling it around, they spread the idea that people who are cognitively impaired are stupid, ridiculous, pathetic and loser-like.
Today is a national awareness day for the Spread The Word To End The Word campaign, started by The Special Olympics. I hope this video I made explains why “retard” is so demeaning to kids like my Max and adults who are cognitively impaired—and to the people who love them. Meanwhile, if you’d like you can head over to the R-Word site and sign a pledge.
No matter what, think twice about using the word retard. It hurts.
From my other blog: