Thursday, October 6, 2011

Another 4 Letter Word...

 (OK I know it's not 4 letters, but might as well be)

What does that mean?

Well in the past it was used to describe a medical condition where a person had delayed learning - mental retardation - and honestly we all know what it means.

However, society has twisted the word, we have used it so much to basically call someone:  ridiculous, stupid, moronic, idiotic.  We've said, why did I do that I'm such a retard, can you believe so and so did that - what a retard, my phone isn't working it's being retarded...and the list goes on and on

I did it in the past.  Totally guilty.

However, I am now educated that retarded is a hate word.  Once you are in the special needs community when you hear the word retarded, it just stabs you in the chest & makes your eyes water.

When people I love use the word I cringe a little bit, and I know they do too once they realize they said it around me.


Am I being sensitive?  No not really.  Because you see, my sweet Ollie isn't ridiculous.  She isn't stupid.  She isn't a moron. 

The medical community has now replaced the word mental retardation with cognitively delayed.  Yes, it means the same thing medically, but it doesn't have the negative spin on it that we have created.

So I ask you to please go here & sign the pledge.  For Ollie Faith and so many others, be aware of what you say because words really do hurt.  And when you are an adult you are responsible for your actions & what you teach your children.  Remove this word from your vocabulary.  Make an impact on your children that the R word is not acceptable at any time.

Spread the word to end the word!


  1. Ok, where did you get the don't dis my ability shirt? I have wanted one for Russell for the longest time!

  2. I want to say this...although I completely agree that the use of the word has become a four letter word in regards to saying that something or someone is "retarded" when they're doing something silly or not working the way you want it to...

    I have to say I get a tad bit annoyed by the amount of activism over this word when it is a word in the dictionary that means simply, SLOWED or INHIBITED.

    I use the word in my vocabulary, not as an insult, but as a descriptive word. I tend to NOT use it in regards to people who are, by definition, retarded. I prefer to be PC and use something like developmentally delayed, special needs, etc. If I must, use anything at all.

    However, I don't thnk a lot of people understand that retarded doesn't necessarily mean "STUPID" or "DUMB" and that's the problem with the English language today, most people who speak English, don't even understand their own language.

    I understand the word has become somewhat obsolete to use for its defined purpose, but I do want people to understand that EVERY single use of the word is not a DIS and is NOT a four letter use and is not an insult.

    Retarded growth of my plants, for example, is a fair and correct use of the word. But I find if I say it, even in an instance such as this, that I get scowls and anger, etc.

    I refuse to allow someone to limit my vocabulary, and I am the parent of a special needs child! I just don't want to constantly have this fight with other moms and dads when I might use the word for its DEFINED purpose... I think that needs to be pointed out.

  3. I agree with you above & I am aware of it's defined purpose. I wouldn't get my feathers ruffled about using it properly, but let's be real - 99% of the people that use the word retarded are not using it as it is defined in the Dictionary. Just this week I saw it used on Facebook multiple times - calling "the new facebook retarded" it's those instances that it needs to be pointed out as an offensive word.

    It's the same as the word bitch (a female dog)...but rarely are those words used as they should properly be used - a majority of the time they are used offensively. I stoped using the word retarded before I became a Mom to a child with special needs. It's our responsibility as adults to own our words. I don't think not using the word retarded only applies to parents of children with special needs - it's applies to everyone.

  4. I don't like the word either...and will correct people when they do say it!

  5. I have had this discussion a LOT with someone who also has a child with a cognitive disability (But someone who is very into accurate language use). My friend feels the same as the anonymous posting above,that it could be used in certain contexts appropriately (although interestingly, my friend does NOT use the word... hmmm).

    The reason that I think it's so offensive is because even though the R word has evolved to its current popular usage, which most people don't equate to intellectual delays, is because it evolved from those people in the first place. That is where the word started and its derogatory meaning came from the derogatory attitude toward the disabled. That is also why the medical community stopped using the R word- because it became so derogatory.

    So even when you use it as slang and not as a put down toward our children, it hurts us because we know why the word evolved the way it has. And even said in ignorance, it is dismissive of our children and devalues them.

    That's just my own feelings though.

    I do think that you and Ollie look great in these photos though!

  6. So many words in our society have new meanings or allude to things they did not in our past when we were younger. We all know what those words are and out of respect for everyone, we should try and understand how the use of these words in some situations are offensive. I understand Anonymous' point, but I also understand that is not what you are talking about, Annie. Of course many words can be used in proper context in the proper setting. This is not about being PC, it is about being aware of how our words (and actions) could affect to our fellow human beings. If the words we were talking about were racial, I think all of us could agree they are offensive. Words hurt, even when said anonymously. Ann {{Ollie}}

  7. Thanks for this coherent and compassionate post. Interesting to know that medical vocabulary evolved in response to prejudicial twisting... good people, those medical vocabulary folks. On the subject of language use: I don't think you need defend "sensitivity" either; more sensitivity to the journeys of others would surely help us all forward.

    And I also love the photo of Ollie; great shirt, even better smile.

  8. I too, have been guilty of using the word but no longer use it even in it's correct context because of the negative, offensive meaning it is usually assigned. As a rule I put little stock into people's opinions if they aren't willing to sign their name to that said opinion.

  9. you look FABULOUS!!

    Not to take away from the post, because yes, it is such a hateful word. I feel like washing my own mouth out with soap if it even pops into my head.


Thank you so much for your kind words & support! I love hearing from you & read each and every comment you leave for me! ~Annie


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