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End the "R-Word!"

by Charizard821


Retard. Stop for a moment and think about that word. That small six letter word. It’s nothing out of the ordinary. A mere combination of letters to form sounds that we then process into speech. Perhaps you’ve called someone a retard before. If you have, then you’re like quite a lot of people. But have you ever began to wonder what this word actually means? And not just the technical definition of “retard”, but how it’s used and why? Let’s take a minute to analyze this word and find out what it truly means.

It doesn’t take a lot to figure it out. Dictionary.com - one of the world’s largest online dictionaries - defines it as this; “people who are slow or limited in mental development.” So, there you have it. Retard is used to describe a person who is mentally slow. So, why does it come up so much in today’s society? Especially with younger generations? The answer lies in the context we use it in. For example; in today’s young society in particular, the word “retard” is usually thrown out into the air without a second thought. When asked about this, kids will most likely say that since everyone nowadays jokes around with that word, it isn’t as offensive. That’s where the problem presents itself.

We’re using a word that defines a very serious issue for the mere fun of it. And while that doesn’t sound very serious, ask yourself why you’d use this word in the first place. Do I need to tell you the answer? You'd use it to demean someone or something. What, you don’t agree? Well, have you ever heard someone such as your parents say; “You’re such a retard!” when you bring home a 90% on that last math test? Of course not! That’s because today’s younger generations are finding a way to put a negative spin on various words, which includes - you guessed it - “retard”.

To sum all that up, you’re taking the word “retard” - which means mentally slow - and using it to demean your peers and others around you. No matter how you look at it, there’s no positive spin you can put on this. Doesn’t it bother you that you’re using mental slowness as an insult - practically spitting on everyone on this good Earth that’s mentally delayed - and feeling nothing? I know for me it does, and it should for you.

And to all the people out there who are mentally delayed, I can only ask for your sincere forgiveness that this world is using the problem that you can’t control - and wouldn’t choose to have if you could - as an insult.

And if you are among the people who payed attention to this message, I thank you, but it doesn’t end there. It’s great that you know about this problem now, but you must do your part to make things better. So please, don’t call someone a retard, and if you hear someone else doing it, please ask them not to do it again. Help end the “R-Word.”


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Mon Dec 22, 2014 1:39 am
SuperGamer991 says...



Wow man that was a really good peace of work. It sheds light on the problem of the younger generation/my generation using words in wrong ways. If you did not get an A on this I will give it to you now. A+ my friend on this fine peace of literature. Keep on writing stuff this good and inspiring:)




Charizard821 says...


Thanks. Glad you liked it so much. Merry Christmas.



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Thu Dec 04, 2014 8:00 am
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HybridHead wrote a review...



Thoughtful, but lacks maturity. As much as I completely agree with the content, and am also guilty for committing that crime, I think that this piece needs to stock up on solidifying the root meaning of "retard", not just how it is portrayed in the dictionary. It needs to explore the many different contexts in which "retard" can be used in, which will add to its depth instead of just referring to the delay of one's mental development. Expand your article by adding in more examples of different types of mental deformities, bring the reader to your viewpoint of compassion. The key is not to tell the reader what to think, but to paint a favourable picture of your message, which will subtly inspire the reader to agree with you. All in all, I would say that this essay is good work. I think that you have formed the sentences beautifully, and it provides the piece with a good structure. It successfully beckons, and the opening and ending is spot on. However, the content needs to be more substantial. Don't ever stop writing. <3




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Thu Dec 04, 2014 6:44 am
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Transporter23 wrote a review...



Unintentionally hilarious! Completely cracked me up!

Starts off on a promising note but goes nowhere. After an endeavoring first paragraph, the second one is full of corny lines! Agreed this is "young writers society" but the material here is dumb-down for 4 year olds. Yes for those toddlers who like to be spoon-fed their moral science lessons!

The idea in itself was hard to pull off. "R-word is offensive." Yes. But there are better ways to say the same! Write a story/poem on the same idea. How can I buy the fact that you use definitions from dictionary to justify my generation is one behind it?

Then you slip into melodrama. Trying too hard to make a point, the latter paragraphs are contrived and the emotions are superficial. It made me laugh when someone dealing with a subject as realistic as this ended up with emotional manipulation.

The ending in particular was extremely corny and it made me cringe because a novel idea was wasted. Your readers are far more intelligent than you think and overblown emotions don't have any impact on them. The biggest problem here is the pedestrian sensibility!

Final words: This essay doesn't just deliver its message, it whacks you on the head with it. Extremely heavy-handed to cause any impact!




Charizard821 says...


I never actually noticed this being "dumbed down". Just because it isn't accompanied with a story or poem doesn't mean it's juvenile. But maybe I'm wrong, nevertheless.



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JumpyDot wrote a review...






Charizard821 says...


Thanks for the review. I personally disagree but it is your opinion not mine.



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Thu Dec 04, 2014 5:55 am
Holysocks says...



I don't use the word retard ever ( especially when referring to human beings ). But I also don't call people morons, idiots, or stupid. I don't tell people to shut up, or to go to hell. B My parents still use the word retarded, because it once was a leek used word. When they have used it, it is in the most respectful way- I understand that the purpose of this is to stop retard as an insult, which I do agree with. I think insulting people is stupid. Sorry for that last use of the word 'stupid' but I believe when used in certain instances, words of insult can be used in a way that is not insulting. For an example: one of my friends would probably have replaced the 'stupid' in what I said, with a 'retarded'. Or she might say something like 'I think it's retarded when people argue for no reason'. I don't find that offensive, but I can see why some people might. I suppose that it might come across as almost mocking to someone with a mental disability, because it seems like when people are saying 'that thing is stupid' the definition of the word comes through, and you'd think people are saying ( this next example is not ment to offend at ALL, I merely am using it as an example please don't take offence ) 'this dumb thing is like those messed up mentally disabled people' but most times, when the word 'retard' is used, it is not ment to be traced back to it's former meaning. Yes, when someone calls another person a retard, I think that's wrong. But when referring to other things, I think it is alright. I respect your opinion of course. :-D Also I just wanted to mention that in close relationships things are more freer; my uncle is from Newfoundland, and I call him a Newfy... But lists of people think that's a demeaning name... I say it affectionately. I understand though that this is a bit different though.




Holysocks says...


Forgive some of the out of place words in there. Autocorrect. :/



Charizard821 says...


Great thoughts on the matter. I disagree but you presented your thoughts in a great way, so nice work!



Holysocks says...


Alright. :-D



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Thu Dec 04, 2014 4:25 am
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Ciblio wrote a review...



Though I agree with 'Retard' being a problem, I also disagree. In present day, you don't get a lot of complaints about people having a problem with the word. That's just how it is. There are people who are mentally challenged, yes, but from what I've seen, heard, and said, I can say that 'Retard' isn't much of an insult these days. I mean, it's not right to call people something that could mean something bigger, and? And there's also idiot, stupid, moron, all of these are words that mean the same thing that 'Retard' means, as in, how kids these days use it. Though, I don't see anybody complaining about it. Except you. We're all entitled to our own opinions, yes. I respect your opinion on the matter, but if you were to combine it with other words that mean the same thing (keep in mind when I say that, I mean how kids use it these days, and that's usually not to actually call someone slow, but just ridiculous, or lame), your argument wouldn't make much sense. See, you'd be trying to prove a point that couldn't be proven, if that makes sense. Retard isn't the beginning of mean words, and it won't be the end. This one word can mean so much to someone, yes, but it means nothing to a 15-year-old boy who likes to joke around with his friends and throw mean names at each other.
It's not exactly right to put up for this one word that means so much to you and others, but nothing to some, if the word actually does mean nothing today. Honestly, how many times a day do you hear, 'Let's stop using the R-word, it's offensive and it's an inappropriate way to make fun of each other.' You don't hear that. Ever. Because people these days don't care about what it means.
Though, props for your argument. I enjoyed reading it.




Charizard821 says...


Well, my intention was to be that guy that actually said don't use it, but I respect your opinion.



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Wed Dec 03, 2014 3:05 pm
PhoenixXander says...



I just think we shouldn't use any derogatory words, it's all just bullying.




Charizard821 says...


Exactly.



Charizard821 says...


Exactly.



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Wed Dec 03, 2014 2:58 pm
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DrFeelGood says...



I don't want to be mean here by posting 2 negative comments, but I completely agree with @Strangelove

Any word can be offensive. I am someone who loves reading and writing satires. I have myself used this retard word in one of my stories. You need to understand that this word is bad in a particular context When you say, stop using this word you're forgetting that there is a genre called black comedy.

In this genre, cruelty is seen through ridiculousness of characters. Consider this plot: A man is struck under a tree and government officials are called to cut the tree. But the stubborn officials are more keen on saving the tree to support afforestation than saving the man.

If this is the premise of my story I have to offend my readers by using such words and I am not supposed to follow conventional yardsticks. In such cases I will use offensive words.

Feel free to judge me!




Charizard821 says...


I stand firm in disagreeing, but I won't judge you. :)



Charizard821 says...


I stand firm in disagreeing, but I won't judge you. :)



kingofeli says...


This word is always bad. It's been nothing but negative ever since the word was introduced. It's on the same level as n-gger, f-gg-t, and all those other words we're not supposed to say.



DrFeelGood says...


Of course it is bad.

But if I'm writing a story where my character demands such abusive language will this word be censored? Secondly, I strongly agree with that this word shouldn't be used in day to day language but this article blatantly generalized my generation as the ones who propagate such language.

My personal experience says such language was more verbally used in previous generations and I find my generation evolving and matured. It irks me when people write articles without researching and making baseless claims!



DrFeelGood says...


Typo

*strongly agree with the fact that*



Charizard821 says...


Remember that this was for a school project so I had to make it directly affect the people around me. My mistake putting it on YWS without much revision.



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Wed Dec 03, 2014 11:07 am
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DrFeelGood says...



Seriously?

Someone actually wrote an article on this topic? I agree it is a slang. But that is exactly why it is a slang. Tomorrow you might argue to end the f-word or b*tch because it dehumanizes dogs.

My advise is, don't take things so seriously. We have bigger problems in life!




kingofeli says...


It's not slang. It's a slur.



Charizard821 says...


Lao, you're saying do nothing because it's a waste of time that could be spent on bigger things?



DrFeelGood says...


Nope. What I meant is, this article if half-baked. It is both unengaging and inconsistent to cause any impact. I as a reader felt absolutely nothing after reading this. If you really want to put this point forward, you need to write an article which forces me, as a reader to introspect my thinking. At the moment, I found most arguments quite foolish, to say the least.



DrFeelGood says...


Nope. What I meant is, this article if half-baked. It is both unengaging and inconsistent to cause any impact. I as a reader felt absolutely nothing after reading this. If you really want to put this point forward, you need to write an article which forces me, as a reader to introspect my thinking. At the moment, I found most arguments quite foolish, to say the least.



Charizard821 says...


Well, I suppose that's your opinion.



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Wed Dec 03, 2014 5:44 am
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Willard says...



Okay, I disagree with you. The real R word in this situation is ridiculous.

As ridiculous as this sounds,
retard's meaning has changed.

Retard doesn't mean "mentally slow" anymore. It may have back then, but now it's another synonym for stupid, whether you like it or not. Words over time has changed, such as:

Awful: Inspiring wonder or fear
Guy: A person of grotesque appearance
Demagogue: A popular leader
Nice: Silly
Clue: A ball of yarn
Hussy: Housewife


So, the word "retard" has developed a semantic change. People call things that are "stupid" retarded, to mean that it's "stupid", not mentally slow.

My toaster is being mentally slow.

Yeah, the meaning has changed.






True, but it can still be offensive, because the insult has derived from the condition.



kingofeli says...


That doesn't mean it's any less of a bad word. It is still insulting someone's intelligence at the expense of those who are mentally disabled.



Charizard821 says...


I agree with @kingofeli and @TakeThatYouFiend.



Willard says...


Any word can be offensive, you poo poo brain.
That was a bad joke, but you get what I mean.

Anything can derive from anything, so initially I can call you a "cherry-o" but it relates to a dog so I'm calling you a filthy dog.

Yeah, exactly. The meaning has changed from mentally slow to stupid. Hell, fifty years from now people won't know.



Charizard821 says...


Not necessarily. I still don't think it's ok to make it a regular thing to say.



Charizard821 says...


Not necessarily. I still don't think it's ok to make it a regular thing to say.



Charizard821 says...


Not necessarily. I still don't think it's ok to make it a regular thing to say.



Charizard821 says...


Not necessarily. I still don't think it's ok to make it a regular thing to say.



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Wed Dec 03, 2014 3:41 am
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Corncob says...



The people who commented all the errors on this piece I agree with (including the "only new-era problem" corrections), but calling this piece completely incorrect (although your opinion, of course) I think is a little past the point. In my opinion, the real point of this piece is to get the message across that using the word "retarded" in ways such as, "You're so retarded" "that's retarded" and others can be very offensive. Please try to pay attention to the message being put across here.
+1




Charizard821 says...


THANK YOU! That's what I've been trying to say! It's obviously been around longer than today, but I used today as it directly relates to the people around us. Not to purposely overlook it's origins, technicality and history. Your review is fair and I like that. Thank you again.





I see this is a reply to me. Next time, feel free to tell me what you think instead of beating around the bush.

The to long, didn't read of my review is such: saying the r word is offensive and stopping the discussion there ignores why the r word is offensive, and how it's a bad idea to use any insult towards intelligence because you can never use the r word but still discriminate and devalue disabled individuals. By ignoring that part of the word and its connection to broader attitudes around disabled people, you might get people to stop using one slur against disabled people, but you're not actually changing their discriminatory tendencies.



Charizard821 says...


Well then in that case, maybe I'll do something specific to discrimination.



Corncob says...


Actually, @Rosey Unicorn I did read your entire review and I wasn't directing this specifically at you; just wanted to let you know :).



Charizard821 says...


@Rosey Unicorn was talking to me there. Sorry for the confusion.



Corncob says...


Oh, sorry @RoseyUnicorn (how is it that I actually tag your name??). Never mind, then, though I did read your review.



Holysocks says...


You tag her by putting %20 between Rosey & Unicorn with no spaces- @Rosey%20Unicorn. :P



Corncob says...


That didn't work either! XD How.......?



BrumalHunter says...


Sorry for the notifications, but you cannot tag somebody in a review/comment/comment to a review (as far as I know, at least). Holysocks has described the correct method of tagging people with spaces in their usernames, e.g. @Big Brother.



Corncob says...


Ok, thanks @JamesHunt (did that work??) Also thanks @Holysocks



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WrittenGirl46 wrote a review...



*presses like a thousand times* Yes!!! Preach it,


I feel the same exact way about that word it pisses me off when people think it's funny to use that word, which it isn't!! Obviously, but if you feel like you need to call someone a name, especially one like this, think of what it means first, and how it can hurt many many people.


And it's like the ebola jokes and things being "gay". First off EBOLA ISNT FUNNY!!! It's a real problem in American and Africa, everywhere it's a big real problem that people are facing and dying from if a bunch of people think that's funny it's not. Period.


And calling things gay is about as bad as the "R-word" I mean if it's not an insult to gays why should it be an insult to straights or bi's or whatever! And the thing that really pisses me off is that people use gay to call something stupid or bad. Which being gay isn't wrong or bad or stupid at all, in no context is gay wrong. And when people who are not against lgbt and still call things gay, just turns you into a hypocrite.


Sorry for going off track a lot, I agree with you and you are super smart ~The Written Girl




Charizard821 says...


Thanks for the compliment. I'm glad we think the same way!



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Wed Dec 03, 2014 1:09 am
Willard says...



I agree yet disagree about a lot of it.


Will elaborate in a little.




Charizard821 says...


Ok...



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Wed Dec 03, 2014 12:19 am
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Vervain says...



Leaving a comment because I don't have the energy to give you a proper review, and I don't want to cheat you of that.

First off, I found this childish. It's incredibly condescending and it's told in a tone like you're talking to five-year-olds. Teenagers are not five. They understand big words. They'll understand it if you lay out the gruesome history of the word. Please, if you're trying to reach a millennial audience, strip yourself of the idea that you have to dumb it down.

Secondly, I found this childish. This is in terms of content, not just word choice. You have effectively glossed over the history of the word in order to paint it as a millennial issue, which I have a problem with. The word itself was first used sometime around the 1890s to refer to the mentally disabled as a replacement for such terms as idiot. That tells you something. It was used by psychologists in the developing era of the early 1900s.

In other words, it's not new. Not by a long shot. And the fact that you're literally blaming my generation for this? Not cool.

I hear my mother (born 1964) say the word a lot more than my friends do. Hell, I hear my grandfather (born 1939) say the word a lot more than my friends do. And my friends, if I ask them to stop, will. My family won't.

Maybe you need to change your audience, or at least the people you're outright blaming for this.

The word has history.

Also, by the way, I don't appreciate being called "mentally delayed". It's a bad choice, and it actually implies "retarded" due to the root of said r-word, which means "slow" in Latin. It's kind of offensive in implying that people with developmental disabilities and differences have a decreased mental faculty, which is certainly not the case with many if not most, and even those with a decreased mental faculty have the necessary cognizance to be referred to as people.

AKA "don't call me mentally delayed, I'm an autistic person".




kingofeli says...


Most people use this word in a demeaning way or as a slur, just like with the n-word. It's nothing new and it's nothing a specific generation can be blamed for. Re-reading this, I agree with you.



Charizard821 says...


The point here isn't to make other words look good or certain generations of people look bad. All I know is that nowadays, I hear it A LOT. And it needs to stop. The childis thing is your opinion, but not what I was going for, and in no way shape or form am I trying to bring people down? I mean come on! Why would I even bother creating a message like this if I were trying to insult and demean? It makes no sense.



Vervain says...


No, listen, you literally said that it's the fault of teenagers. You don't get to weasel your way out of that one. It's in your words.

You insulted and demeaned me. Don't act like you don't mean to so you get a free pass; apologize and fix it, or realize that you're not really an ally. Suck it up.



Charizard821 says...


Look, I'm autistic too. This isn't just the fault of teenagers (although it is a part of it.) I'm sorry if it came across that way, but please tone down the hate a bit, ok? I am an ally. I don't ever feel good hearing that word.



Vervain says...


Listen, it's still not cool to use "mentally delayed", I'm just saying. It does imply the word you are specifically attempting to get rid of, and it honestly sucks to look at those words and think "they're referring to me".

I don't actually care if you're autistic or not. Like, I care, because that's chill, but it doesn't affect my opinion of you being an ally. There are plenty of women who are anti-women, black people who are anti-black, trans people who are anti-trans, the list goes on. Your autism and your ally status are separate.

Honestly? Let me give you a script for this. If there's a problem with your work being pointed out by someone who has personal experience with this issue, it's usually a good idea to say "sorry" and change it so it's less offensive. This goes for every single group.



Charizard821 says...


Alright, alright, I'm sorry for unintentionally offending you.



Vervain says...


Apology accepted.

Was that so hard? ;D Hey, I'm not here to be your enemy. I'm here to be your critique. Everyone's here for critique. Take it, move on, make something better.

But seriously, it's still not cool to talk like teenagers are five. That's one point I'll remain steadfast on.



Charizard821 says...


I honestly never thought or realized I was. I'll try to improve in the future.



Charizard821 says...


Oh yes and one more thing! It's very important to remember that I did this originally as a school project, thus I had to apply everything I talked about to people in my school. So, if it seemed like I was targeting teenagers or young people, that's why. When I brought it over, I pretty much posted it immediately with little revising. I now realize that was wrong, as the YWS is indeed a broader spectrum of people, therefore I should have adjusted to suit it more. Sorry about that!



Charizard821 says...


Oh yes and one more thing! It's very important to remember that I did this originally as a school project, thus I had to apply everything I talked about to people in my school. So, if it seemed like I was targeting teenagers or young people, that's why. When I brought it over, I pretty much posted it immediately with little revising. I now realize that was wrong, as the YWS is indeed a broader spectrum of people, therefore I should have adjusted to suit it more. Sorry about that!



Vervain says...


At the same time, it doesn't matter if you're targeting teenagers or young people, you still shouldn't have phrased it like they were small children, or incapable of understanding it. Knowing that it was originally a school project does cast a new light on this -- might be something you want to add as an author's note, if it's not already and I just missed it? -- however, it does not completely excuse your use of condescending rhetoric. I'd definitely voice-check the piece to see if it sounds like you're talking down to people, or have someone else voice-check it.



Charizard821 says...


Yeah, for sure. Oh, and the school project thing was mentioned in the short description.



Vervain says...


Unfortunately, I can't see the short description from the main page of the website, or anywhere else except for the literary works page or your portfolio page. Most people aren't going through your portfolio to get here, they're coming from the main page.

Just something to keep in mind. ^^



Charizard821 says...


Yeah, I kind of figured that out after being chewed up about it from a lot of people.



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Love says...



Well... I never use the word, but I'm not 100% sure I agree with the message :p Like, the n word is shunned, and for good reason - yet, in rare situations it can be used in a positive way! :p Same goes for gay, etc. I'm all pro gay, but someone saying "this is gay -_- " doesn't really mean anything, especially if said by relatively intelligent people. I personally would feel free to use it to imitate those I hold in lower esteem, and while I normally wouldn't use it myself, I can see its value. The same goes for the "r word".

Now before everyone calls me out to be homophobic and evil and whatnot, I'll just say that im not and if you think so, you misunderstand me. My general view is that if people are offended by such things beyond measure when the words are used lightly, then they should probably pause for a moment and reevaluate why. From my perspective, if something isn't actually meant, the words to convey the _actual_ meaning shouldn't be the topic of much offence :p Naturally, if someone really means to use the word malignantly with the proper meaning, then feel free to send them to Ireland :p Tis so cold it makes me cry :/




Isha says...


Your last paragraph:

The problem with using these offensive terms is that they're slurs. When someone says "That's so gay," People equate that with the stereotyped concepts of homosexuality, whether they'll admit it or not. When someone calls someone else a "retard," everyone envisions a mentally disables person. That's just the way it is. The reasons people shouldn't use slurs are a vast many, but the Big Two are:

1) It will subconsciously solidify prejudices that everyone carries in their subconscious, which makes their seepage into the rest of society all the more easy. This is why minorities still face so many issues with discrimination today; the little hostilities are normalised, and that in turn normalises the bigger hostilities.

2) It could trigger someone's PTSD, or make someone who's had those words used against them feel extremely unsafe and uncomfortable.

Also, if someone from a specific minority uses their own slur (such as Black people using the N word, or GBLPTQA using the q-word) is not permission for those outside the community to use it. When those within the community use it, it's a way to regain lost power and reclaim an identity seen by others as negative.



Charizard821 says...


Personally I don't agree with this. The word itself is offensive unless used in a technical term. You know, looking through these I've found so many different opinions on this it's crazy!



Corncob says...


*likes Isha's comment*



Charizard821 says...


Sorry, that reply wasn't supposed to go to you. What I meant to say was does this mean you agree or disagree with the message?



Love says...


Haha, it is kinda crazy :p But this is one of the things I'm less certain of, and then, it doesn't even matter what I think since I don't use these words anyway ^_^ But... I still don't feel like harassing everyone who uses them creatively :p Like, using such words in positive ways weakens their negative meaning, and creates positive associations. "Oh, he said this is gay? Why, they remind me of how terrible the world is... But now they really remind me more of a KORN song o: Maybe the person didnt mean it?" . If everyone shuns them except those who really really mean them, the words will become much stronger.



Charizard821 says...


Hm... Interesting theory. I'll keep that in mind.



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Snazzy says...



Hello! :D :)
I honestly, couldn't find anything to correct in this, and all I really want to say is, Thank You. Just thank you for getting this out into the inter connected net. :D It needed to be said, and you said it. Thank you! :D
~Snazzy :)




Charizard821 says...


You're welcome. I'm glad you found the root of where I was coming from and enjoyed it. I mean, after reading other reviews, I've realized that some people found this incorrect, offensive and even a personal attack, and it hurts me to see that. From such a message, I never expected to be met with this much disapproval, and it's a real eye-opener. But, I thank you for understanding.



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Rosendorn wrote a review...



Hello.

This whole piece is incorrect. You're painting this word as a new problem with this generation, the word itself as an alright word, and how the negative spin is "new" when it's not new at all.

The r word was used as a legitimate medical diagnosis for those with mental disabilities when psychology first began. The reason it stopped being used as a legitimate medical diagnosis is because it entered popular lexicon and lost its meaning. Your example of "parents not using that word" is, again, incorrect, because yes parents do say this, and yes even potentially their grandparents or even great grand parents if they're young enough, used that word to describe somebody slow, intellectually.

The words "cretin", "cripple", "daft", "dumb", "idiot", "imbecile", "insane", "lunatic", "lame", "maniac", "mad", "moron", "psychopathic", "spaz", and quite a few others have almost identical roots. They have been used within psychology as derogatory and dehumanizing terms for people with physical and/or mental disabilities. This use goes back a century or so, and those words have been a problem since day one. Not recently. Not with this generation. Day one. At least three generations ago, if not four or five (depending on how young each generation had kids).

The r word never was and never will be a safe, harmless word. It does not matter where you use it or if you use it in "legitimate" contexts of being mentally slow, as per its dictionary definition. That very context is dehumanizing. If you call somebody who has an intellectual disability "retarded", even if you mean "hey they're just developmentally late they'll get there eventually", that is still a wildly problematic use of the world. It is still a bad word to use. You should not use it even when you're not purposely trying to degrade someone, because the word itself degrades whoever you use it on regardless of whether or not it's an "accurate usage".

Strip that word of your vocabulary in any and all contexts. Actually, strip all words that degrade someone based on physical or mental disability out of your vocabulary, because that list I gave up there? All slurs. All of them have the same weight for disabled individuals as the n-word does for blacks. This list has a few more words and why they are bad to use. The discrimination against disabled individuals is called ableism, and it is a giant problem in society.

Yes, you should get rid of the r word. But not for these reasons. Not because of what context it's currently used in. You should get rid of that word because it is a slur, full stop.

~Rosey




Burrow says...


I agree



carbonCore says...


What's the proper medical term for "psychopathic"? As far as I understand, psychopathy is still a proper term in the medical books.



Charizard821 says...


I feel that we were on the same page here, but approached it different ways. And you're correct. The word should not be used at all. It's true. But my purpose in this entire piece was to help expose and destroy the word, so I couldn't just say don't use it because it's a slur. I needed evidence to support this. And I think I summed it up pretty nicely, because by "context", I mean why we use it. Today, most use that word as a derogatory insult, which is both technically and morally incorrect. The context we use it in is a bad one, and that needs to change. Plus, I have NEVER heard my parents utter that word out of fun OR technicality. I'm sue many others don't hear it either. My point there was to point out that all we're doing is using that word to demean, which isn't alright. Perhaps the word should be eradicated entirely. All the better. You see, we had the same idea here, though our angles were different. I hope that you can see that now. Thanks for the review.





@carbonCore The problem lies in using "psychopath" to describe anybody who commits mass murders and therefore excusing their behaviour with "they're mentally ill therefore they're violent" when the likelihood of them being mentally ill/actually psychopathic is low. The fact psychopath does exist but is rarely used in proper context is a giant problem, because it paints actual people with personality disorders like sociopathy and psychopathy as violent murderers, making the stigma towards them ten times worse.

@Charizard821 That was not the point of my review. My review repeats many, many times that this word has been used to degrade since day one. You maintain in your reply that the problem is only modern context, when I told you that it has been a problem from the very start. You are using a fallacy of "well I don't hear it in these contexts therefore it is never used in these contexts," assuming that your experience is universal when it is not. Several of my friends have heard their parents use this word. If that friend is mentally disabled, then their parents have used that word towards them.

We do not have the same idea at all. This "evidence" is how the word is used in modern context, and I told you that evidence is not the correct evidence to use. If this piece really wanted to provide evidence towards how the word retarded is a terrible word, it would say that the word retarded and the concepts behind it have been used for over a century to keep mentally disabled people in care homes in which they were provided with sub-standard treatment, oftentimes traumatizing therapy, and have around an 80% assault rate. It would say how people who had been diagnosed as retarded are often ignored by medical, legal, and social workers and their issues brushed under the rug because "they're retarded/ intellectually disabled they don't understand what's going on around them they're just making it up." It would say how mentally disabled people have been violently abused for centuries and are still being abused because people think "they have the mind of a child they don't understand". It would say that disabled individuals are denied organ transplants because doctors think disabled people don't have fulfilling lives and aren't worth using an organ on. It would say that people intellectually disabled are outright murdered after their caregivers snapped because they're so hard to deal with. It would then say these caregivers were let off with minimal sentencing because their actions are understandable in the eyes of the justice system. It would say this was still happening today thanks to the attitudes perpetuated by the use of the word retarded.

It would say this discrimination is systematic because the attitudes perpetuated by the word retarded still exist, and it would ask people to think critically about why being intellectually delayed is a bad thing. Why do we degrade people for not being intelligent? Why are they worth less? Why do we use words for intellectual disability as our go-to insult when there's nothing insulting about being intellectually disabled? Those are the questions that actually dismantle the structure behind why we use the r word, instead of just saying "oh don't use this word it's bad." You make the world a safer, more understanding place for disabled individuals when you challenge the root, not just the symptoms. The r word is a symptom of a much deeper issue.

The "evidence" in this piece ignores the violent, bloody, dehumanizing, and abusive history of the word retard. That is almost as bad as using the word. Ignoring the history of the word in the name of making a point means you don't really care about the disabled individuals that word hurt. This piece is just interested in shaming the modern generation for being more degrading than the previous generation, when they very much are not. The r word is not a plague on modern society. It's a plague on society for the past century. Acknowledging that sounds one heck of a lot more powerful than simply saying "it's bad to degrade people", doesn't it?

This piece does nothing to help with disabled rights. This piece simply tells us not to use a word because the context is bad, instead of acknowledging that this word has weight. That society is structured to discriminate against disabled individuals. This piece uses something from the disability rights movement to shame millennials (aka gen Y, aka the younger generation) when they are not the ones at fault here at all. The fault lies with the psychologists of a century ago that coined the word retard and used it to dehumanize mentally disabled individuals. The fact this piece ignores disability history in the name of forwarding a youth-shaming agenda? That is my issue.



Charizard821 says...


Are you kidding me right now? That was downright insulting. And I apologize for being so crude about this but how dare you accuse me of being as bad as someone using the word. And then to say I don't care about the individuals I speak of? Do you realize the accusation your Maine? I'm sorry, but my use of this generation so much is because it is heard very much today, especially in young society, along with many others! I am trying to defend and stand up for these people, and you just step on it all like I'm the bad guy. Again, I'm sorry, but since you clearly didn't like this, I feel that instead of bashing ms every way to Sunday over it, you re-write it in your own words! And I'd feel much better if you refrained from reviewing any further works of mine. I'd rather not be insulted in front of such an accepting community again. So, thanks for your review.





I was not insulting you. I was simply saying this piece is incomplete, incorrect, and doesn't address the root issue of why the word is bad from its entomology. That doesn't say anything about your character. I'm sure your intent with this was good, with education as your top priority. It's not an insult to say the education was insufficient.

I am saying there is a difference between adjusting your vocabulary because you don't want people to yell at you and adjusting your vocabulary because you realize the word is a symptom of deep rooted systematic prejudice you have to unlearn from the ground up in order to be a proper ally. That is my biggest critique of this piece, because it errs on the "don't use it so people don't yell at you" side, instead of the "dismantle the hurtful systems" side. It doesn't take the argument a tiny little bit further to include "being mentally disabled isn't insulting and isn't demeaning, so why use it as an insult?" That's honestly all it would take for this to be ten times better for disability rights. One little line that addresses the system.

I never once said you were as bad. I said this piece does not address the deeper roots of ableism, which does not advance disability rights, which doesn't really fix anything at all. Not addressing the roots means those roots are still there, meaning disabled people are still discriminated against even if the r word is never said anymore. That's why it's almost as bad. A symptom might be gone, but the illness is still there.

That is not an attack on you, but a critique of why I find this piece unsatisfying. I was frustrated at the piece for ignoring deep rooted history in the r word and instead assuming many, many incorrect things about its history, along with disability rights issues. The only thing I ever said about you was your rhetoric was incorrect in why you think the word "retard" is only a modern issue. That is not a critique on you, but your argument. Your arguments and you are separate.

It is one tiny little step in the right direction to stop using the r word. However, if you stop the discussion there, at the symptoms of the issue, disability rights do not progress. In order for disability rights to honestly progress, you must reveal why the word is bad from its very roots. You must have people question why you insult people with lowered intelligence, why it's considered demeaning to insult intelligence, why it's considered a bad thing to be unintelligent, to be mentally disabled. This piece doesn't do that. It just says "don't use the word it's bad to insult people". That doesn't address how the word is used as a slur towards disabled people. That doesn't address the systematic discrimination of disabled people. It doesn't address how disabled people are devalued in society for their perceived lower intelligence.

So having people stop using a word is, yes, a correct step. But it's not a very big one, and it's insufficient to stop the discussion there. To ignore the history. To ignore that even in the technical sense, that word is wrong. To ignore the whole system that makes the r word bad. Because as I listed in my review, there are many other words that are very bad, and if you just replace the r word with "idiot", disability rights are no farther ahead. It's only when people stop insulting people based on intelligence that disability rights are farther ahead.

I'm trying to educate you on why this piece is insufficient, on the evidence you could use, on larger reaching ableism issues and activism issues you should be aware of, simply because these are important things to know if you're trying to champion a cause. I am only critiquing this piece and your arguments. You yourself might not have a single malicious intent, but unfortunately your intent does not protect you from the effects of a piece, especially when it stops a hair shy of helping disability rights and doesn't really advance the cause.

I hope you see a bit more of my intent, and how I am also standing up for those who are affected by the system that makes the r word so bad. You are addressing the word, which is one thing, but I am saying it's necessary to also address the system when addressing the words that system has made slurs.



Charizard821 says...


You know what? That's actually a good idea. The sentence and the history should be included, but they likely weren't because of this originally being intended solely for the small community of my school. I didn't want to lose interest in my intended audience in going on about history, so that's likely why I seem a little on the vague side. It was likely too short, but I was given the criteria of 30-60 seconds of spoken word, which didn't give me much wiggle room. I'm sorry for how this turned out. Next time, I'll revise a little more before publishing here.



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Tue Dec 02, 2014 5:34 am
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ReiiSquid wrote a review...



I had my younger sister read this. She's about fourteen and uses this word at least three times a day, usually when ranting about the idiots in the world (you have to admit that there are idiots, normal people who just don't get it). Recently though, it's been getting rather annoying.

When I had her read this, she gave me this shamed look. I think this made her rethink her vocabulary! Sometimes people just need to know to stop and think about what they're saying and you get that. Thank you for trying to get that suggestion out there.

Keep writing!




Charizard821 says...


Thanks! I'm glad you showed your sister. I'm sure she'll think twice before using it in the future.



kingofeli says...


Considering "idiot" is also an ableist word which dehumanizes mentally disabled people, I'd stop using that word as well.



Charizard821 says...


Indeed.



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queenofscience wrote a review...



Hi. Queen here. Wow! great job. Very well writen and clear. Great message, too.

In scientific and medidical terminolgy it would be better to call someone mentaly delayed than retarted. Retarted just has a negitive conotation to it and is unessary.

Having a disbilty myself, its quiet sad the iggnorance that people with physical and mental disabilities face. People just don't understand.




Charizard821 says...


Exactly the point I'm trying to get across. I'm glad you understand where I'm coming from. Thank you so much for your review. And as for your disability, don't ever let it keep you down.





Thanks. :)



Charizard821 says...


Yeah, I have one too, but I don't let it keep me down!



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Rurouni wrote a review...



Well... I must say this is... a good argument...

But there are a LOT more things besides Retard we can get rid off. Like, every woman needs to be this perfect, "Hourglass" and have big breasts and hips.

And the whole "That's GAY!" thing. (I find this so freakin' offensive you have no idea. Gay is happy, or... well, manxman womanxwoman.).


While I enjoyed this, I have called a person a retard because we were playing around (fun and games and we didn't mean it). But it can be rude and offensive in non-friendly environments, and actually meaning an insult.

Also, there are bigger fish to fry than Retard, trust me.

~Ruro~




Charizard821 says...


True enough but I couldn't disagree more. Whether it's in friendliness or not, the term itself is offensive. I wouldn't care if you were or weren't this person's best friend, if I heard you saying that, no matter what the intentions, I'd feel offended. And while you did point out other good ones that I may cover in the future, saying there are bigger fish to fry practically was like a slap in the face for me. You've basically said I've wasted my time when I could have been writing about something else, and that I shouldn't take it seriously. I'm sorry, but that's how that came across to me.



Rurouni says...


I said it because there are young girls STARVING themselves to be this "perfect" image and it's sickening. An insult in my opinion can wait.



kingofeli says...


R*tard is a slur, not simply an insult. Slurs are slurs, and everything needs to be worked on. There are lots of problems in society, and not a single one deserves to be or can be ignored.



Rurouni says...


I do agree, but there are some things I think, we should focus on. Retard should't be ignored, but it shouldn't be our main focus either.



Charizard821 says...


I agree with you, and I may cover those topics in the future, but for now I think I'll stick to writing my fan fiction.



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CuriosityCat says...



Once or twice, when I was a little kid and didn't quite get it, I called some kids "r-words". But when I understood what it meant, I felt awful. Now, I really hate it when people use that phrase, too. :) Great job on the essay, it was brilliantly written!
Cheers!
~Cat




Charizard821 says...


Thank you so much! I did the same thing but I learned what it meant and it disgusts me today too.



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Sonder wrote a review...



Amen! Goodness, you do not know how much I despise the word. Since it is used medically to describe mentally disabled persons, as a individual with close ties to the disabled community, it really stabs at me when it is used as a demeaning term. One of my best friends has Cerebal Palsy, and it is completely true that he is indeed mentally retarded. This is fine, it is the medical term. What is not okay is using a real medical issue and turning it into an insult.
Thank you for raising awareness. :)




Charizard821 says...


Of course! People need to know about this so one way or another I'll make them know!



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InfiniteSnowfall wrote a review...



Hey there!
This was such a good read. I never realized how hurtful and offensive the R-Word could be. I knew it was a mean thing to call someone, but never stopped to think how it offensive it really is. I don't use the word, but it's so commonly used in my high school. And like me, they probably don't know how deep that word can hit someone. Thanks for posting this! It really opened up my eyes.

~ Snow

By the way, I totally agree with Firepower13's idea of putting this message into a story. I think that would really allow readers to see the effects of th R-Word.




Charizard821 says...


You're welcome! But as I said before, it just isn't my style. Not this time anyways. Maybe I'll do it sometime in the future.





I understand :) If you ever do though, let me know!



Charizard821 says...


Actually I'm currently bouncing ideas around in my head and I have a pretty good one. It's inspired by something another writer did - who for the life of me I can't remember the name of - and involves a day at school.



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Firepower13 wrote a review...



I take my hat off to you, good sir. You are part of the depressingly small portion of humanity that stops and thinks.

I babysit two kids, a brother and a sister. The boy is mentally disabled, but he's fun-loving and adorable. Every time I hear the r-word used, ever, I think about him and his sweet innocence and feel like humanity has failed as a species.

Very powerful work. You don't have a story or plot, but you get your message across just fine without one. The only thing I would worry about is that perhaps you are getting it across a bit too well. Many readers might be scared off by this piece when they notice that its a bit of an activist story and decide not to read.

Fear not! You could camouflage your theme. Write it into another story, so that it holds appeal for everyone, and spread your message that way.

Keep fighting the good fight, bro.




Charizard821 says...


Thank you for your review! While I can see myself creating a story in which this would be effective, I think that this way is better. It gives me a sense of no sugar coating and no reading between the lines. This is a very real problem, and I would not like to accompany a real problem with a work of fiction. It just isn't my style unless it's purely for the fun of it, which this is not. Plus, I think this way has more of a powerful impact. I think it'll be easier to remember in the real world than a story. And don't worry, I'm not worried about people being scared off, because why would you turn away from something like this out of fear, unless you're someone who just can't handle someone speaking out about their actions. Don't get me wrong, there are many other reasons people would click off, so please don't think I'm accusing people of not owning up to their actions (if they even said this, which I hope they didn't.) I tip my hat in return my fellow writer, because you have presented an amazing idea that could help this little piece grow, however upon reading it, I am 110% happy with how it is currently. Perhaps you could do something like this! That would be interesting to read!



Firepower13 says...


As a matter of fact, I think I might! Thank you for that idea!



Charizard821 says...


Anytime! But I warn you, it may be a race. I'm bouncing ideas around currently, and I think I am going to make it into a story after all.



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kingofeli wrote a review...



Wow. I'm really in to social justice and whatnot, and I'm really happy to see this piece out there. As a huge advocator for the end of ableism, it's so incredibly hard to get people to realize that the words they're used to saying on the daily are actually extremely hurtful. Admittedly, I didn't read this whole thing as I already understand the argument, but from what I did read I can tell that you have a good handle on this. If this were a school essay, I'd definitely give you an A+.

Having developmental problems myself (ADHD) and having been called retarded by others for a long time, I sincerely thank you for writing this, so that those here in the YWS community who still use this word in a negative way will start to think differently and erase the word from their vocabulary, at least in the negative sense. Keep on writing~




Charizard821 says...


Thank you so much! It's crazy how fast you responded to this, as it hasn't even been up for more than 5 minutes in the Green Room! I have ADHD as well, and while I haven't been called a retard in a hurtful way, I figured that the world needs to know that no matter how and when you use it, the word is extremely offensive. And don't worry. I'll be writing for a long time to come. :)




Uh, Lisa, the whole reason we have elected officials is so we don't have to think all the time. Just like that rainforest scare a few years back: our officials saw there was a problem and they fixed it, didn't they?
— Homer Simpson