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Have You Ever Though About This?

Have you ever stopped to think about the effect your words could have on other people? My oldest son, Philip, has Down Syndrome. I'd like to bring to everyone's attention how a particular word can have a very real future affect on my son, and others like him. The word is retarded. Having Down Syndrome Philip is medically termed "mentally retarded". This word started out as a medical term, but has morphed into being used as a synonym for stupid. Please realize that when you use the word retarded as a synonym for stupid, you are for all intent and purposes claiming my son as being stupid, which believe me, he's not. You may not have ever thought about it that way, I know it can be habit to use these words, but I ask you to please, think about the use of this word and what it can mean to my son, and to others like him, before you say it.

Answer Question

Asked by dedicatedrider at 8:04 PM on Jun. 19, 2010 in Politics & Current Events

Level 18 (6,385 Credits)
Answers (7)
  • Having worked with a person that is handicapped, I can say that I don't like the word myself. I'm sure the people on CM who say it wouldn't say it around a person with down syndrome or direct it at anyone with a true handicap.

    Answer by lowencope at 8:11 PM on Jun. 19, 2010

  • I totally agree! I HATE when I hear people throw that word around so casually. I forbid my kids to use it like that when they were growing up. (they're now 19 & 25) I told them that they need to be sensitive to anyone around them who may have a child or loved one who actually is mentally retarded & how that must make them feel to hear kids calling each other that or just using the word as they do. I blame parents for allowing their kids to say it, & not putting a stop to it. When they hear their kids use that word, it must be made clear to them that it absolutely will not be tolerated.

    Answer by ghostwriter777 at 8:19 PM on Jun. 19, 2010

  • I would encourage you to teach your son to realize that only he gives people that much power. Words are just words.

    Answer by lovinangels at 8:34 PM on Jun. 19, 2010

  • 1. a. The act or process of retarding.(to make flame retardant)

    b. The condition of being retarded.

    2. The extent to which something is held back or delayed.(as in flame retardant)

    3. Something that retards; a delay or hindrance.(illness, chemicals that treat)

    4. Mental retardation.

    5. Music A diminishing of tempo; a retard.

    There is so much more to this word than the mental aspect. We need to remember words do have meanings and use them appropriately.


    Answer by jesse123456 at 9:20 PM on Jun. 19, 2010

  • Thank you. Thank you!
    And yes, there are other definitions for the word, but what the OP is getting at is the derogatory way it is used. And we all know that. Words are NOT just words. Not to everyone. I have a special needs son, and I HATE that word. Teachers don't use it. Medical personnel are not to use it because of the derogatory nature that has become of it. So obviously, words are NOT just words.

    Answer by Raine2001 at 11:08 PM on Jun. 19, 2010

  • I agree, OP!!! Both of my sons have Autism, and it irritates me to hear someone use the "R" word. When someone uses that word as an adjective, it speaks VOLUMES about that person's tact, class, and education level than anything else! I have learned to dismiss it as a low class thing! :o)

    Answer by LoriKeet at 8:56 AM on Jun. 20, 2010

  • Thank you for saying this! My mom ALWAYS encouraged us to use this word correctly, even though our friends would use it as a derogatory slur.

    Answer by scarlet_willow at 11:10 AM on Jun. 21, 2010

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