Is it only me or is the use of this word offensive?

southerncanuckMay 4, 2013

I need to come over to this site for a chuckle now and then as well as listen to some normal people, not just home buffs.

On a recent thread on the plumbing site a homeowner asked a question under the heading " safety drain cover for public drain ". During a long post where the answer was obvious that person called their neighbours (please forgive me I'm quoting here) a retard. Then continued and referred to them as retarded. They used it twice, reviewed the post and entered it. Only one other poster was somewhat offended by that language and the original poster just shrugged it off. I wanted to scream.

Here in Canada that word is as offensive as that other word used to describe African North Americans. I'm actually outraged. Hey, I hate this political correctness going to far as much as the next person. Is it just us up here that find that description of a person with a disability offensive?

Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
Toni S

Retarded is a word that describes more than a person with a disability (downs I assume). So yea, IMO, its just you up there. I don't see the word itself as being offensive, just descriptive. Still, I understand your grief. You have to realize it's an opinion in this case.

OTOH, calling people names from behind a computer screen is cowardly. It doesn't usually help a disagreement and it distracts from the real item of debate. Plus plenty of people like yourself are touched by the Downs syndrome equation. IMO they may have mental retardation but they are gifted in other areas. I don't feel upset about it or the need to guard them. Most with downs, and esp those that are capable of conversation, they know what's going on and have a fair idea of what they want. I've also heard them dish out unflattering words. agh, so what. Love them anyway, even more.

    Bookmark   May 4, 2013 at 3:51AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
southerncanuck

Plus plenty of people like yourself are touched by the Downs syndrome equation.

Excuse me. Am I reading this correctly?

    Bookmark   May 4, 2013 at 4:29AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
ghoghunter

I think it is horrible to use that word. There are plenty of other words to use when you are angry about something and yes I am offended when I hear it.
Joann

    Bookmark   May 4, 2013 at 6:10AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
rhizo_1 (North AL) zone 7

When people use the word 'retard ', it's done as very pathetic bullying. I find it offensive and indicitive of the lowest type of ignorance. Perjoratives have no place in a public forum.

I'm perplexed by toni 's response, too. Maybe she'll explain.

    Bookmark   May 4, 2013 at 6:19AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
maire_cate

It is an offensive term here in the States too.

    Bookmark   May 4, 2013 at 7:33AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
hounds_x_two

Offensive

    Bookmark   May 4, 2013 at 7:42AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
colleenoz

I would consider it up there with the "n" word unless you are using it to describe someone with an undiagnosed developmental disability, and even then you'd have to be pretty careful how you used it.

    Bookmark   May 4, 2013 at 7:44AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
jannie

Yes I'm offended. I'll use the word retard only to mean stop, like how do you retard rust from forming on metal.

    Bookmark   May 4, 2013 at 7:56AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
azzalea

It's extremely offensive and inappropriate. I don't hear it used as an insult too much any more, but when I do, it makes me so very angry.

    Bookmark   May 4, 2013 at 8:53AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
yayagal

The person who said it is ignorant and clueless. He or she needs to be enlightened. I would have had to respond to that.

    Bookmark   May 4, 2013 at 9:05AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
chisue

I haven't heard it since our DS left grammar school. He's 42. I DO like 'case of arrested development'. It would seem to describe the poster who denigrates her neighbors -- but I haven't read the post.

    Bookmark   May 4, 2013 at 9:11AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
dedtired

Calling someone a Retard is very offensive and socially unacceptable. Saying someone is mentally retarded sounds very wrong, but maybe not quite as offensive. I'm not sure what the PC term is these days -- perhaps mentally challenged? special?

Sometimes I look back to my 1950's childhood and cringe at the terms we used. Of course, as small children we were just echoing what we heard and had no idea what the terms even meant, like eeny meeny miney moe, catch a ______ by the toe. Jeez, can you believe that even came out of our mouths??

Better to call the neighbors jerks. Personally, I call one of mine a-holes, but they are.

    Bookmark   May 4, 2013 at 9:46AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
ruthieg__tx

It's actually offensive that you came over here and started an offensive thread...It's one of those subjects that usually gets people riled and better just left to the hot topics.

    Bookmark   May 4, 2013 at 9:47AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
Toni S

I see calling someone retarded the same as the words stupid or idiot. Lots of words pop up. All equally childish. (see we agree!)
I don't see my OR equate my 'downs' friends, as 'retards' , ever! So I was assuming because of your last sentence that you equated retard to them and was offended when someone used that word to describe others.
I may not be so overly offended by the use of the word retard, or retarded, that doesn't mean I think its ok . It's just someones opinion and immature way of communicating. On the other hand if its that important to you to educate people , go for it. My pet peeve might be the use of the >f

    Bookmark   May 4, 2013 at 9:53AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
adellabedella_usa

The word is pretty much considered offensive in daily use, but I do know of a child newly diagnosed as "mentally retarded" by a doctor a couple of years ago. Maybe it is still used as a medical term.

I'm tired of political correctness. The old words were created to be descriptive. IMO, the new words are just new ways to be descriptive. At some point in time, they will be determined to be offensive also.

    Bookmark   May 4, 2013 at 10:28AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
sjerin

I truly think some uninformed people, (and their children,) don't understand that pejorative was used many years ago to compare someone to another with limited mental abilities. Dedtired, I remember using the word "gypped" all the time and never thought twice about it until decades later, as I was thinking of the origin of that word.

I see nothing wrong with starting such a thread. Since some seem to be unaware of how cruel such a word is, why not mention? Just because you hear the word used by people in your circle, does not make it just "another of those pc words that someone says we shouldn't use." Would you tease a mentally disabled person to his/her face?? If such a person or the parent of such a person were walking past you on the street as you used that word with your friend, do you think there would be no hurt feelings?

    Bookmark   May 4, 2013 at 11:08AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
kris_zone6

I have a mentally challenged brother, so the use of the word is very offensive to me. Some of the younger generation use the word rather freely, but most of them do not equate it with a disability. I had to explain to my grandchildren why I consider it offensive and ask them not to use it. Once they knew why, they don't use it anymore (at least not in front of me).

    Bookmark   May 4, 2013 at 11:55AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
YogaLady1948

My DD is a high school English teacher and she tells her students it is very offensive and is just the same as making a racial remark~~not allowed in her class or her presense. My 2 older grand kids use it alot when refering to each other and my DD lectures them 'every time'. She feels very strongly about it and I do not want to ever be with her in public if anyone says it she will tell them what's up!

    Bookmark   May 4, 2013 at 12:04PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
joyfulguy

To refer to someone who doesn't actually have a mental or emotional handicap. but has merely done something that annoys one, is, in my opinion, improper ... and more than borderline offensive.

That implies that we look down on people who are actually having to cope with limited mental or emotional capabilities, rather than accepting them as they are, with some extra consideration due to the extra difficulties with which they have to cope, often not on just a short term basis, but possibly for life.

Somewhat more precision in use of language is preferable ... and it appears to me that often, the "f" word that was referred to earlier, is just another adjective that many people use, in almost any circumstance ... and, often, reiterated at several times a minute ... even, sometimes, more than once in the same sentence.

Yuck!

ole joyfulmprperly ... looks like a surplus of letters on this keyboard, what?

    Bookmark   May 4, 2013 at 12:12PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
themommy1

I used that word once when I was 8 or 10. Mother sat me down and explained what words like that ment in the way I was useing it. Then my mouth was promptly washed out with soap, so I would rember the lesson, and I did. It was not a good choise of words for the person to use.

    Bookmark   May 4, 2013 at 1:24PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
breenthumb

Good grief! Did you actually expect anyone to say it's fine, we use that word all the time down here?

I found your journal entry especially entertaining, considering this post.

    Bookmark   May 4, 2013 at 2:53PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
Lindsey_CA

I'm curious as to why Toni seems to think that the word would only refer to someone with Down Syndrome ("Downs" is incorrect, by the way).

    Bookmark   May 4, 2013 at 3:51PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
nanny98

I agree that the use of the word is usually hurtful, and I thought I was the only mom who believed that washing the mouth with soap was a 'cure' for such use. LOL

    Bookmark   May 4, 2013 at 7:18PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
bee0hio

My dictionary even lists it as "offensive":

retard: noun : offensive
a mentally handicapped person (often used as a general term of abuse).

I think Ole Joyful said it very well... that to use the word as a descriptive for someone to whom it doesn't apply (as a pejorative) implies that we look down on those with mental handicaps.

I don't think it has a thing to do with "political correctness" & IMO that term, itself, is thrown about too loosely by some who want or like the freedom to insult or marginalize others.

I remember an occasion years & years ago when a KTer defended her & her teenagers' use of the word retard.... caused a big WHOOP!

    Bookmark   May 4, 2013 at 7:47PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
lisa_fla

There was an article about this in my newspaper just this week!

Here is a link that might be useful: article

    Bookmark   May 4, 2013 at 7:52PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
Cynic

The word has multiple meanings as do many words. I'm not offended by it. Frankly I've been called much worse by people on this forum! LOL And I'm much more offended by people who search for ways to be offended by every word in (or out of) the dictionary. And it's curious how the "n" word is not offensive when a black calls a black.

Too many people don't understand the difference between the terms "offensive" and "vulgar", "crude" (which too has multiple meanings) and otherwise. It demonstrates the exaggeration and hypersensitivity we seem to have to accept these days.

Since I don't know what term is universally socially acceptable these days for someone with a mental illness it's even difficult to explain something since we all know there's people lined up to take offense to anything said, but here goes anyway:

Most times I see the term "retard" used it's meant as an insult to someone who is not, in fact, "mentally retarded". I can't say that I've seen it used in forums and conversation to insult someone who actually is (with mental disease or other politically correct phrase). No different in reality than someone saying "move your fat butt" to someone who doesn't have a "fat butt" but the people with "fat butts" of course will be highly offended.

It's truly offensive that simple little words, innocuous words, an assemblage of letters causes such a ruckus amongst the thin-skinned. Perhaps we need to ban letters since that is actually the base of the offense. Although come to think of it, we are these days. People have become "ppl", daughters are now nothing more to their parents than a bra size and so on.

It's funny how many people spew the "mommy said if you can't say something nice..." who forget that mommy also said "sticks and stones"!

    Bookmark   May 4, 2013 at 8:23PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
Toni S

Lindsey, reread my first sentence in the second post, three more times. What did I say? I used the word the poster used (disability )and in place of down syndrome (downs). I personally DON'T feel that way at all. The few downs friends I have are all special, just like anyone. In the medical sense the word does work but it's obvious here that it offends quite a few. And no I don't have the desire to tease anyone with the word or use it in the medical sense unless I would be talking to a fellow nurse. I was a nurse for several years until I decided to stay home with the kids. We did rarely have to use the word retarded but not in descibing a down syndrome child. It's pretty obvious they have a condition and for some they are past it even being a disability. People shouldn't feel sorry for them, but rather rejoice for them. Look for the good in a tough position.

    Bookmark   May 4, 2013 at 8:40PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
daisyinga

Plus plenty of people like yourself are touched by the Downs syndrome equation.

If you read the original post Southern Canuck is referring to in the Plumbing forum, Southern Canuck mentions a connection to someone with Down Syndrome. I think that's probably what Toni meant by Southern Canuck being touched by the Down Syndrome equation.

    Bookmark   May 4, 2013 at 9:25PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
pekemom

My grandson is autistic. Words like that are never used around here.

    Bookmark   May 5, 2013 at 1:01AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
amyfiddler

Retarded means slowed. There was a time when that word described accurately without degredation.

there will come a time when today's term "challenged" or ID (intellectually delayed) or just "delayed" will be as offensive. People adjust to words and use them to describe things that are not up to average expectation, and eventually they get the same connotation - suggesting an insensitivity to someone born with a brain or body disorder that makes life more difficult.

It's offensive to many here. I am only bothered when a person is called a "retard" or "retarded." A situation being "retarded" doesn't bother me at all.

    Bookmark   May 5, 2013 at 2:02AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
sjerin

Cynic, I think you misunderstand. Using this word may not be offensive to you, but it is highly offensive to those who suffer mental disabilities and their friends and relatives. Why ever would anyone use this term, knowing what sadness it can bring??

    Bookmark   May 5, 2013 at 10:43AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
rosemaryt

I agree 100% with Amy Fiddler! In auto tech, we talk about "retarding the timing" and it just means SLOWING it down.

Personally, I find the term "Basket Case" distasteful.

No kidding.

By "The Great War" (WW1), we (the human race, that is) had figured out how to make munitions adequately powerful so that we could blow the arms and legs off of soldiers.

When a young man lost his limbs (legs and arms) from such bombs, he was literally carried off the battlefield in a wicker basket, and his mental state was a mess, hence the term, "Basket Case."

Today, when I hear that word, it makes me cringe inside.

But I keep it to myself.

    Bookmark   May 5, 2013 at 8:49PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
amyfiddler

WOW I'd never heard that before about basket case - that's a term always used by family as long as I can remember. I'm quite sure no harm was meant to it, but maybe a guy with no arms or legs who knew the history would get upset.

The word "rit" in a music piece stands for "ritard" which means SLOW DOWN. I can't see music eliminating that word for PC - the intention is obviously not to harm children with downs syndrome.

    Bookmark   May 5, 2013 at 10:13PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
kudzu9

Since rit is short for ritard which is short for ritardando -- which is an italian word -- and since it is a verb, not a noun, and since it is not spelled "retard," I don't think it is an issue.

    Bookmark   May 6, 2013 at 3:44AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
cheri2008

I find it VERY offensive.... when ever I hear some one using this term, believe me I let them know how I feel...
I was in a nail salon and a mother called her sweet little girl (about 6) a retard... simply because she did not hear her mother say it was time to go....unexcusable!!!

    Bookmark   May 8, 2013 at 7:25PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
Cynic

People even take offense to the word "handicapped" now. Again, those letters are far from offensive by themselves... and I've never seen "handicapable parking at the local Malwart but I imagine it'll come soon enough. Curious though, how contradictory it is for those people to then use a handicapped parking spot if they're so "capable"! The term "wheelchair" "offends" people too. I suppose someone will sue for using a wheelchair, er, "walkingly challenged transportation device" as the "handicapped" logo. Maybe we should have them crossing a finish line and getting a trophy for the logo.

Seems to me too many people are more concerned about being offended on someone else's behalf they lose sight of reality. Person "A" is psychologically at the point they don't know what's going on, so person "B" takes it upon themself to be "offended" on their behalf. Or better yet and more appropriate, Person "A" doesn't take offense to something so Person "B" steps forward. If it doesn't bother the purported "victim" seems strange that someone else has to manufacture offense to a few innocuous words. Guess if the fat person isn't going to be offended, then someone else has to stand up and be offended for them. Everyone needs a hobby I guess.

It's really getting past the point of silly.

    Bookmark   May 8, 2013 at 10:53PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
AnnaKay

Whew... Deep breath... Okay, I've just retired a couple of months ago after working for years with people with disabilities, so maybe I'm overly sensitive here...

For anybody who wants the latest pc term, it would be "cognitively impaired." That's just FYI (unless they've got a new term already) and has nothing to do with the OP's post.

Yes, calling the neighbor a "retard" is crude, inappropriate, and beyond offensive. I'm sure they would've pronounced it with the accent on the first syllable. If that person were annoyed with the neighbor or the neighbor aggravated them in some way, there are all sorts of colorful epithets to use without denigrating a whole population of people who have enough to cope with already.

True, there is nothing wrong with the verb retard meaning to slow or delay. Accent is on the second syllable.

But in the context presented the usage is not acceptable.

    Bookmark   May 9, 2013 at 12:44AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
sjerin

Cynic, so you see nothing wrong with using the word "retarded" as an epithet?

    Bookmark   May 9, 2013 at 12:41PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
cookie8

I think if it is brought to your attention that is offensive to some, you should be able to reflect and decide if you use this term. I don't the word but it happened to me with other words. When I was an older teen, I referred to something as being "gay" and someone told me it was offensive, I took it in and stopped using it in the manner that I was. It also happened as an adult. My young son was walking and zipping and unzipping his jacket - over and over and over so I just started calling him "zipperhead". My BIL told me it was derogatory towards Asians. This, I had no idea of, I thought I made it up so that nickname was gone. I guess if one wants to use the word, whether or not it is offensive to others is a choice. I would think most would stop if they realized how it may affect/offend others.

    Bookmark   May 9, 2013 at 1:40PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
amyfiddler

Interesting, about the syllable emphasis. I can't imagine myself ever saying REtard, that would be totally unacceptable. But I have many times said a situation was riTARDed.
I think I will eliminate both as an option, it wouldn't cost me much and it looks like I might have more people show up to my birthday party lol.

I remember calling someone a DORK once and my mom freaked out. Evidently in her youth, that was a term for vibrator. Well, I ignored her panic attack.

Sometimes, you just have to be sensible.

    Bookmark   May 9, 2013 at 2:49PM
Sign Up to comment
More Discussions
Fascinating macro images of coral
from The Guardian (UK)
Alisande
Tuesday's Trivia Quiz
ATOMICJAY was the first to get the right answer. GEORGYSMOM...
Jasdip
Amazing Aunt Audrey
Amazing Aunt Audrey
Utah
Moving to Ogden, Utah. Not Mormon. What can I expect...
Deeby
Sponsored Products
Small 4 ft. Premier Micro Suede Fuf Foam Bean Bag Sofa - 0010078L
$175.00 | Hayneedle
Tesla Linear 2 Light Non-IC AirTight Housing
Lightology
Stormy Sky Rug 9' x 12'
$2,199.00 | Horchow
Floral Silhouette Giclee Set of Four Shades 3x6x5 (Clip-On)
$49.99 | Lamps Plus
Off-White Holiday Pillar Candle
$16.50 | FRONTGATE
Toto | Kiwami Renesse Vessel Sink
$1,017.45 | YBath
John Louis 12-inch Pull-out Valet
Overstock.com
Tiffany Style Bronze Table Lamp
Overstock.com
People viewed this after searching for:
© 2015 Houzz Inc. Houzz® The new way to design your home™