I can’t really write the word in the title itself. Can’t even say it aloud. It would be too offensive to myself and many other people out there. I hate it when ignorant people use it so nonchalantly to describe a slow, mentally challenged person or even to describe a thing, idea, situation, or place that is stupid. In fact, I was called this word once and it was really hurtful, cut deep. No one understood that I had difficulty initiating conversation and preferred to keep to myself, couldn’t express ideas verbally.
Having that offensive word come up in some comments on my past YouTube videos also was harsh. I had one video where I was trying to sing a song and screwed up badly, sounding really pathetic and looking real bad in the dark as well. I took the video down immediately after seeing the comment “Are you retarded?”. Yeah, the video was bad and asking for such reaction, but being called that word for the first time on the internet was shocking. It happened a few other times. I learned to deal with it, knew I was better that, was a perfectly normal person inside.
Words are worse than physical violence. You can heal from a bruise or wound but the things people say or write stay with you for a long time, rolling over and over in your mind.
Saying a mentally handicapped person is “just a retard” is like saying they are just some insignificant schmutz that should be scraped up and thrown in the garbage. But these people have feelings and human rights and should be called the more politically correct term “special”.
I knew a few mentally handicapped people in school. They were laughed at and called names and basically outcasted from groups, sitting at the “special” table at lunch. Some kids were afraid to even be near them. Tried to act nice but on the inside thought of them as a person who could easily be manipulated and used. I preferred not to join in the laughter and pleasure at ridiculing the shortcomings of these unfortunate people because I could feel their humility and pain in myself. I was in their situation once. It would seem hypocritical of myself to laugh at someone with autism, since that is exactly what I’ve got, in a mild way.
Already, schools are banning the use of this word and effectively rendering the old-school bullying tactics obsolete. Medical professionals now prefer the term “intellectually disabled” when ironically “mental retardation” was previously used to replace more derogatory terms such as “idiot” and “imbecile”. It’s just that over the years this word has gone from a sterile and clinical term meaning “delayed, underdeveloped” to a cutting insult because of it being used so many times in a bad way.
In my world, this word would be permanently banned. The consequence for using it? At least ten years in prison. Maybe more. Seems too harsh? No, because there is no excuse to use this word, to throw it around like it’s just okay, like the N-word situation. Everyone would have some sort of detection device that picks up the word being used. It goes off, they are immediately escorted to the authorities. That’s my dystopian future way of doing things.
My mom even uses the word like it is nothing, even over the phone or when someone fitting that word’s description walks by. I feel sorry for her thinking like that. That black and white, no middle ground to anything thinking. I dislike it. It sounds so bad. No one should make jokes about intellectually disabled people. It’s not their fault they were born that way, not their fault their family history is probably ripe with inbreeding and other poor decisions. I always wonder what the ignorant people would think if they were in that disabled person’s position and being made fun of. For one day at least. Then what?
In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “No, Thank You.”