Monday, February 8, 2010

Retarded - Aren't We All A Little Bit?

This world is getting a little too politically correct and sensitive. This thing with the word retarded is getting a little out of hand. Now it is the "R-word" (to be made in comparison with the use of the "N-word".)

I will admit growing up that when you saw a person with Down's Syndrome or some other sort of developmental problem, you would refer to them as retarded. As a kid, there was nothing hurtful meaning behind the use of the word. I guess you can say it was the "way I was raised" (the same excuse that some individuals use who call black people nigger). [Just in case you missed it, that was a joke]. Don't want someone to write something on their Facebook page about me like Palin did regardng Rahm.

As a child, I didn't shy away from someone who had mental deficiencies. I think that was truly due my parents having some close friends that had a son who had cerebral palsy and in a wheelchair. So I got to see this first hand - not from a distance. Does that make me some sort of saint? Hell no.

Now Rahm Emanuel, the White House Chief of Staff, uses the term "fucking retard". I will admit that the context, on first look, does not shine a positive light on those with developmental disabilities. Rush Limbaugh, who has no sense of respectability in my book, is droning on and on and on and on and on (get the picture) about this. Yeah, it might have been inappropriate for Emanuel to say but it was in a "closed" strategy meeting and not a public forum. How many people have said things about other people behind closed doors and kept it to themselves in public? Not trying to excuse Rahm's tirade, just making a point. And if I am hearing right, this happened in August of 2009. Damn Rush, let it go like you did your prescription drug habit.

The rash of apologies have started. Rush wants to bash Rahm for using the word and now he is using it to describe Rahm's attempts to make it right with mental disability advocates by calling it a "retard summit at the White House". The fact that I am not mentally handicap (99% of the time) makes it hard for me to understand any kind of derogatory effect that the use of the term evokes so I can only speak for myself.

But since the apologies are making the circuit, I guess we are going to have to demand an apology from KJ and Da' Fellas (if they are still around). According to the Urban Dictionary, to get retarded is "to consume intoxicating alcohol or drugs to the point where you are incapable of verbally communicating past incoherent mumbles. Motor skills are also severely hampered thereby giving the overall impression of severe retardation."

According to the Webster's Dictionary, retarded (as an adjective) means "slow or limited in intellectual or emotional development or academic progress." Come on! Haven't we all been there? Retard as a verb is "to slow up especially by preventing or hindering advance or accomplishment [impede]" or "to delay academic progress by failure to promote".

Perhaps the idea Rahm was trying to get across regarding the strategy of liberal activists regarding the passage of a health care bill was "lost" in our overly sensitive being to make sure we don't hurt a class or section of people. But just think about the definition of the words, apply them to yourself or someone you know fairly well and ask yourself "aren't we all just a little retarded sometimes?"

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