Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Retarded: redeux


Apparently the newest target of PC-mania. "developmentally disabled", "developmentally challenged" "otherwise abled" ... ???

How about just "fucked up just like everyone else in the world"?

I am handicapped ... or is it developmentally impaired (maybe that's 'retarded') ... or crippled ... or otherwise-abled ... ?

Hell if I know what you want to call me - I just go with whatever the government form has in its demographics:
Race: Other
Gender: F
Military Status: No
Handicapped: Yes

Now ... don't be pissin' me off about this. I am handicapped (or whatever), therefore I get to pick whatever damn term I want to talk about myself or my fellowly-abled.

This is right up there with being black and calling your friends niggers. They get to because its a self-reference? But I can't, because it's grossly offensive? Is it only offensive because I'm white? Would it be equally offensive if I was Asian & calling someone nigger?

What about calling people Black rather than African-American? Is that okay these days? Or what about Colored? Is that as equally offensive as nigger? At least one person I know, who is African, didn't particularly care for being called "African American" since he was white.

Who thinks they're appointed by Linguistic Gods to tell me what I can or cannot use? I'll use any word I want any time I want. If you don't like it ... oh, well. Mind you, I do have a sense of social propriety. I'm not going to yell, "yo, cunt!" across the table of some executive business meeting.

Most women I know find 'cunt' to be the maximum offensive euphemism for 'woman'. Why? Because it's only used when trying to be offensive? I guess the Vagina Monologues wouldn't have the same advertising draw as the Cunt Monologues, or the Pussy Monologues. (One of the scenes in the play is a list of every single word possible in the English language to use as a euphemism for vagina - wow.)

Know what ...? letting Them get away with this is tantamount to signing away one's power.

By being offended at a given term, you give Them power over you.
Making Them stop using a word is not exercising power over Them; it's giving them the power to offend you.
Sure, being called a nigger by some red-neck home-boy is likely on par with being called cunt by some red-necked home-boy. Know what ... I don't give a damn.

Yup, I've been called a cunt. And ... I didn't give a damn then. Don't care now. If he was so g-damned stupid to think that his pie-hole-noise would somehow hurt me ... he's even stupider than his actions would indicate.

It isn't the word. It's how its used. The [person] who complained on my blog
... what's with using the word retarded? just wrong any way you look at it.
apparently failed to notice the term 'retarded' was applied to the Catholic Church, and not some 'developmentally disabled' person. The term 'retarded' was also immediately followed by "retarded ... as in developmentally retarded' - explicitly stating the application of this word was not about a person.

I'm a scientist; whether or not I have finished my MPH (almost there, almost there, almost there), I was a scientist long before grad school. When I wrote "retarded growth of the microorganisms" ... I was not referring to "developmentally disabled bacteria".

John Stewart Mill, a famous sociologist of the late 19th Century, wrote in his 'Sociology':
"However much their pursuit of these objects may be for the present retarded by want of electoral organization," should this monumental text be re-edited? (maybe to accommodate inadequate 21st Century education to realize that he meant "these people don't have their political shit together"). Are these pursuits are "otherwise abled"? no ... His point is that they hadn't grown and whether or not they would was yet to be determined.

The word retarded has meaning outside of a person's physical or mental development. By demanding Society ignore those other meanings detracts from the rich melange called the English language.

There are so many different physical manifestations that are today considered to be "handicaps". No one would look at me and call me a cripple - during martial arts classes or biking to school or carrying my 3 year old son.

I'm not sure if people would be understanding of assigning me to a category of "handicapped", since it's not obvious. Is it still a "handicap" if it's not obvious?

Am I handicapped? Some times I wonder myself.

Yet, I can't drive without having my neurologist reassure the DMV every 6 months that I'm safe. I can't go anywhere without my medication, on the off chance I get stuck somewhere, e.g. another unplanned 3-day stay Children's Hospital. I really shouldn't do contact sports. A serious amount of pharmacological attention to detail before/during/after pregnancy. This does handicap my life. Yet "crippled" seems more severe. That, to me, is a perception of severity. Even I wouldn't apply that term to myself.

A co-worker's sister is retarded. She doesn't seem to feel comfortable with any particular term for this, seeming equally uncomfortable with retarded (due to PC-ness) or 'developmentally disabled' (because it's long and sounds euphemistic).

Developmentally disabled is a euphemism. So are most words related to bodily functions or parts. We use euphemisms for things that make us feel uncomfortable. We curse what makes us feel uncomfortable, usually using euphemisms to help distance ourselves psychologically.

The problem is not society's use of a word. The problem is society's delusional beliefs about what that rate/level of development means about a person's intrinsic value. Changing the word ain't gonna do squat to change Society.

Therefore, move out of my way; let the handicapped get on with her life and change society, not her language.


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