While some people wax poetic about life before “The Politically Correct Police” showed up, I can honestly say I don’t. I do believe, at times, people are little TOO politically correct — finding slights where none were intended. However, most of the time they’re calling out the all-to-intended insults that people make. I find the phrase “Can’t you take a joke?” to be my key barometer. If you’re blaming me for being uncomfortable with something you said, you are in the wrong. Trust me, I’m not the sensitive type. This is just a bullying behavior.
So the phrase retard has shown up lately because it’s being used by a lot of comedians and commentators (the bad tator tots). Some claim they are using it satirically, others for a laugh. Depending on which side you’re on makes it right, wrong, indifferent, or just plain retarded. I personally don’t care because I know that these people are doing their jobs. I don’t have to watch or listen (and trust me, I don’t).
Which brings me to my lesson this year on the word. One of my students used it to describe an idea that he/she considered ignorant. I pointed out that the use of the word was akin to using the “N” word for African-Americans. While it ONCE was OK (in the dark ages when dinosaurs ruled the earth), now it really wasn’t because everyone knows it’s not a simple “description” but rather a severe insult. As in, you don’t harm other people on purpose. OY!
I pointed out that, in French, it actually means “late or delayed.” Wherein one of my little bunnies (who is constantly tardy) pipes up and says, “Hey the next time I’m late, you can just say, ‘You’re Retarded!” I stressed that this would only happen when I was completely done with my job because I’m pretty sure that would be taped for You Tube, AND it would involve the collection of my credential. He laughed. To him, it’s funny. And it is… However, can you imagine a teacher saying, “You’re retarded” and still working the next day? I think not.
It’s time to place a moratorium on the word before someone uses it for his/her amusement.