Pet Peeve Time

*climbs onto soapbox*

Pet Peeve time.

Maybe it’s just me, but...

I get really irritated with the increasingly common deployment of terms traditionally used (offensive as they are) to describe people with developmental disabilities as insults or put downs.

Retarded. ‘Tard. Short bus.

Pisses. Me. Off.

I know I’m hyper-sensitive because of Will’s situation and the worlds in which we predominantly travel -- the community of kids with special needs. My little guy is developmentally delayed. He’s bright (sometimes too much for his own good...) but has problems with communications. And is behind, age-wise, with his skill sets. We have no idea what his prognosis will be -- he’s made such fantastic progress and I continue to fervently believe his possibilities are endless. Regardless... these slams, such as they are, hit a little too close to home for me.


I prefer to think that people use these terms as put-downs more out of ignorance than anything. They’re really not processing the full impact of what they’re saying. And again, keep in mind that my intolerance for such things is heightened because of the way my life works.

But the cavalier way in which these things are said bothers me. Really bothers me. I feel like it’s my responsibility to stand up for those in whose name the insults are being tossed and say please stop. Now. I’ve even corrected friends of mine who said something -- without thinking -- in this vein in front of me. Can you say awkward? But I made my point.

Guess what. That kind of talk = not funny. In the slightest.

And it’s egregiously detrimental to the image, both externally and within individuals, of a segment of society that has a hard enough time just being accepted for who they are.

So -- please think before you speak. There are plenty of other words one can hurl in insult or teasing... just consult your local thesaurus. Or ask me.

Thank you.

*jumps off soapbox*


Sprezzatura said...

As always, I was moved by your thoughtful post. We can all use a friendly reminder now and again to THINK before we speak/type.


citizen jane said...

Thanks, my friend. I think I had just had my fill of the cavalier usage of those terms last night and let it all hang out. Whew.

Anonymous said...

Felt like I was reading something I've often found myself saying. I would describe my daughter exactly the way you describe your son. And I would describe my feeling about that kind of language exactly the same way. Thanks for sharing. (Only signed this Anonymous because I don't have a Blogger account)