*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.
Using the Special Olympics as an illustration of something negative or demeaning.
For example, check out this sentence I just read recently on a blog: "Picking a fight on the internet is like running in the Special Olympics, win or lose, you're still retarded."
Pisses. Me. Off.
Seriously. Few things make me more angry than this shit.
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.
(If you're curious about Will or are bored or are looking for a cure for insomina, check out The Will Chronicles, my blog posts about his -- and my -- crazy life journey. Scroll all the way down to the end to catch the wackiness from the beginning...)
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...
"Do you have any idea what you just said? 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.
*jumps off soapbox*