I stayed away from taking a stand on the r-word for many years on purpose, basically because I don’t feel like “the r-word” applies to me and I don’t have a strong opinion on it (at least not in comparison to others). I’m also not a big fan of banning words. There are words in the English language that I won’t ever say out loud under most circumstances but I don’t think banning a word and pretending it never existed is a great idea. (But if someone ever wanted to get the ball rolling on banning the word “panties” from existence I’d be game)
I know there are people out there who think my thinking that the r-word doesn’t apply to me as some kind of defense and I’m sure on some level it is.
For the record I have had the r-word pointed in my direction. There have been times I’ve told people that I have CP and their next question is, “So are you retarded?”
Let me just say, no I’m not, for the record.
One of the biggest misconceptions of CP is that everyone with CP, which is a physical disability, also had a mental disability. This is not the case for everyone. I, myself have LD & ADD, but both are relatively mild and neither make me retarded.
I realized that I was saying something by not saying anything directly. I’ve been implying that the r-word is OK with me, and truth be told, it’s really not.
I can sum up my thoughts on the r-word in one sentence.
Keep in mind that these are my personal feelings, and my personal feelings only.
Pick another word already.
If you’re going to try and insult me, please be a little more creative. I’ve been on the receiving end of insults for the better part of three decades and they’ve varied only slightly. I don’t even consider them to be actual insults just hollow sounds, think the teacher in Charlie Brown cartoons.
If you want to hurt my feelings evolve with the rest of the world and leave the r-word behind. Finding some other way to insult me will get your mission accomplished. Calling me the r-word will only make you like a fool, at least to me.
In “The Last Lecture” Randy Pausch suggests going for a cliché because they’re clichés for a reason, most people have never heard of them.
As much as I liked listening to “The Last Lecture” and find it valuable I have to disagree on this one point. If you want to get under someone’s skin there’s a 99.99% chance that they’ve heard every cliché, and then some. Stay away from being average if you really want to get someone’s attention.
If you’re still using the r-word to offend someone it’s about time you update your vocabulary to something much more cleaver. You aren’t going to get the reaction you’re looking for (at least out of me). I’m more likely to walk past you and call you a dope under my breath.
If you’re using the r-word “because you don’t know any better.” It’s the 21st century, you know better. You choose not to educate yourself. So you also fall into the “still using the r-word” category. That’s your problem not mine; who looks stupid now?
*A similar version of this post first appeared on an old blog on March 5, 2014