Has a friend or family member ever offended you by the language they use? Sometimes, people, we are close to may offend us with the language they use without even realizing how wrong it is. Calling someone retarded is very offensive to the developmentally and intellectually disabled and should not be in your vocabulary. Before you call someone retarded here are a few things to think about.
Think about it- When you call someone a retard or say “you’re so retarded” you are implying that people with developmental or intellectual disabilities are stupid. People with developmental and intellectual disabilities may struggle with things that you may not struggle with, but that does not mean they are stupid! There are a lot of people with developmental and intellectual disabilities that are very intelligent and it’s hurtful and unfair of you to assume they are stupid just because they have a disability.
Calling people you don’t like retarded- It just isn’t fair to insult the intellectually and developmentally disabled because you got into a disagreement with somebody. There are plenty of other ways to express your anger without insulting anyone.
Stop thinking you are superior to the disabled- Sometimes an abled person will view a disabled person as a lesser human being. Saying things like “you’re retarded” doesn’t even seem wrong to them because it doesn’t affect them personally. An abled person is not better than a person with a disability they are just different!
Never refer to a disabled person as retarded- Sometimes an abled person will judge someone with a physical, intellectual, or developmental disability and think that their intelligence is affected by their disability. Assuming someone’s intelligence is affected by their disability is wrong! Sometimes a person’s intelligence level may be affected by their disability but asking them is rude. If they want to tell you, they will but if not it’s none of your business!
Encourage others to take it out of their vocabulary- Some people have used that word for as long as they can remember so they may not see a problem with it. Encouraging and educating others may help with getting people to realize why they should consider a different word choice.
What terminology does the individual prefer- Every person with a disability prefers certain words. If you know someone with a disability get to know them so you can learn what words they prefer and what words they can’t stand. Out of respect for the person with a disability actually, listen to them when they tell you their preferences. If you are abled, you may struggle with finding a substitute for certain words and may be tempted to go back to your old habits. Always ask the person with a disability for suggestions if you are struggling going back to your old habits is not the answer!
There are so many other words that you can use other than calling someone retarded. If you wouldn’t say it in front of a person with a disability this word should not be in your vocabulary! If you have any questions about things you should think about before you call someone retarded please leave them in the comments below.
Life with Spina Bifida is a personal blog that is all about my life with a disability, chronic pain as well as encouraging hope and positivity for those who are suffering. You are not alone!