Posts Tagged ‘Retard’

Some Day…

One of the rituals I have acquired over the course of #AutismStreaks is to post a post-run picture on social media, usually stating the distance, time, average heart rate and pace, along with an occasional random thought or event that happened during the run.  It’s been my way of “proving” to the world that I am in fact running these runs.  One of the places I have been posting these pictures is on Instagram, where I have a small but supportive and friendly following.  On Instagram I will mostly post running related pictures, but I will occasionally throw in a picture of the latest kitchen creation, something the kids did that I thought was cute or, one of my favorites, a #throwbackthursday pic.

After my run this morning, I posted my usual self-portrait and while refueling on some brunch browsed through what others had put up.  It’s always a wide variety, ranging from the hysterical to the sad, from the serious to the ridiculous, but then I came across this photo:


I stopped chewing my food, put my fork down, pulled out my soapbox.  There were already several dozen “likes” on the photo and the typical string of “LOL”‘s.  I understood the sentiment, I could not abide by the use of the word.  I left a comment:

Dislike! Not a fan of using that word – further marginalizes those that are genuinely mentally challenged.

I then added a link to my post when Ann Coulter thought it would be funny to use the R-word in her tweets.  I then followed that up with Getting off my soapbox now…sorry about that.

A few minutes later somebody responded: Not sure why everyone needs to tell others what they dislike.

I took a deep breath.

I reached back down to get my soapbox.

And I wrote this:

I hear ya….and honestly, the PC Police go way overboard almost all the time.  I am a proponent of teasing.  I think it builds character and teaches kids to stick up for themselves, but when people use the word “retard” to put something or someone down and label that thing or person as stupid (which I assume is the implication), it also says that those who are mentally retarded, like my daughter who is on the Autism Spectrum, are less than their neurotypical peers.  The problem for me lies in the fact that these kids, very often, cannot defend themselves because they are non-verbal and cannot speak…that doesn’t mean they are necessarily less intelligent.  In fact, if given a means of communicating (a tap board, an iPad, etc), these kids often prove to be of above average intelligence…but constantly using their label to put down others has an effect when they can’t defend themselves.  Now, if you truly believe that…my daughter is less of a human because of her disability, well, go ahead and use the word and we can part ways knowing we fully disagree on the subject; but if you DO think my daughter should be afforded the same dignity as anyone else, I will only ask you to reconsider the use of the word.  At this point in her life, my girl still can’t defend herself…that is why I feel the need to tell others that I dislike the word.  Regardless, if you’ve gotten this far in my comment, I appreciate the time you took to read this.

I know I could have worded it better.  I know I could have done a much better job explaining why calling someone “retarded” to make them feel bad or laugh at others is offensive (Jess is the wordsmith in the family, not me).

But I also know the poster of the pic did not have any ill intentions.  In fact, she apologized and said she would take it down.  I’m not sure if that would be the right decision.  Were she to keep it up, then other might see my comment, my argument against using the word “retarded” in such an offensive way.

To me, there is nothing wrong with the word itself – it is the way people use it.

My hope is that some day, in the not so distant future, that people, ALL people, will understand that.


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I love my country. This nation of our, despite our issues, is still the greatest in the world; a beacon of hope; a land of opportunity.  Politics have become more partisan in this country, but we still believe in democracy.  We disagree, we debate, we sometimes even raise our voices, but in the end, we go to the voting booths to decide our future instead of picking up pistols and rifles.

It’s okay that we disagree with each other when it comes to national security, women’s health issues, economic responsibility, gay and minority rights, defense spending and so on.  We are a nation of over 300 million people – we are bound to disagree on a lot of things.

Obviously Ann Coulter and I are on different sides of the aisle.  Honestly, I don’t think there is a single thing that I agree with her on and you know what?  That’s okay.  Wherever one is on the political spectrum, that’s okay because we all have the right to have our voice heard, even someone as extreme as Ann.


But my daughter Brooke is not on the Political Spectrum…she’s on the Autism Spectrum.  I remember struggling when Jess and I had to fill out forms for the Department of Developmental Services, which at the time was called the Department of Mental Retardation.  From the perspective of the State, she falls into that category.

Last night, after the third debate, Ann Coulter tweeted this:

I know that people still use the term “retard” as a slur.  I know that there will always be people who don’t see anything wrong with using the word, and honestly, if you are in the privacy of your own home, I refuse to tell you what you can or cannot say…

…but if you are a high profile pundit; someone who somehow still seems to have sway over those in her party, maybe, just maybe it’s time to stop using playground terms from the 1950’s.

Ann,  I know that there is a whole segment of the population that you don’t care about and that you think are completely wrong.  I get that.  I don’t agree with you, but I get that.  But when you use words like “retard” you are marginalizing and minimizing a whole segment of the population – a population that includes my little girl.


Jess is always saying that we need to just ignore Ann Coulter when she makes these kinds of statements – that this is what she feeds off of; the negative response – almost like some weird demon creature that feeds off of negative human energy.  For a very long time I have disagreed with her (Jess) because I feel it’s important to engage those that disagree with your world view.  But this is not the first time Ann has used the word “retard” and based on her past behavior I can’t imagine that it will be her last.  Maybe, just maybe it’s time to completely ignore her.  There was a flood of negative response the last time she tweeted “retard” and it didn’t seem to have any effect on her.  I was one of the thousands that tweeted back at her condemning the tweet.  Here I am writing a post (believe me, I see the irony), but after this I am done, and I hope you are too.

What’s the most powerful thing you can do to stop someone who obviously craves the spotlight and will do anything to get in it?

Ignore her.

If we don’t respond, then she has nothing to feed on.  If we don’t respond, she doesn’t get the satisfaction.  No doubt, she will crank it up several notches to get our attention (extinction burst anyone?), but we must hold firm and simply ignore Ann’s desperate cries for attention, because in the end, that will be the only thing she understands.

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