“Oh my God it was soooooo retarded!”

“I was like… ‘Are you seriously retarded?'”
“My car is so retarded.”
“He acts like such a retard.”

Really, people?

I am completely fed up with people using the word “retarded” to describe others’ idiocy or the fact that a system or process doesn’t function properly. I will openly admit that I am VERY guilty of using the word “gay” to make fun of or insult. However, over the past month or so I have been trying to censor myself and realize that the word should not be used in that manner.

But “retarded”…

How absolutely shallow can you be? How can you use such a discriminatory word and still feel okay about it?Ā  First and foremost, you sound like a complete moron. I find that people sound stuck-up, snooty, ditzy, and vapid when using the word “retarded” as a way to mock someone or something. Honestly. You make yourself sound like an idiot.

Second, and most importantly, you are using a derogatory word that classifies a serious, untreatable medical problem to insult someone or something. Mental illnesses and handicaps have specific names (i.e. Down Syndrome), and classifying them all under one category, “retarded”, as a wonderfully witty way to make fun of someone can hardly be considered a moral thing to do.


This word has become so prevalent in our society, especially in my age group. However, I’ve noticed it quickly spreading to younger generations as well, and that greatly disturbs me.

Funny (yet disturbing) story: While visiting a really close friend of mine in Wisconsin, we decided to spend an afternoon at the beach. While laying in the sand, a family made camp about 10-15 yards from us. The family consisted of a mother in her mid 30’s, two girls, probably about 5 and 7, and a man that the girls referred to as “John”. While the seven year old ran around causing quite a ruckus, her mother shrilly yelled, “JILL, STOP ACTING LIKE A RETARD!” To which, the little girl responded, “Mommy, what’s a retard?”

I wanted to vomit.

I am not judging the character or quality of people who choose to use the word “retard” in such a manner, but I think it is something to be questioned. So please, next time you find yourself ready to use this elegant and classy insult, think about what you’re really saying, who you’re really insulting: A group of people with mental disabilities. Innocent people who have done nothing wrong and cannot control the complications with which they were born.

When you use the word “retarded” to make fun of someone or something, you diminish the dignity of the people who truly have those handicaps. It’s not fair to rob these people of any human value just because they are not as able-bodied or able-minded as you and me.

Just… show some respect.


19 Responses to ““Oh my God it was soooooo retarded!””

  1. Ryan Says:

    Technically people with handicaps and mental illnesses are not called retarded because that word was deemed offensive. Individuals with such conditions are now referred to as people with special needs or exceptional individuals. Nevertheless I see your point that people use words that may offend certain groups of people without realizing it. After all most of our friends in Berwyn and Westchester use a certain racial slur way too much and in a joking manner.

  2. 06jk Says:

    I think I mentioned that it’s a derogatory word, but I know exactly what you mean.

    And the racial slur used by our buds does get me aggravated as well. Ha.

    “Oh boy!”

  3. Trent A. Says:

    This is one of a few times I agree with the political correctness branch of society. I only use the word in it’s accurate sense. Just like I only use “gay” in the strictest sense.

  4. 06jk Says:

    I don’t even know if I would qualify this as being politically correct, you know? I see it as so much farther-reaching (is that the right phrasing? “farther reaching”?) than politics. It’s more about dignity and respect.

    But I’m still glad that you agree šŸ™‚

  5. anon y mouse Says:

    The words “moron” and “idiot” – both of which you use in this post – also refer to degrees of mental capacity. In fact, people with Downs (mentioned in your post) were originally called idiots (word used in your post). Why single out the word retard if you are going to use other synonyms?

    Don’t be a retard about political correctness if you aren’t going to be politically correct.

  6. 06jk Says:

    Language does change, however. The word “fag” used to mean a bundle of sticks that were used to light a torch. Is that what you first think of when hearing the word today?

    From The Merriam Webster Dictionary:
    Function: noun
    Etymology: Middle English, from Anglo-French ydiote, from Latin idiota ignorant person, from Greek idiOtEs one in a private station, layman, ignorant person, from idios one’s own, private; akin to Latin suus one’s own
    1 usually offensive : a person affected with idiocy
    2 : a foolish or stupid person
    – idiot adjective

    Finally, I find it very offensive and hurtful that you chose to call me a “retard” on my own blog. I really do not understand why you did that.

  7. Shucks Says:

    Yep, definitely agree with you. It’s kind of funny, anytime my good friends say it around me, they automatically look at me and comment on it because they know I don’t really like using the word. Grew up with an Early Childhood/Special Education teacher as a mom, I’m pretty used to it now.

  8. 06jk Says:

    Thanks for the insight, Shucks. Having a mom in the field would definitely be an eye-opener.

  9. Trent A. Says:

    “Language does change.” True statement. The word “Polack” used to just describe people from Poland, but now it is offensive to them. And look at “conservative” and “liberal”. Lincoln would definitely not be described as a conservative (by most standards, until, at least, Bush 41 and especially Bush 43), but he was a conservative back in the day.

  10. throughpaulseyes Says:

    Anon y mouse, stop being such a big meanie

  11. throughpaulseyes Says:

    I know of an Indian man who was referred to by a certain racial slur which can often be an insult. I say often because for a reason that is beyond me, members of this group can use said word as much as the word ‘and’. I’m referring if some still don’t understand to the ‘N-word’. I hope by now it’s understood. This Indian man was called the ‘N-word’ but at the time did not understand what it meant. He went to the home where he was staying, and when he learned what the word meant, his entire life changed. He used to be a very outgoing, well mannered man, and now he doesn’t say a word. He’s a Master Gunnery Sergeant (E-9 for you Army, Navy, Air Force pukes) with the US Marine Corps. This word has a lot of power behind it, and yet music artists throw it around with absolutely no regard for what’s behind it. That word drastically changed an honorable man who serves his country. I’m not sure what should be done. Banning a word is almost impossible, and may even increase the power it has. At the same time, the word will always have an evil meaning. What can be done?

  12. 06jk Says:

    Eh, I guess nothing can be “done” per say. This isn’t an area of life in which government can or should step. I guess it’s a matter of asking people to be more thoughtful and considerate. Kind of an independent thing, you know?

  13. betsoff Says:

    06jk is right I think. If those expressions are being used in more ways now, and by more people, it’s because the sum total of degrading experiences in the world…has increased. And it shows up in our language. The world has become a much more inhumane place and that shows up in our language. In this kind of world, it is a very very hard thing to be a degraded person, (so to speak)…. you know, a certain negative stereotype for someone who is not competing well in life for the conventional goodies, who wouldn’t serve as a role model for most of us….and whatever terms come to be associated with those types… get used to derogatorily label people we’re uncomfortable around or feel contemptuous towards, for whatever… or no reason. It makes me wonder, “Why can’t we just all get along and be more thoughtful and considerate?” And the answer is that maybe because we just feel “stuck” in THIS world. There might be a remedy, but in this world I too feel it is quite the “independent” and private thing….but a very necessary one.

  14. lol retards sound funny, me make laugh Says:

    wow, you’re a retard šŸ˜‰

  15. 06jk Says:

    Did I mention that using the word as an insult also portrays a last resort for someone with nothing more intelligent to say?

  16. KL Says:

    2 of my direct family members have mental disabilities
    and I honestly don’t care about whether that word is right or wrong.
    In my opinion, it’s seriously not a big deal to obsess about.

    I also get annoyed when people talk about ‘retarded’ people as pure and innocent beings that you cannot make fun of. Sure, it’s mean (wtv, i guess) but isn’t making fun of ANYTHING mean?

  17. 06jk Says:

    Hey KL. Thanks a ton for the response. I don’t necessarily “obsess” about the use of the word, but I just don’t think it’s right to take dignity from people by connecting a negative word to their being. For example, I don’t like calling girls “bitches”, and as this post says, I’ve completely rid the word “gay” from my negative vocabulary.

    You made a great point though… making fun of anything is mean, and we can’t assume that the mentally challenged people are solely innocent and pure beings. However, don’t all people deserve some level of human dignity that we shouldn’t strip away? I just feel like using the word “retard” in that negative manner does dehumanize and desensitize.

    Again, thanks a bunch for the response. Visit again sometime!

  18. amberfireinus Says:

    Sorry.. Im going to tease you here…. Moron is a term that is also meaning retardation. So uh…. best not to use that one either.

    I agree with your points. I think that people get labled in our society. I was horrified to hear a morning radio show in Los Angeles talking about people who came off the “short bus”. I was so upset by this. How could they say such a thing on the radio. What, did they want to give ammunition to kids in schools to tease other kids? My God, as adults you would think (or at least hope) that we would be beyond that nonsense. But of course we are not. They think it is funny.

    Calling someone names is never acceptible in any situation. It is always hurtful. Didnt your mother teach you better than that? Wow. I thought that was so basic. Maybe we should go back to basics?

  19. Greg Says:

    Your blog is retarded.

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