For Those Slow on the Uptake

Call me crazy, but nobody likes being called crazy.

I was watching a video online recently. A group of men were debating movies in spectacular fashion. One of the men emphasized his disapproval of another person’s opinion by saying he must be retarded for thinking so. The other men didn’t know how to respond for a second. I sensed they knew the inappropriateness of the comment, but they said nothing and changed the subject.

I was brought up in a time where the term retarded was commonly in use. The word was a replacement for saying bad. School children would occasionally say something stinks or make accusations of being lame and stupid. If they wanted to make something sound really bad they would say it was retarded. Many of my peers still use that word in their speech. Never used with kindness.

You could say I am retarded. My development is slow and it affected how I functioned in school. I don’t remember being called retarded directly back then, but plenty of people around me were insulted with that word. Why should the name of what I struggle with be used as an insult?

Some groups are easy targets for those intending to wound. I’ve been given grief over my personal beliefs and religion. I’ve been looked down upon because of my race and my nationality. I’ve suffered ridicule because of my status and income. All this suffering because people think they can get away with it. Who will defend the weak?

Correct those who mistakenly use the word retarded in a negative way. Shame those who refuse to admit their actions have caused injury. People will say they weren’t being serious. That what they said was a joke. I am no joke. I am being serious. Your actions have consequences that injure others. Your words spoken with carelessness can impact people in a negative way.

Reflect with your actions the support that comes from a caring heart. I’m not asking you to donate money to charity. And I’m not asking you to research every bit of data on behavioral disorders. All I’m saying is that you need to find a better way to express your dissatisfaction. Try to do it without tearing down a group of people who have done you no hurt.

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