Author Topic: That kinda hurt my feelings...  (Read 10962 times)

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Hmmmmm

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Re: That kinda hurt my feelings...
« Reply #30 on: January 20, 2014, 06:35:08 PM »
I'm so appalled by the OP's friend's rudeness.

My own daughter was severely delayed in her speech development.  I believe pediatric speech therapy has changed her life, allowing her to become normal.  She was completely unintelligible and ranked in the 2nd percentile for children her age for verbal ability, poor thing.  A few years later, she tested at COLLEGE LEVEL for reading ability.  Yes, in the first grade, she had the same reading ability as a person with 2 years of college education. 

So much for speech development being a marker of intellect.  It can be a marker for autism, but again, that does not speak for intelligence.  Autism is associated with brilliance often. 

I think that the OP's friend needs to be politely educated that her information is wrong. 

And to move in a different direction:  even if the OP's grandchild were to have other cognitive problems, that does not mean that he would not be a joy in the OP's life and could not go on to lead a worthwhile and happy life.  Using the word "retarded" is cruel, and in 2014 people should know better. 

OP, send me a message if you'd like to talk about pediatric speech therapy.  It really saved my daughter's life.   

ED TO ADD:  I think I was so taken aback by the OP that I am being too harsh on the friend, who was probably trying to be supportive.  Clearly I have strong feelings about this, because my own daughter's speech was so severely delayed and impacted.

I think you misread the OP. The OP's daughter is the one who said she was afraid her child was retarded. 
When I mentioned it to my best friend and said DD is afraid he is retarded

sammycat

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Re: That kinda hurt my feelings...
« Reply #31 on: January 20, 2014, 07:33:11 PM »
I took the comment as meaning - the child is what she is, that's out of your hands, and you'll have to accept it and love her/take care of her regardless.  Not really in a bad way, but in a "there's nothing you can change here, so adjust to the reality and then keep going."

As for the use of the word, the word on its own and in the proper context is not an insult.  It turned into an insult over time when people started using it to denote something negative.  If someone said "the patient suffers from severe mental retardation" I wouldn't think they were insulting that person, but if someone said, "You are such a *******" with a sneer to their friend, I'd find it offensive.  In this case, if OP used it first, I don't think it is fair to hold it against the friend for repeating it - especially since it isn't clear whether she was using it as an insult or referring to a condition.

I agree totally.

If someone said "the patient suffers from severe mental retardation" I wouldn't think they were insulting that person, but if someone said, "You are such a *******" with a sneer to their friend, I'd find it offensive.

Precisely. I have a distant relative who was officially diagnosed as mentally retarded 50ish years ago. It's simply a statement of medical fact and nothing will ever change that. It's not good, bad or in between. It just is. But, as NyaChan pointed out, to call someone that in jest is simply not cool.

Iris

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Re: That kinda hurt my feelings...
« Reply #32 on: January 20, 2014, 07:35:23 PM »
Warning - in typing out my musings on the usage of the language I realise I have typed the 'r word' many times. I have whited it out for the benefit of people who find the word itself horrible.

See, this is interesting because I was discussing this (the language usage) with DH yesterday. I didn't realise that the word 'retarded' is totally off limits. I thought referring to something/a situation as 'retarded' was offensive, and certainly I would never consider calling someone 'a *******' (gag) but if the someone had said to me 'DD is afraid his speech is retarded' or 'his growth is retarded' or 'his fine motor skills development is retarded' I would have interpreted it as meaning 'not developing according to expectations' and thought no more of it. In that context I wouldn't even have thought it meant a disability - for example I could say "DD1's growth was retarded because it took so long to diagnose her celiac's disease". She's still quite tall, just not as tall as one would have expected her to be.


Version without the r-word: I had mentally equated it with 'gay'. It is certainly wrong to describe a thing/situation as 'gay' or to use it as a pejorative, but is still a word with a non-offensive meaning that can be used normally. I didn't realise it was totally off limits even in its original meaning.
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lollylegs

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Re: That kinda hurt my feelings...
« Reply #33 on: January 20, 2014, 07:44:33 PM »
Version without the r-word: I had mentally equated it with 'gay'. It is certainly wrong to describe a thing/situation as 'gay' or to use it as a pejorative, but is still a word with a non-offensive meaning that can be used normally. I didn't realise it was totally off limits even in its original meaning.

Is it completely off limits though? My step brother and step sister have physical and intellectual disabilities, I absolutely hate the word, but I wouldn't bat an eyelid if someone said that someone's growth was retarded/*insert other medical uses of the word here*.

perpetua

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Re: That kinda hurt my feelings...
« Reply #34 on: January 20, 2014, 07:48:23 PM »
Version without the r-word: I had mentally equated it with 'gay'. It is certainly wrong to describe a thing/situation as 'gay' or to use it as a pejorative, but is still a word with a non-offensive meaning that can be used normally. I didn't realise it was totally off limits even in its original meaning.

Is it completely off limits though? My step brother and step sister have physical and intellectual disabilities, I absolutely hate the word, but I wouldn't bat an eyelid if someone said that someone's growth was retarded/*insert other medical uses of the word here*.

I think that's a slightly different language use though, since you're referring to one very specific medical thing. 'His growth is retarded' is simply a statement of medical fact about a specific thing, a descriptor. 'He is retarded', on the other hand, is referring to a whole person as retarded.

It's just such a horrid, horrid word*, and it's been used so much as a pejorative.

ETA: *when used to refer to a person in their entirety.
« Last Edit: January 20, 2014, 07:58:10 PM by perpetua »

daen

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Re: That kinda hurt my feelings...
« Reply #35 on: January 20, 2014, 07:53:43 PM »
Warning - in typing out my musings on the usage of the language I realise I have typed the 'r word' many times. I have whited it out for the benefit of people who find the word itself horrible.

See, this is interesting because I was discussing this (the language usage) with DH yesterday. I didn't realise that the word 'retarded' is totally off limits. I thought referring to something/a situation as 'retarded' was offensive, and certainly I would never consider calling someone 'a *******' (gag) but if the someone had said to me 'DD is afraid his speech is retarded' or 'his growth is retarded' or 'his fine motor skills development is retarded' I would have interpreted it as meaning 'not developing according to expectations' and thought no more of it. In that context I wouldn't even have thought it meant a disability - for example I could say "DD1's growth was retarded because it took so long to diagnose her celiac's disease". She's still quite tall, just not as tall as one would have expected her to be.


Version without the r-word: I had mentally equated it with 'gay'. It is certainly wrong to describe a thing/situation as 'gay' or to use it as a pejorative, but is still a word with a non-offensive meaning that can be used normally. I didn't realise it was totally off limits even in its original meaning.

Whether a word that has become a pejorative can ever be used as a non-offensive is, I think, a matter of experience and context. If you have only heard a specific word as a pejorative, it is a shock to hear it used as a non-offensive word - the first time, for example, that one hears the r-word* as a medical descriptor rather than a slur, it's hard to not be offended by it. Perhaps the same holds true for gay or queer; if it's only been used as a negative in your experience, it's hard to see it as a neutral or positive word.

There are groups of black males who use the n-word to refer to each other, and in that context, its not considered pejorative, but if anyone outside the group uses it, it is automatically considered an insult.

Short version: I don't believe that there is no context where the r-word is acceptable, especially in the way you use it in your example, but the experiences people have had with words will influence whether or not they find them offensive.

*I'm not certain if I'm being over-careful here. My apologies if I'm pussyfooting unneccesarily.

Piratelvr1121

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Re: That kinda hurt my feelings...
« Reply #36 on: January 20, 2014, 08:05:50 PM »
When I went through elementary school in the mid-late 80's and then middle/jr. High in the 90's, the term "retarded" was often an acceptable slur about someone's intelligence.  Or at least it seemed like it must be acceptable cause I was often on the receiving end of that "lovely" slur and all that happened if I told a teacher was "Just ignore them..."  ::)

I hate the word and still cringe when I hear it and am glad that bullying of all sorts is taken more seriously these days, and that the word has fallen out of favor.

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CakeEater

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Re: That kinda hurt my feelings...
« Reply #37 on: January 20, 2014, 08:42:36 PM »
I took comments like, 'No, he's fine, the doctors over-diagnose everything' to be dismissive of my own concerns, which turned out to be very real, in my case.

I agree that, 'You'll just have to accept it' is equally dismissive.

People sometimes have trouble knowing just what to say to specific people that they'll find supportive. I'd give her another chance or two.

eee

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Re: That kinda hurt my feelings...
« Reply #38 on: January 20, 2014, 09:01:23 PM »
If the friend said "if the child turns out to be retarded" i would see that as much more differently than if she said "if the child turns out to be a *******".... *hugs* to your fam and hope it's all ok

MrTango

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Re: That kinda hurt my feelings...
« Reply #39 on: January 20, 2014, 09:04:46 PM »
If the friend said "if the child turns out to be retarded" i would see that as much more differently than if she said "if the child turns out to be a *******".... *hugs* to your fam and hope it's all ok

That's an interesting idea.  I'm not sure I would appreciate the difference in the moment, but reading it here, I think I see where you're getting at.

There are plenty of legitimate uses for the word both as a verb and as a noun (i.e. "retarder" or "retardant").  I personally feel that using it to describe a person is not one of those acceptable uses.

petal

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Re: That kinda hurt my feelings...
« Reply #40 on: January 20, 2014, 09:40:49 PM »
you cant ask people to stop saying the word r......d if you say it yourself.

i know its the word your daughter used but you could  have said developmentally delayed to your friend and they would have still got the point

baglady

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Re: That kinda hurt my feelings...
« Reply #41 on: January 20, 2014, 10:03:14 PM »
I think there are several different issues at play here.

First, is the R word offensive? It has definitely fallen out of favor in recent years, but for decades it was the clinical term to describe someone with an intellectual disability. It replaced "idiot," "imbecile" and "moron," which were the clinical terms for different degrees of intellectual disability a century ago. Now those words are used exclusively as insults and never applied to actual developmentally disabled people.

It lives on in the names of some agencies (around here services for this population are provided by the local ARC -- Association for Retarded Citizens, although the C word used to stand for Children) and in casual conversation.

OP has stated that she dislikes the word, so if she used it in conversation with her friend, she was probably parroting/quoting her daughter, who was worried about having a "retarded" child. And I can see a worried mom saying, "Oh, no, what if he's retarded?" not the less offensive "Oh, no, what if he's developmentally disabled?" And OP's friend might have thought it kinder to use the word OP used, rather than try to "correct" her by rephrasing it with a more PC term ("Well, if he turns out to be developmentally delayed ...") that might have come across as getting judgmental on OP about her word usage.

As for OP's friend's comment ... how many threads have we had here about people attempting to comfort others and sticking their feet firmly in their mouths? She was probably thinking something like "Well, it will be a hard road, but your DD is a good mom, loves her son and it will be OK" ... it just didn't come out that way.

BTW, this may all be moot. I don't have children, but I've been around enough of them over the years to know that nonverbal at 18 months is no cause for panic or fearing the worst. As several PP's who do have children have pointed out, some kids just take their time with certain things.

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esposita

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Re: That kinda hurt my feelings...
« Reply #42 on: January 20, 2014, 10:17:22 PM »
I think there are several different issues at play here.

First, is the R word offensive? It has definitely fallen out of favor in recent years, but for decades it was the clinical term to describe someone with an intellectual disability. It replaced "idiot," "imbecile" and "moron," which were the clinical terms for different degrees of intellectual disability a century ago. Now those words are used exclusively as insults and never applied to actual developmentally disabled people.

It lives on in the names of some agencies (around here services for this population are provided by the local ARC -- Association for Retarded Citizens, although the C word used to stand for Children) and in casual conversation.

OP has stated that she dislikes the word, so if she used it in conversation with her friend, she was probably parroting/quoting her daughter, who was worried about having a "retarded" child. And I can see a worried mom saying, "Oh, no, what if he's retarded?" not the less offensive "Oh, no, what if he's developmentally disabled?" And OP's friend might have thought it kinder to use the word OP used, rather than try to "correct" her by rephrasing it with a more PC term ("Well, if he turns out to be developmentally delayed ...") that might have come across as getting judgmental on OP about her word usage.

As for OP's friend's comment ... how many threads have we had here about people attempting to comfort others and sticking their feet firmly in their mouths? She was probably thinking something like "Well, it will be a hard road, but your DD is a good mom, loves her son and it will be OK" ... it just didn't come out that way.

BTW, this may all be moot. I don't have children, but I've been around enough of them over the years to know that nonverbal at 18 months is no cause for panic or fearing the worst. As several PP's who do have children have pointed out, some kids just take their time with certain things.

All of this.

My middle kid didn't even walk til 18 months, let alone talk. He's making up for it now! I'm sure as he grows he'll have strengths and weaknesses just like everyone; what a boring place the world would be if we were all the same!

lollylegs

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Re: That kinda hurt my feelings...
« Reply #43 on: January 20, 2014, 10:41:04 PM »
Version without the r-word: I had mentally equated it with 'gay'. It is certainly wrong to describe a thing/situation as 'gay' or to use it as a pejorative, but is still a word with a non-offensive meaning that can be used normally. I didn't realise it was totally off limits even in its original meaning.

Is it completely off limits though? My step brother and step sister have physical and intellectual disabilities, I absolutely hate the word, but I wouldn't bat an eyelid if someone said that someone's growth was retarded/*insert other medical uses of the word here*.

I think that's a slightly different language use though, since you're referring to one very specific medical thing. 'His growth is retarded' is simply a statement of medical fact about a specific thing, a descriptor. 'He is retarded', on the other hand, is referring to a whole person as retarded.

It's just such a horrid, horrid word*, and it's been used so much as a pejorative.

ETA: *when used to refer to a person in their entirety.

My comment was in response to Iris's that the word was 'totally off limits even in its original meaning'.

leaf_eater

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Re: That kinda hurt my feelings...
« Reply #44 on: January 20, 2014, 11:07:17 PM »
FYI, The US national Arc organization has not used the word "retarded" in its name since 1992. Source: http://www.thearc.org/page.aspx?pid=2344