Friday, August 15, 2008

What's the big deal??

Everyone is making much ado about nothing over the movie Tropic Thunder and the use of the word 'retard'.


It wasn't the first to use it and won't be the last, so why the complaints? You haven't even SEEN the movie.

Where were the Down's advocates when Devo named one of their songs "Mongoloid"? Nowhere, because the Down's advocates reclaimed the word.

I realize my opinion won't be popular with my fellow Hub bloggers. So be it.

It's my opinion. Please let me have it.


Bev said...

Some people defend the use of the "R" word because they don't understand they are hurting people. Some people know that they are hurting people, but don't care, their right to speak freely is more important to them. Others deny any harm is being done, claiming others are "too sensitive."

What I want to say to all of these people is think about this, read about it, listen to what people with disabilities have to say before you decide what matters. Make an informed decision about what's acceptable. Consider the possible consequences of speaking of a group of people as if they don't matter.

If no one brings up that the language is a problem, things just continue as they are. That means a lot of people being cruel because they don't know better or because it is "their right" to do so. When cruelty of language becomes so matter-of-fact, cruelty of actions follows more easily, slips through the cracks.

None of this means your opinion doesn't count. But when you say "it's just a word," I don't hear that you have considered all sides of the story.

beau99 said...

But I have considered all sides of the story.

My opinion is still the same.

It's just a word. I use it to describe myself all the time. Sometimes in jest, but guess what?

I AM socially retarded.

Words are only offensive if you want them to be.

I guess I'm just simply more open-minded and just don't care one way or the other.

laurentius rex said...

It's more than a word it is a set of attitudes, and popular cultural figures in using that word are making a statement, a wrong one, because they are not challenging that set of attitudes they are tacitly reinforcing it with there banality.

This is not reclaiming the word, Messrs Stiller and co have no right to it.

Mongoloid in its usage was equally offensive, both to Down's people and to the Mongols.

For that matter I was not enamoured with Me Myself and Irene either,in it's misinformation about SZ that puts Jim Carrey in the same category of crass and ignorant celebrities who ought to know better than to perpetuate the bull that they do.

These comedians deserve to lose big bucks and audiences both from what they are doing, you can consider that as the only way to teach them.

Navi said...

For me, it depends on how it's used. You saying you are socially retarded isn't derogatory. It's descriptive. Calling someone who does something untypical or makes a mistake, but that really shows no delay in development, is derogatory. Using it as a blanket term for people with disabilities, for many of whom the label does not apply, is derogatory, and a disservice to those that ARE retarded. It makes it a bad thing, so that people don't want an accurate diagnosis because that diagnosis uses a word commonly used as a derogatory. For example, we're pretty sure my son doesn't have any mental retardation in his cognitive abilities, just difficulty displaying his intelligence in a typical manner, but in some ways, he does qualify as retarded because he is functionally retarded. ie, he doesn't use language, and doesn't use alternative communication tools effectively. However, it still bothers me when that label is used, even though it's descriptive, and it shouldn't. I grew up hearing it more as a derogatory, than used to accurately describe a disability. That said, one wonders if a new word should be used to accurately describe a disability. I think cognitively disabled seems to be about the same as what generally means mentally retarded. But then we'd have to come up with something else to describe someone with language deficits like those of my son, since he doesn't really appear to be cognitively disabled, but he is disabled in his output. Maybe if we changed label, the derogatory wouldn't hurt so much in the future

Also, 'Mongoloid' isn't as commonly used as 'retarded' as a derogatory, so it's not going to make people upset. Most of the people that tend to use the word retard as a derogatory probably aren't even familiar with the other term.

That said, it is a word so commonly used, I'm sure the older generations are probably much more sensitive to it than the younger.

laurentius rex said...

Times change, fashions change, but what unfortunately does not change is the innacurate playground jibes that anyone who is different has to endure when growing up.

In my day I was called "Mong" shorthand for mongoloid and "Spaz" shorthand for spastic, with the same intent and derogation that people casually mean when they use "Tard" nowadays, I expect a generation before that there were similar terms which may seem innocent enough now but were powerful enough in there times.

The common factor is that all these terms were used inappropriatly in a way that both insulted those who were tarred by association, and those for whom it was the official lable.