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  1. #1
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    On banning "the R word," or most other words, for that matter..

    I recently saw an article talking about the use of the words, "retard," or "retarded," as derogatory terms. It looks like this:

    Attachment 3662

    It caused me to think. I have a real problem with this whole concept of "banning" words.

    OK... So, I get the whole idea of not using the word "retarded" or "retard" as a derogatory term. It's insensitive, insulting, and dehumanizes people with actual mental disabilities. However, what gets me is that the word, in its most literal sense, simply means, "slowed, or delayed." It doesn't always even necessarily refer to mental disabilities; people can have retarded physical growth. While I can see that it might be uncomfortable to be described as "slowed or delayed," if such a moniker is true in an objective sense and not used with malice - as in with discussing a medical condition - I really don't understand why it would be so offensive.

    My mother worked with mentally and physically disabled children for the entirety of my young life, and I spent a lot of time with people who had a wide variety of mental and physical disabilities as a result. Some of the people we met were discussed among professionals as "mentally retarded" or "developmentally retarded." This was purely clinical discussion, and no malice or harm was ever intended. In fact, the entire discussion was usually intended to figure out how best to help the person being discussed. As a consequence, I grew up with the term having absolutely no connotation beyond the literal sense, and I always felt that its use as a derogatory term was a departure from its original sense, just as calling something "gay" to mean that it's foolish or boring was. (For that matter, using the word "gay" to describe a sexual orientation instead of a mood still seems, to me, to be a twisting of the word's original sense which I find a little off-putting, but that's a different discussion.)

    My problem is that if we ban the "R-word," people will just use whatever euphemism replaces it in the same way, to mean the same thing. We can't ban a whole language just because some insensitive and hurtful people choose to abuse people using words that mean ... what they mean... to refer to someone or something to which they don't apply.

    Why should we do linguistic backflips to accommodate hurtful and spiteful people just because they choose to abuse a word which, in itself, has no intrinsically hurtful or malicious intention or meaning? Why do we let the basest and most ignoble among us shape our linguistic landscape? Why should they get the privilege of having the power to turn whole words and concepts into taboo expressions that evoke rage and hurt? I think that the mode of thinking that allows such a travesty to occur is part of the problem. Instead of marginalizing the improper use of our words, our attention focuses only on their derogatory implications, totally destroying the more noble and useful purposes those words may have once had.

    I say that instead of banning the "R-word," we should reclaim it to mean its originally intended concepts and refuse to tolerate its abuse as a word. The people who do such things demonstrate their small-mindedness, and they should be treated appropriately as the small-minded, petty people that they show themselves to be when they say such hurtful and spiteful things. If we consistently did this when people abused language to hurt others, how many good and wonderful words could we save from the garbage bin of oversensitive linguistic drift?

    Just a thought.
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    Re: On banning "the R word," or most other words, for that matter..

    I suppose one question I have is what do you mean by "banning" the word? I'm sure we aren't talking about outlawing the use of the word as that would be a violation of the 1st amendment.

    So I can think of two ways it is primarily used. One is to accurately describe a mentally handicapped person. The other is a derogatory term that people throw about as an insult. And the "banning" in the first case would be professional - the word will no longer be used in a clinical sense and the other "banning" would be social on the basis that even if the target of the insult is not handicapped, the very use of the word is disrespectful to handicapped people, much like a racial slur is seen as inherently disrespectful to a certain race even if the word was not used against a member of that race.

    I'll address the social aspect first. I suppose it is uncool to compare someone to a handicapped person as an insult for that implies that it's bad to be mentally handicapped. Again, I think actually banning this word doesn't make much sense but there is a case to be made that one should not use "retarded" as an insult.

    And given that we can't really stop people from choosing to use the word "retard" as an insult means that it should be banned from professional use, not from some higher authority, but the professionals should decide that they will not use the term for it has a negative and insulting connotation that might hurt the feelings of those who it's used upon.

    Actually, here's a pretty good fictional example from Freaks and Geeks.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=goGaSpPamng

    So really I think we just have to accept that it is what it is. People will use the term derogatorily and that can't be helped and therefor the term is not appropriate in a professional sense and should be "banned" in that respect.

  4. #3
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    Re: On banning "the R word," or most other words, for that matter..

    I'm guessing most of us will be in agreement. Banning a world doesn't ban the idea behind the word (whatever that may be) and so it really doesn't do much good.

    The real lesson is...
    1) Be respectful of your fellow human beings and try to use respectful language.
    2) Don't be too sensitive about language use or you will never find an end to potential offense.

    Neither bit of advice will ever be perfectly satisfactory because offense and respect are pretty subjective things and vary from person to person.

    When enough people start using a word in a derogatory way, the wise thing to do is steer clear of it unless you want to also use it for that purpose. Retarded is used to say "hey, that isn't just normal stupid, that's stupid to a degree that requires something to by physically broken with your brain." aka "stupid beyond the norm for stupid." We don't really have a word for that except, "Retarded."

    Mind you being polite, there isn't much need for a word like that, but lets face it, we are not always polite nor desire to always be polite. Even those of us who normally are, like to have some occasions where we can cut loose a bit and not offer any real offense.

    So I'll probably continue to say "retarded" from time to time but generally not around people who might take offense, or when making largely public statements. I'll keep it a word for friends and drinking and private conversion when I want to exaggerate about how dumb something is.
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    Re: On banning "the R word," or most other words, for that matter..

    Phew, I thought you were talking about right-winger or Republican as a way to suppress thought or discussion.

    Instead, it appears that you want to suppress interpretations of words that have gain currency and common understanding. There is absolutely nothing wrong with using a clinical term to describe someone as an insult - that's what insults are for: to suggest or exaggerate a failure in an opponent. Using 'retarded' in that context is no more or less worse than any other term; 'cretin', 'moron', 'mong' and other terms began their linguistic lives as medical terms so it appears that this is just how insults are generated. And giving the insult an air of scientific credibility just makes it a better insult IMHO.

    Your argument basically says that people shouldn't insult other people with new terms, which seems to be a weird way of retarding (i.e. slowing down) linguistic development. One of the most beautiful aspects of human development is to take ideas from one area and apply it to varying degrees of cleverness to another. And it is when this new use is apt or particularly funny or that makes it stick.

    I think you should enjoy the ingenuity of the human mind to put new terms into even more new uses.

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    Re: On banning "the R word," or most other words, for that matter..

    JJ I don't think your read of Tal's post is on the money. He's just saying don't let the jerks control the language, use it in the way you think is best and when someone's a jerk you can stand up to them and tell them so.
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    Re: On banning "the R word," or most other words, for that matter..

    Quote Originally Posted by Sigfried View Post
    JJ I don't think your read of Tal's post is on the money. He's just saying don't let the jerks control the language, use it in the way you think is best and when someone's a jerk you can stand up to them and tell them so.
    I got that in the last paragraph but it still boils down to resisting changes in language and using words in new and unique ways; and medical terms usually make the best insults anyway. Neologisms aren't anything that can be stomped out and what makes insults even more irresistible are those that have an added benefit of taboo.

    Ironically, Talthas' solution actually strengthens the word's use rather than inhibit it, since any resistance or calling out of the use of the term makes it even more powerful.

    Like I said, there's no stopping how humans use language - it should be admired not stood up to.

  10. #7
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    Re: On banning "the R word," or most other words, for that matter..

    I'd be very surprised if you found anyone here truly willing to ban a word; any word. This did make my question other "bans", or at least legal ramifications of using words. Where do we draw a line? For example, I read an article on Cracked today: http://www.cracked.com/blog/how-come...d-no-fly-list/

    In which an article was removed from the site, and the author brought in for questioning... now take it as you will if it's real or fake...

    Words, written in a very silly sense and an article removed due to a subpoena. So I'd pose the question; do you think there is any precedence to bring about legal action against someone using a word or words?

    Perhaps this is viewed differently due to a perceived threat? Perhaps nouns aren't an issue since they describe a person. I suppose my question would be, where is this line drawn? If we can bring legal ramifications against people for using words in this sense, why not for retard?

    I don't advocate this line of thinking at all; just curious to see if you'd see this as some precedence?
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    Re: On banning "the R word," or most other words, for that matter..

    Words themselves ultimately have no meaning. It's the intent and the context of who is saying the word or when it is used that ultimately defines whether a word is "good" or "bad". We have to remember that words, are in fact, completely arbitrary and their power only stems from the collective consensus of the people that could potentially use a word.

    That being said, I think that a lot the outrage over words is less about the words themselves and more about suppressing the intents. If you give people awareness to the fact that a word like "retard" is considered offensive, it could help shape society into being more accepting of people with mental disabilities. So yes, technically, somebody who constantly abuses the word "retarded" would simply find a new word to bash folks with disabilities with. But for people who aren't aware that they're being offensive, needing to think about using a different word might give them more awareness about their attitudes.
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    Re: On banning "the R word," or most other words, for that matter..

    Quote Originally Posted by ZealousDemon View Post
    Words themselves ultimately have no meaning.
    Well, words do have meaning within the context that they are used. In fact, I don't know how our society let alone our sciences would function without definitions and meaning.

    It's the intent and the context of who is saying the word or when it is used that ultimately defines whether a word is "good" or "bad".
    Intent can be very subjective. For example, someone with absolutely no malintent can use a word in a person-to-person conversation and then someone will find offense with it and an argument begins.... That's happened to me a few times.

    But for people who aren't aware that they're being offensive, needing to think about using a different word might give them more awareness about their attitudes.
    Some people are just arrogant and offensive as their MO. Getting them to change their vocabulary is not necessarily an easy option. One thing that does seem to help people who have such an MO make a shift is when they get fired a few times from a job because of their attitude; or if they lose their partners because of their attitude. Those types of personal experiences can make a person reflect on their toxic MO.
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    Re: On banning "the R word," or most other words, for that matter..

    Quote Originally Posted by JimJones8934 View Post
    Phew, I thought you were talking about right-winger or Republican as a way to suppress thought or discussion.

    Instead, it appears that you want to suppress interpretations of words that have gain currency and common understanding. There is absolutely nothing wrong with using a clinical term to describe someone as an insult - that's what insults are for: to suggest or exaggerate a failure in an opponent. Using 'retarded' in that context is no more or less worse than any other term; 'cretin', 'moron', 'mong' and other terms began their linguistic lives as medical terms so it appears that this is just how insults are generated. And giving the insult an air of scientific credibility just makes it a better insult IMHO.

    Your argument basically says that people shouldn't insult other people with new terms, which seems to be a weird way of retarding (i.e. slowing down) linguistic development. One of the most beautiful aspects of human development is to take ideas from one area and apply it to varying degrees of cleverness to another. And it is when this new use is apt or particularly funny or that makes it stick.

    I think you should enjoy the ingenuity of the human mind to put new terms into even more new uses.
    Some insults are acceptable and some insults are utterly unacceptable. This is why we frown upon the use of words, for example, that refer to terrible slavery conditions and social Darwinism, and words that refer to mentally handicapped people. All the time, it seems, people take terms that are either clinical or inoffensive and use them in a deragotary manner. And when it previously described real people it is patently unacceptable.

    There is absolutely nothing funny about people with low functioning autism who have seizures from sensory overload, people with cerebral palsy who struggle to walk, or people with mental disabilities in general who more often than not can hardly even dream of living independently, finding love, or going pretty much anywhere without intensely unpleasant symptoms. Just to be crystal clear, I was diagnosed with a mental disability myself and struggled for decades to finally lead a normal adult life.

    It is incredibly offensive to me when people use this clinical term as a pejorative, because they couldn't be more insensitive to the self esteem of people like myself who suffer from epilepsy, sensory overload, and irrational anxiety that I can't control. Mental conditions (especially disabilities) themselves are already hard enough to cope with without public ridicule. Having had humiliating public breakdowns, being held back two grades, suffering seizures in the middle of class without a medical explanation or even any warning, is enough reason for self inflicted shame.

    His argument is twofold, or so it seems to me:

    1. Certain subjects should be off limits to label with a pejorative. When pejoratives and other terms with possible negative connotations see widespread dissemination in colloquial usage they harm the egos of those they originally applied to. People who already often have trouble feeling like a "whole" or "equal" person in society do not need to be painfully reminded of it in such a casual way. Some things just aren't casual at all.

    2. When we just switch goal posts over and over, and constantly come up with new terms to counteract this trend, it doesn't help the situation. Oftentimes it just supplies a new word to stigmatize people with. Political correctness is an utterly vacuous exercise because it does little to actually address intolerance.

    You are so off the mark of what his argument basically says that I wonder how well you read the OP, no offense. Pretty much everything he said in it was a criticism of how we "ban" such terms instead of addressing intolerance. And: probably the last kind of word to turn into an insult is a clinical term. People with clinical conditions have them involuntarily and shouldn't be used as a comparison with healthy people as if they are "failures".

    http://theresidentialautist.blogspot...ing-point.html
    http://theresidentialautist.blogspot...1_archive.html

    If you can, please explain to me why anyone should be compared to this person as a failure and why that isn't targeting extremely vulnerable people like this. Explain to me what is admirable about that, how it paints human ingenuity in a good light. Or maybe try having seizures for a day, banging your head through a glass window, hearing voices, having sensory overload, experiencing psychosis, dealing with cluster headaches, spending time in a mental hospital...

    ---------- Post added at 01:30 AM ---------- Previous post was at 01:00 AM ----------

    Quote Originally Posted by ZealousDemon View Post
    Words themselves ultimately have no meaning. It's the intent and the context of who is saying the word or when it is used that ultimately defines whether a word is "good" or "bad". We have to remember that words, are in fact, completely arbitrary and their power only stems from the collective consensus of the people that could potentially use a word.

    That being said, I think that a lot the outrage over words is less about the words themselves and more about suppressing the intents. If you give people awareness to the fact that a word like "retard" is considered offensive, it could help shape society into being more accepting of people with mental disabilities. So yes, technically, somebody who constantly abuses the word "retarded" would simply find a new word to bash folks with disabilities with. But for people who aren't aware that they're being offensive, needing to think about using a different word might give them more awareness about their attitudes.
    History utterly disagrees with you, compadre. If that were true, marginalized people like myself wouldn't have been called a variety of names over the years.
    Last edited by Lukecash12; March 20th, 2014 at 01:27 AM.
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  14. #11
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    Re: On banning "the R word," or most other words, for that matter..

    Quote Originally Posted by mican333 View Post
    I suppose one question I have is what do you mean by "banning" the word? I'm sure we aren't talking about outlawing the use of the word as that would be a violation of the 1st amendment.
    You're correct. But there're plenty of campaigns out there to "ban" the use of X word or Y phrase because someone finds it offensive. As I pointed out and as Sig accurately summed up, banning words is pretty pointless and unnecessarily restrictive, because you can't ban the idea behind the word. All you end up doing is limiting the range of "acceptable" expressions of an idea that, in itself, is objectionable to those same people anyway. As much as the "word police" seem to want to ban the very idea of using a word to ridicule some group or behavior, it's never going to happen. All that will happen is that people will find other euphemisms to express the same concept, and those words will similarly become "taboo." We've already seen the same thing happen with things like "special ed" and "special needs." What we need to be doing, instead of being "word police," is calling people out for being jerks and heaping social disapproval upon them and their behavior instead of the words they are choosing to use.

    Quote Originally Posted by mican333
    So I can think of two ways it is primarily used. One is to accurately describe a mentally handicapped person. The other is a derogatory term that people throw about as an insult. And the "banning" in the first case would be professional - the word will no longer be used in a clinical sense and the other "banning" would be social on the basis that even if the target of the insult is not handicapped, the very use of the word is disrespectful to handicapped people, much like a racial slur is seen as inherently disrespectful to a certain race even if the word was not used against a member of that race.

    I'll address the social aspect first. I suppose it is uncool to compare someone to a handicapped person as an insult for that implies that it's bad to be mentally handicapped. Again, I think actually banning this word doesn't make much sense but there is a case to be made that one should not use "retarded" as an insult.
    I agree with you to this point. We *shouldn't* use the word "retarded" as an insult, but then, we shouldn't really be insulting other people intentionally, either. In either case, it doesn't make much sense to actively lobby to have a word no longer used... it won't stop the idea from being expressed in some other, equally objectionable way.

    Quote Originally Posted by mican333
    And given that we can't really stop people from choosing to use the word "retard" as an insult means that it should be banned from professional use, not from some higher authority, but the professionals should decide that they will not use the term for it has a negative and insulting connotation that might hurt the feelings of those who it's used upon.
    I say that professional language, which has no inherent malice or derogatory intent, should be exempt from such paltry things as the offense of one group or the misuses and abuses of ignorant people. Why should the basest and coarsest among us get to decide, by their misbehavior and abuses, what words we are and aren't allowed to use? This is my objection to the whole idea that we should stop using certain words just because other people have used them in hurtful ways. Words are nothing more than verbal expressions of an idea, and you can't eradicate an idea just by forbidding a certain means of expressing it. All you do is change the form of its expression, which will, itself, eventually come to mean the same thing as the previously banned word did.

    Quote Originally Posted by Sigfried View Post
    I'm guessing most of us will be in agreement. Banning a world doesn't ban the idea behind the word (whatever that may be) and so it really doesn't do much good.

    The real lesson is...
    1) Be respectful of your fellow human beings and try to use respectful language.
    2) Don't be too sensitive about language use or you will never find an end to potential offense.

    Neither bit of advice will ever be perfectly satisfactory because offense and respect are pretty subjective things and vary from person to person.

    When enough people start using a word in a derogatory way, the wise thing to do is steer clear of it unless you want to also use it for that purpose. Retarded is used to say "hey, that isn't just normal stupid, that's stupid to a degree that requires something to by physically broken with your brain." aka "stupid beyond the norm for stupid." We don't really have a word for that except, "Retarded."

    Mind you being polite, there isn't much need for a word like that, but lets face it, we are not always polite nor desire to always be polite. Even those of us who normally are, like to have some occasions where we can cut loose a bit and not offer any real offense.
    You nailed it, bang-on. Good job. Rep given.

    Quote Originally Posted by Sigfried
    So I'll probably continue to say "retarded" from time to time but generally not around people who might take offense, or when making largely public statements. I'll keep it a word for friends and drinking and private conversion when I want to exaggerate about how dumb something is.
    Totally understandable. Be nice to people who you don't know well, and be a decent human being when functioning in society. Use all those other words to insult your friends to your heart's delight.

    Quote Originally Posted by JimJones8934 View Post
    Phew, I thought you were talking about right-winger or Republican as a way to suppress thought or discussion.
    Using terms like "right winger," especially as it's been used in recent discussions, *does* suppress discussion, because it's an ad hominem fallacy which shuts down debate by implying that a person who holds different views from you is somehow lacking in some essential virtue. That isn't, however, what I was talking about and is outside the scope of my current topic.

    Quote Originally Posted by JimJones8934
    Instead, it appears that you want to suppress interpretations of words that have gain currency and common understanding.
    This is a misstatement of my position.

    Quote Originally Posted by JimJones8934
    There is absolutely nothing wrong with using a clinical term to describe someone as an insult - that's what insults are for: to suggest or exaggerate a failure in an opponent. Using 'retarded' in that context is no more or less worse than any other term; 'cretin', 'moron', 'mong' and other terms began their linguistic lives as medical terms so it appears that this is just how insults are generated. And giving the insult an air of scientific credibility just makes it a better insult IMHO.
    This is true. And this is my point, in fact. People are going to choose the most (in)appropriately offensive word they can find if they truly wish to insult someone. I see no reason why the population at large should be discouraged from using an otherwise neutral term in its neutral sense just because some jackass decided to use the word in an abusive way. I don't acknowledge that they have any right to shape the common language we all use simply because they want to be ignorant and offensive to other people, but that's exactly what's happening every time some new campaign crops up to (unofficially) "ban" the use of a given word, in this case, "retarded." An otherwise perfectly good word has now been forced into meaning only one extremely negative thing, when before it would have had several possible meanings with only one of them being offensive. It's what I call negativist or derogatory linguistic drift. People gradually take whatever is the "least unacceptable" word they can find to express the concept they want to say and use it to create an insult. People are appropriately insulted, but instead of blaming the person entirely for their abusive language, they have decided to blame the innocent word itself. Eventually, what was previously an acceptable word or euphemism becomes its own derogatory term which is no longer acceptable, and strangely, people still get offended by other things.

    The idea still remains. The will and the ability to insult still remain. The ability to take offense at increasingly small slights still exists. As long as these things are true - and I think that will be forever - the idea of attaching social disapproval to the simple use of words is pointless. All it does is create the derogatory linguistic drift I've mentioned, which gradually turns every word into a potentially grievous slight. It's ridiculous on its face and should stop.

    Quote Originally Posted by JimJones8934
    Your argument basically says that people shouldn't insult other people with new terms, which seems to be a weird way of retarding (i.e. slowing down) linguistic development. One of the most beautiful aspects of human development is to take ideas from one area and apply it to varying degrees of cleverness to another. And it is when this new use is apt or particularly funny or that makes it stick.
    No... my argument says that we shouldn't allow the actions of a few jackasses to continue the derogatory linguistic drift that inevitably happens when we allow the negative connotations of a word to be the only acceptable definitions of that word, thereby rendering it unfit for polite conversation any longer. It limits and narrows the scope of polite discussion, and I don't think that people who are neither polite nor inclined to discuss should have the power to do that to the rest of society just because they want to be jackasses. The second you heap enough disapprobation upon a given word that it's no longer "usable," they will just find another one that means the same thing and use it instead.

    I can't really fathom how you see this as a positive thing. All it does is limit the forms of expression we have available to us by excising otherwise applicable definitions from their commonly understood list of meanings. What you have when this pattern reaches its logical conclusion is the least common denominator after every word that can possibly be used to offend is excised from the lexicon.

    It's ++UG.
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    Re: On banning "the R word," or most other words, for that matter..

    Quote Originally Posted by Lukecash12 View Post
    Some insults are acceptable and some insults are utterly unacceptable. This is why we frown upon the use of words, for example, that refer to terrible slavery conditions and social Darwinism, and words that refer to mentally handicapped people. All the time, it seems, people take terms that are either clinical or inoffensive and use them in a deragotary manner. And when it previously described real people it is patently unacceptable.
    I don't disagree that some insults are unacceptable. I do disagree that those dealing with mental conditions are. Even 'idiot' was at some point a medical term (src).

    There is absolutely nothing funny about people with low functioning autism who have seizures from sensory overload, people with cerebral palsy who struggle to walk, or people with mental disabilities in general who more often than not can hardly even dream of living independently, finding love, or going pretty much anywhere without intensely unpleasant symptoms. Just to be crystal clear, I was diagnosed with a mental disability myself and struggled for decades to finally lead a normal adult life.*
    No-one is saying that those conditions are funny but when used to insult people it is meant to hurt the person it is being applied to, not the people suffering from the original medical term. We use PTSD, suicidal, psychotic, schizophrenic, psychopathic, sociopathic in all sorts of places and situations where it is not warranted, never mind medically diagnosed. I don't think in any of those cases, the purpose is meant to insult the sufferers, it just happens to be a good term to describe those people's qualities.

    I understand your position but my other primary point is that this is how human language develops and if there were someone to budge, it is going to be the medical community to come up with new words; not society in-the-large, to change.*


    It is incredibly offensive to me when people use this clinical term as a pejorative, because they couldn't be more insensitive to the self esteem of people like myself who suffer from epilepsy, sensory overload, and irrational anxiety that I can't control. Mental conditions (especially disabilities) themselves are already hard enough to cope with without public ridicule. Having had humiliating public breakdowns, being held back two grades, suffering seizures in the middle of class without a medical explanation or even any warning, is enough reason for self inflicted shame.
    *
    I think what you're describing here isn't really the same thing - it is children or young people largely being mean and vicious to people that happen to be different. Try being black or gay or an atheist in the south or any number of similar situations where you just happen to be a minority.

    1. Certain subjects should be off limits to label with a pejorative. When pejoratives and other terms with possible negative connotations see widespread dissemination in colloquial usage they harm the egos of those they originally applied to. People who already often have trouble feeling like a "whole" or "equal" person in society do not need to be painfully reminded of it in such a casual way. Some things just aren't casual at all.
    *
    While I agree with not hurting people's feelings, my stronger point is that language belongs to everyone and unfortunately, the minority, the people closest to the minority or their supporters, or usually too small to stem the flow of a really good word. That's how it goes.

    What will happen is that the medical term will change (as in the case of idiot, cretin or moron). Or in the case of 'gay' it just falls into disuse as an insult because of larger efforts and education.

    2. When we just switch goal posts over and over, and constantly come up with new terms to counteract this trend, it doesn't help the situation. Oftentimes it just supplies a new word to stigmatize people with. Political correctness is an utterly vacuous exercise because it does little to actually address intolerance.
    Unfortunately, new terms seems to be the way to go.

    Perhaps there needs to be a larger movement to educate the world but that brings even more attention to the issues.
    Or positive publicity like for Downs Syndrome sufferers who are now even in some television shows. I don't think anyone uses Downs as an insult any more.

    That is a much better approach than outright banning or social stigmatizing IMHO. It's less authoritarian (especially since no one has any authority as to word usage anyway), educates people as to the actual suffering and involves people in an empathic manner.

    You are so off the mark of what his argument basically says that I wonder how well you read the OP, no offense.
    I think the problem is being exaggerated since I believe the medical community has already moved on from the word retarded, the solution (reclaiming) is impossible to implement and only exacerbates the use of the word. The entire tone of the post seems a little arrogant whereas a more empathic educational approach would be more effective.

    So I think I've understood the post - I just disagree with many parts of it. I do agree with the central point that people shouldn't be made to feel worse about themselves but that there are better solutions out there.

    Pretty much everything he said in it was a criticism of how we "ban" such terms instead of addressing intolerance. And: probably the last kind of word to turn into an insult is a clinical term. People with clinical conditions have them involuntarily and shouldn't be used as a comparison with healthy people as if they are "failures".

    http://theresidentialautist.blogspot...ing-point.html
    http://theresidentialautist.blogspot...1_archive.html
    Firstly, let me be clear that I am not saying people should be hurt outright. I am dealing with the reality that people will use words wherever they can in all sorts of new and unique situations. I am also saying being authoritarian with no authority is not an effective approach.

    If you can, please explain to me why anyone should be compared to this person as a failure
    Because the word sometimes just happens to really fit.

    and why that isn't targeting extremely vulnerable people like this.
    Because it's nothing to do with the persons suffering. It's certainly not targeting anyone for ridicule other than the person the insult is being aimed at.

    Explain to me what is admirable about that, how it paints human ingenuity in a good light.
    It is uniquely human to make conceptual leaps or to take new information and apply them to different situations. Does it really denigrate slaves by using the term slaving away at a stove?

    Or maybe try having seizures for a day, banging your head through a glass window, hearing voices, having sensory overload, experiencing psychosis, dealing with cluster headaches, spending time in a mental hospital...
    I sympathize and I hope that I have explained my position further.

    ---------- Post added at 05:21 AM ---------- Previous post was at 04:31 AM ----------

    Quote Originally Posted by Talthas View Post
    Using terms like "right winger," especially as it's been used in recent discussions, *does* suppress discussion, because it's an ad hominem fallacy which shuts down debate by implying that a person who holds different views from you is somehow lacking in some essential virtue. That isn't, however, what I was talking about and is outside the scope of my current topic.
    Well, I don't want to derail this thread with a side-discussion but I find it odd that I can't use a term that accurately describes a group of people that actually share the political stances that fall under that term and not only that, it is a term used by the group themselves! That you find it pejorative perhaps means that you should find better political leanings; the only lacking of 'virtue' are purely political as far as I am concerned.

    JJ: Instead, it appears that you want to suppress interpretations of words that have gain currency and common understanding.
    This is a misstatement of my position.
    Then I apologize and hope to be corrected on the matter but it does seem that the horse has bolted on the term 'retarded'. As I noted to LC, the term Downs Syndrome is not used as an insult AFAIK, and it's definitely not because it is a medical term but because the world is educated and is empathizing more with the condition.

    JJ: There is absolutely nothing wrong with using a clinical term to describe someone as an insult - that's what insults are for: to suggest or exaggerate a failure in an opponent. Using 'retarded' in that context is no more or less worse than any other term; 'cretin', 'moron', 'mong' and other terms began their linguistic lives as medical terms so it appears that this is just how insults are generated. And giving the insult an air of scientific credibility just makes it a better insult IMHO.

    This is true. And this is my point, in fact.
    Good, so we agree that language evolves.

    The idea still remains. The will and the ability to insult still remain. The ability to take offense at increasingly small slights still exists. As long as these things are true - and I think that will be forever - the idea of attaching social disapproval to the simple use of words is pointless. All it does is create the derogatory linguistic drift I've mentioned, which gradually turns every word into a potentially grievous slight. It's ridiculous on its face and should stop.
    Well, every word can be an insult; I'm sure there's a 'Rule 34'-like law about it. I don't think it should stop and I don't think it can stop and I think you're exaggerating the issue a bit.

    No... my argument says that we shouldn't allow the actions of a few jackasses to continue the derogatory linguistic drift that inevitably happens when we allow the negative connotations of a word to be the only acceptable definitions of that word, thereby rendering it unfit for polite conversation any longer.
    I don't know if it's a few people though - it may be a few to begin with, comedians and writers and people with a wide influence but it ends up being millions of people. I also disagree that the negative connotations are the only acceptable definition either but it may become the primary meaning - the medical community can continue to use the term as long as they wish. I'm not sure if you're accurately describing the scope of the problem as you see it here.

    JJ: Your argument basically says that people shouldn't insult other people with new terms, which seems to be a weird way of retarding (i.e. slowing down) linguistic development. One of the most beautiful aspects of human development is to take ideas from one area and apply it to varying degrees of cleverness to another. And it is when this new use is apt or particularly funny or that makes it stick.
    It limits and narrows the scope of polite discussion, and I don't think that people who are neither polite nor inclined to discuss should have the power to do that to the rest of society just because they want to be jackasses. The second you heap enough disapprobation upon a given word that it's no longer "usable," they will just find another one that means the same thing and use it instead.
    I understand the issue but you haven't really offered many solutions.

    I can't really fathom how you see this as a positive thing. All it does is limit the forms of expression we have available to us by excising otherwise applicable definitions from their commonly understood list of meanings. What you have when this pattern reaches its logical conclusion is the least common denominator after every word that can possibly be used to offend is excised from the lexicon.
    Good or bad, human ingenuity and cleverness is something amazing to behold. In the software industry we steal words and terms and twist meanings and find isomorphisms and create neologisms constantly. That sometimes this creativity is used for something negative isn't in of itself negative, which is why I think you're a little off the mark and that it is you limiting forms of expression by a dog-in-the-manger type of argument: just because other people use the same term, it doesn't stop you from using it in the original sense. That the medical community hasn't been able to hold on to the term is a weakness that needs to be addressed by themselves, not blaming other humans for doing what humans naturally do. Also, that you think that you're going to 'run out of words' is kinda funny. I don't think that's going to happen for thousands and thousands of years, if ever.

    As I pointed out the Downs Syndrome community has done a fantastic job de-stigmatizing the condition and gaining much empathy and sympathy for the sufferers and also putting them in the front and center of television shows. Once something is understood then the insult aspect dissipates, same with the gay community (except in socially conservative or excessively religious groups). And that's the main problem I have with your posts - it's the entire approach of demeaning people.

    It's ++UG.
    What does this mean?

  16. #13
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    Re: On banning "the R word," or most other words, for that matter..

    Quote Originally Posted by Talthas View Post
    You're correct. But there're plenty of campaigns out there to "ban" the use of X word or Y phrase because someone finds it offensive.
    But there's a difference between "banning" a word and banning a word. So if we are talking about "banning" as in discouraging the word's use because it's considered offensive, I don't have a particular problem with that. I'll never tell anyone that cannot say a word but I would discourage the use of certain words, especially in certain situations, so I'm alright with attempts to "ban" a word in that respect.

    Quote Originally Posted by Talthas View Post
    As I pointed out and as Sig accurately summed up, banning words is pretty pointless and unnecessarily restrictive, because you can't ban the idea behind the word. All you end up doing is limiting the range of "acceptable" expressions of an idea that, in itself, is objectionable to those same people anyway.
    But if we generally agree that certain ideas should be discouraged, there is nothing wrong with attempting to discourage them being forwarded. The objection to "retard" is that its derogatory usage indicates that the mentally handicapped are worthy of mockery (I believe that's why certain people are against the word being used as it is nowadays). And I will say to anyone who will listen that the mentally handicapped should not be mocked so I am for restricting that idea. And when I say that you should not mock the handicapped I am restricting the mocking of the handicapped to the extent that people will adhere to what I say.

    I don't expect to kill the idea of mocking the handicapped but in my own little way I am restricting the idea and our general societal mores against mocking the handicapped restrict the idea in a significant way. I'm quite certain that the handicapped would be mocked much more frequently if it were not socially unacceptable to do it.

    And I am not advocating creating some kind of organization to stamp out such mockery via social pressure. I'm just saying that if many people think that mockery is not a good thing, there's nothing wrong with them letting their opinions be known and there's nothing wrong with their opinions having an influence on others.


    Quote Originally Posted by Talthas View Post
    As much as the "word police" seem to want to ban the very idea of using a word to ridicule some group or behavior, it's never going to happen. All that will happen is that people will find other euphemisms to express the same concept, and those words will similarly become "taboo." We've already seen the same thing happen with things like "special ed" and "special needs." What we need to be doing, instead of being "word police," is calling people out for being jerks and heaping social disapproval upon them and their behavior instead of the words they are choosing to use.
    I don't really separate word usage from behavior.


    Quote Originally Posted by Talthas View Post
    I agree with you to this point. We *shouldn't* use the word "retarded" as an insult, but then, we shouldn't really be insulting other people intentionally, either. In either case, it doesn't make much sense to actively lobby to have a word no longer used... it won't stop the idea from being expressed in some other, equally objectionable way.
    Actually, there is a difference. When someone uses the term "retarded" they are not necessarily intending to insult the handicapped - it's more of a by-product of the word usage. So if we actually did succeed in banning the word, it's not a given that it would be replaced by another word that would peripherally insult the handicapped. Perhaps people would switch to "moron" which does not have the same connotation.


    Quote Originally Posted by Talthas View Post
    I say that professional language, which has no inherent malice or derogatory intent, should be exempt from such paltry things as the offense of one group or the misuses and abuses of ignorant people.
    I agree that professionals should not be disparaged if they use the term clinically. But that does not alter the fact that the word is no longer suitable for professional use. The word is just too loaded, through no fault of the professionals, to clinically communicate what it intends to communicate, as in people will often think one is saying something different than they are or will get upset even if no offense was intended.

    A pretty good example of this was in the Freaks and Geeks clip I linked in my last post. Lindsey accurately, and without malice, said that Eli was retarded and Eli got very upset with her for saying that.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=goGaSpPamng

    So likewise if people are going to sometimes get upset when a professional uses the term "retarded", the professional will have a much harder time doing his/her job if they keep using that word - even if they make it clear that no insult was intended, it will still upset people and make their job harder. So clearly, they cannot use it anymore - it's just not effective for their purposes when compared to other terms that will communicate the sme thing clinically but without the baggage.

    BTW, if you watch the clip, Ben Foster plays Eli. I still don't recognize him.
    Last edited by mican333; March 20th, 2014 at 01:59 PM.

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    Re: On banning "the R word," or most other words, for that matter..

    Quote Originally Posted by JimJones8934 View Post
    Well, I don't want to derail this thread with a side-discussion but I find it odd that I can't use a term that accurately describes a group of people that actually share the political stances that fall under that term and not only that, it is a term used by the group themselves! That you find it pejorative perhaps means that you should find better political leanings; the only lacking of 'virtue' are purely political as far as I am concerned.
    With the tacit agreement that you and the other libs in other discussions have given to Mdougie's characterization of conservative and "right wing" sentiments, I'd say that your own positions and words have made the term into a pejorative, not mine. I am proud of my conservative stances, and I see them as a virtue.

    Quote Originally Posted by JimJones
    Then I apologize and hope to be corrected on the matter but it does seem that the horse has bolted on the term 'retarded'. As I noted to LC, the term Downs Syndrome is not used as an insult AFAIK, and it's definitely not because it is a medical term but because the world is educated and is empathizing more with the condition.
    You may be right about Down Syndrome, as far as education. I think that this is a far better solution than simply heaping social stigma onto a word, though.

    Quote Originally Posted by JimJones
    Well, every word can be an insult; I'm sure there's a 'Rule 34'-like law about it. I don't think it should stop and I don't think it can stop and I think you're exaggerating the issue a bit.
    I'm not exaggerating much. There are a lot of oversensitive people who cry foul when people use virtually any word in a derogatory manner.

    What's "rule 34?"


    Quote Originally Posted by JimJones
    I don't know if it's a few people though - it may be a few to begin with, comedians and writers and people with a wide influence but it ends up being millions of people. I also disagree that the negative connotations are the only acceptable definition either but it may become the primary meaning - the medical community can continue to use the term as long as they wish. I'm not sure if you're accurately describing the scope of the problem as you see it here.
    I'm not just talking about the medical community, though that's a valid extension of my argument. I'm talking about the fact that it's a very small but very vocally outraged segment of the population that is shaping our linguistic landscape based on their selective outrage toward certain arbitrary words which have been abused by another relatively small group of people to mean something that they don't intrinsically mean.

    Quote Originally Posted by JimJones
    That sometimes this creativity is used for something negative isn't in of itself negative, which is why I think you're a little off the mark and that it is you limiting forms of expression by a dog-in-the-manger type of argument: just because other people use the same term, it doesn't stop you from using it in the original sense.
    Actually, yes it does. People aren't really allowed to describe other people as "retarded," even with a qualifier like 'mentally retarded' without the risk of drawing the ire of some totally unrelated party who gets hyped up on righteous indignation, simply because yet another group or person abused that word at some time in the past. It's not a part of polite conversation, and I think that fact is sad... because it limits the scope of discussion that can be had in polite conversation.

    Quote Originally Posted by JimJones
    As I pointed out the Downs Syndrome community has done a fantastic job de-stigmatizing the condition and gaining much empathy and sympathy for the sufferers and also putting them in the front and center of television shows. Once something is understood then the insult aspect dissipates, same with the gay community (except in socially conservative or excessively religious groups).
    I think education is a good start to the solution. I think that blaming the people who abuse words instead of the use of the words themselves is another part of the solution.

    Quote Originally Posted by JimJones
    And that's the main problem I have with your posts - it's the entire approach of demeaning people.
    Please clarify this.


    Quote Originally Posted by JimJones
    What does this mean?
    It's shorthand from George Orwell's 1984. Newspeak was the state-sponsored linguistic construct that endeavored to eliminate all means of communicating ideas that were not approved by the Party, thus attempting to change the realm of ideas by eliminating the ability to talk about those ideas they found objectionable. They also figured that with the reduction in lexicon to only acceptable terms, certain truncations were appropriate. You don't need comparatives ore superlatives when you can say "plus," or "double plus," to emphasize something. You don't need a word like "bad" when you've got "good" and can simply put "un" in front of it to make it mean the opposite... so "un-good" replaces "bad." So, ++UG is the Newspeak abbreviation for "double plus un-good."
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    Re: On banning "the R word," or most other words, for that matter..

    [QUOTE=Talthas;535370]With the tacit agreement that you and the other libs in other discussions have given to Mdougie's characterization of conservative and "right wing" sentiments, I'd say that your own positions and words have made the term into a pejorative, not mine. I am proud of my conservative stances, and I see them as a virtue.
    [Quote]
    That's rubbish. I see lower taxes and smaller government as right wing policies and see nothing pejorative in saying that; we just don't discuss that side of things much.

    On the issues we do discuss, eg anti gay policies (aka traditional marriage support), there are actual right wing political positions and on that, and it is the issue that is at play. That the right wing in general cannot evolve on the issue is a weakness, as also evidenced by the silence of right wingers here in these debates. That's not pejorative either - it's a fact.

    I think you're mistaken on too many levels to discuss here so feel free to start a thread to reclaim the term for yourself. Otherwise, I remain baffled at your playing of the persecution card.

    Just because people disagree with you and your political positions and your party's political positions; and that the country is increasingly voting against those positions, it is not pejorative. These are facts and if you're swept along by the nastier, more powerful side of your own party then that's your problem to fix, not ours to ignore.

    You may be right about Down Syndrome, as far as education. I think that this is a far better solution than simply heaping social stigma onto a word, though.
    I know I'm right. I have friends with a Downs kid.

    I'm not exaggerating much. There are a lot of oversensitive people who cry foul when people use virtually any word in a derogatory manner.
    True, sometimes the politically correct movement can be a bit much. But then you have people like LukeCash who are being personally affected so there is a point to be made.

    What's "rule 34?"
    That there exists porn on any topic.

    I'm not just talking about the medical community, though that's a valid extension of my argument. I'm talking about the fact that it's a very small but very vocally outraged segment of the population that is shaping our linguistic landscape based on their selective outrage toward certain arbitrary words which have been abused by another relatively small group of people to mean something that they don't intrinsically mean.
    Well, if they're a small group then people will ignore them. That's how language evolves. I don't think the number of people using the neologism is particularly small though. That's where I don't think you're being accurate.
    Please clarify this.
    Calling it an abuse of language, people small minded, Etc.

    It's shorthand from George Orwell's 1984. Newspeak was the state-sponsored linguistic construct that endeavored to eliminate all means of communicating ideas that were not approved by the Party, thus attempting to change the realm of ideas by eliminating the ability to talk about those ideas they found objectionable. They also figured that with the reduction in lexicon to only acceptable terms, certain truncations were appropriate. You don't need comparatives ore superlatives when you can say "plus," or "double plus," to emphasize something. You don't need a word like "bad" when you've got "good" and can simply put "un" in front of it to make it mean the opposite... so "un-good" replaces "bad." So, ++UG is the Newspeak abbreviation for "double plus un-good."
    That's pretty cool though I don't think that's happening here though since the original medical meaning is never really lost. It was just poorly defended.

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    Re: On banning "the R word," or most other words, for that matter..

    Quote Originally Posted by JimJones8934 View Post
    I don't disagree that some insults are unacceptable. I do disagree that those dealing with mental conditions are. Even 'idiot' was at some point a medical term (src).
    I disagree vehemently that people with challenging medical conditions should be used figuratively to insult others.

    No-one is saying that those conditions are funny but when used to insult people it is meant to hurt the person it is being applied to, not the people suffering from the original medical term. We use PTSD, suicidal, psychotic, schizophrenic, psychopathic, sociopathic in all sorts of places and situations where it is not warranted, never mind medically diagnosed. I don't think in any of those cases, the purpose is meant to insult the sufferers, it just happens to be a good term to describe those people's qualities.

    I understand your position but my other primary point is that this is how human language develops and if there were someone to budge, it is going to be the medical community to come up with new words; not society in-the-large, to change.*
    We understand that we often aren't personally being addressed by this insult. However, we are the figure of comparison and we are being painted as failures.

    *
    I think what you're describing here isn't really the same thing - it is children or young people largely being mean and vicious to people that happen to be different. Try being black or gay or an atheist in the south or any number of similar situations where you just happen to be a minority.
    Oh yes it is the same thing. You try going on a public bus and having everyone stare at you because of your symptoms until some ignorant person says: "What are you, retarded?" You underestimate just how cruel people can be.

    *
    While I agree with not hurting people's feelings, my stronger point is that language belongs to everyone and unfortunately, the minority, the people closest to the minority or their supporters, or usually too small to stem the flow of a really good word. That's how it goes.

    What will happen is that the medical term will change (as in the case of idiot, cretin or moron). Or in the case of 'gay' it just falls into disuse as an insult because of larger efforts and education.
    And the only reason that will happen is our complicit resignation.

    Unfortunately, new terms seems to be the way to go.

    Perhaps there needs to be a larger movement to educate the world but that brings even more attention to the issues.
    Or positive publicity like for Downs Syndrome sufferers who are now even in some television shows. I don't think anyone uses Downs as an insult any more.

    That is a much better approach than outright banning or social stigmatizing IMHO. It's less authoritarian (especially since no one has any authority as to word usage anyway), educates people as to the actual suffering and involves people in an empathic manner.
    No one here said that social stigmatizing should fly in the face of real education. It is still warranted, however. You don't just stand by as if behavior like that is okay.

    I think the problem is being exaggerated since I believe the medical community has already moved on from the word retarded, the solution (reclaiming) is impossible to implement and only exacerbates the use of the word. The entire tone of the post seems a little arrogant whereas a more empathic educational approach would be more effective.

    So I think I've understood the post - I just disagree with many parts of it. I do agree with the central point that people shouldn't be made to feel worse about themselves but that there are better solutions out there.
    If you had understood the OP you wouldn't have told Talthas he was arguing for words to be banned.

    Firstly, let me be clear that I am not saying people should be hurt outright. I am dealing with the reality that people will use words wherever they can in all sorts of new and unique situations. I am also saying being authoritarian with no authority is not an effective approach.
    So we should just leave folks like myself by the wayside and just roll over and play dead, because we don't think we can change things? We have made progress on issues like this, so it behooves us to do just that with mental disabilities being stigmatized.

    Because the word sometimes just happens to really fit.
    I just threw up in my mouth a little bit when I read that. There is absolutely nothing fitting about comparing healthy people to my friend. She is not a failure so in no way should people be compared to her as if she was one. To do so is pure hubris.

    Because it's nothing to do with the persons suffering. It's certainly not targeting anyone for ridicule other than the person the insult is being aimed at.
    It has everything to do with "the persons suffering". They are being used as a figure in a comparison, to the effect that they are failures, not a "whole" or "equal" person.

    It is uniquely human to make conceptual leaps or to take new information and apply them to different situations. Does it really denigrate slaves by using the term slaving away at a stove?
    No, it doesn't denigrate slaves because it isn't using them as a comparison and painting them in a negative light. Slaves do slave away at things.

    I sympathize and I hope that I have explained my position further.
    If you truly sympathized you would understand that people like her and myself shouldn't be figuratively used as an example of a failure. Had you dealt with any of the symptoms I've mentioned you would have been public ostracized from childhood on with the rest of us, and you would not appreciate this term at all.
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  20. #17
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    Re: On banning "the R word," or most other words, for that matter..

    Context, not words, is the king of communication. Besides, if we ban retarded, what do we do with:

    Dim, dull, dumbbell, dumdum, dummy,imbecile, pinhead, simple, slow, stupid, subnormal, touched, underachieving, yo-yo, backward, bird-brained, defective, dim-witted, dopey, dumbo, feeble-minded, half-witted, lame-brained, moronic, numbskull, opaque, retardo, sappy, simple-minded, and slow-witted?

    Once words start getting outlawed there is no principled end to it prior to the entire language being banned. This is exactly what is wrong with "politically correct speech". It rests on no clear linguistic principle so there is no end to it. And sure enough, every other day we discover a new politically incorrect word and some retard howling over its use.

    ---------- Post added at 01:49 PM ---------- Previous post was at 01:47 PM ----------

    Quote Originally Posted by Lukecash12 View Post
    I disagree vehemently that people with challenging medical conditions should be used figuratively to insult others.



    We understand that we often aren't personally being addressed by this insult. However, we are the figure of comparison and we are being painted as failures.



    Oh yes it is the same thing. You try going on a public bus and having everyone stare at you because of your symptoms until some ignorant person says: "What are you, retarded?" You underestimate just how cruel people can be.



    And the only reason that will happen is our complicit resignation.



    No one here said that social stigmatizing should fly in the face of real education. It is still warranted, however. You don't just stand by as if behavior like that is okay.



    If you had understood the OP you wouldn't have told Talthas he was arguing for words to be banned.



    So we should just leave folks like myself by the wayside and just roll over and play dead, because we don't think we can change things? We have made progress on issues like this, so it behooves us to do just that with mental disabilities being stigmatized.



    I just threw up in my mouth a little bit when I read that. There is absolutely nothing fitting about comparing healthy people to my friend. She is not a failure so in no way should people be compared to her as if she was one. To do so is pure hubris.



    It has everything to do with "the persons suffering". They are being used as a figure in a comparison, to the effect that they are failures, not a "whole" or "equal" person.



    No, it doesn't denigrate slaves because it isn't using them as a comparison and painting them in a negative light. Slaves do slave away at things.



    If you truly sympathized you would understand that people like her and myself shouldn't be figuratively used as an example of a failure. Had you dealt with any of the symptoms I've mentioned you would have been public ostracized from childhood on with the rest of us, and you would not appreciate this term at all.
    You can't say much of anything without goring someone's ox.

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    Re: On banning "the R word," or most other words, for that matter..

    Quote Originally Posted by cstamford View Post
    Context, not words, is the king of communication. Besides, if we ban retarded, what do we do with:

    Dim, dull, dumbbell, dumdum, dummy,imbecile, pinhead, simple, slow, stupid, subnormal, touched, underachieving, yo-yo, backward, bird-brained, defective, dim-witted, dopey, dumbo, feeble-minded, half-witted, lame-brained, moronic, numbskull, opaque, retardo, sappy, simple-minded, and slow-witted?

    Once words start getting outlawed there is no principled end to it prior to the entire language being banned. This is exactly what is wrong with "politically correct speech". It rests on no clear linguistic principle so there is no end to it. And sure enough, every other day we discover a new politically incorrect word and some retard howling over its use.

    ---------- Post added at 01:49 PM ---------- Previous post was at 01:47 PM ----------



    You can't say much of anything without goring someone's ox.
    Stop being so bossy!

    Oh, wait, I'm no longer allowed to use that word. I'm so very sorry. www.banbossy.com

    Can banning one school-yard word really change the world? Sheryl Sandberg says yes.

    Sandberg -- the chief operating officer of Facebook and author of the best-selling book "Lean In" -- is spearheading the launch of a campaign today to ban the word "bossy," arguing the negative put-down stops girls from pursuing leadership roles.

    "We know that by middle school, more boys than girls want to lead," Sandberg said, "and if you ask girls why they don't want to lead, whether it's the school project all the way on to running for office, they don't want to be called bossy, and they don't want to be disliked."

    Sandberg said these attitudes begin early and continue into adulthood.

    "We call girls bossy on the playground," Sandberg said. "We call them too aggressive or other B-words in the workplace. They're bossy as little girls, and then they're aggressive, political, shrill, too ambitious as women."

    Sandberg's organization Lean In is joining forces with former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Girl Scouts USA CEO Anna Maria Chávez to launch a public service campaign called "Ban Bossy." The banbossy.com website gives tips for parents, kids, teachers and others about how to encourage young female leaders... continued at http://gma.yahoo.com/sheryl-sandberg...opstories.html
    "If we lose freedom here, there is no place to escape to. This is the last stand on Earth." - Ronald Reagan

  22. #19
    Banned Indefinitely

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    Re: On banning "the R word," or most other words, for that matter..

    Quote Originally Posted by evensaul View Post
    Stop being so bossy!

    Oh, wait, I'm no longer allowed to use that word. I'm so very sorry. www.banbossy.com
    Can banning one school-yard word really change the world? Sheryl Sandberg says yes.

    Sandberg -- the chief operating officer of Facebook and author of the best-selling book "Lean In" -- is spearheading the launch of a campaign today to ban the word "bossy," arguing the negative put-down stops girls from pursuing leadership roles.

    "We know that by middle school, more boys than girls want to lead," Sandberg said, "and if you ask girls why they don't want to lead, whether it's the school project all the way on to running for office, they don't want to be called bossy, and they don't want to be disliked."

    Sandberg said these attitudes begin early and continue into adulthood.

    "We call girls bossy on the playground," Sandberg said. "We call them too aggressive or other B-words in the workplace. They're bossy as little girls, and then they're aggressive, political, shrill, too ambitious as women."

    Sandberg's organization Lean In is joining forces with former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Girl Scouts USA CEO Anna Maria Chávez to launch a public service campaign called "Ban Bossy." The banbossy.com website gives tips for parents, kids, teachers and others about how to encourage young female leaders... continued at http://gma.yahoo.com/sheryl-sandberg...opstories.html
    Absolutely terrifying. And Condie just gored my ox.

  23. #20
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    Re: On banning "the R word," or most other words, for that matter..

    Quote Originally Posted by cstamford View Post
    Context, not words, is the king of communication. Besides, if we ban retarded, what do we do with:

    Dim, dull, dumbbell, dumdum, dummy,imbecile, pinhead, simple, slow, stupid, subnormal, touched, underachieving, yo-yo, backward, bird-brained, defective, dim-witted, dopey, dumbo, feeble-minded, half-witted, lame-brained, moronic, numbskull, opaque, retardo, sappy, simple-minded, and slow-witted?

    Once words start getting outlawed there is no principled end to it prior to the entire language being banned. This is exactly what is wrong with "politically correct speech". It rests on no clear linguistic principle so there is no end to it. And sure enough, every other day we discover a new politically incorrect word and some retard howling over its use.

    ---------- Post added at 01:49 PM ---------- Previous post was at 01:47 PM ----------



    You can't say much of anything without goring someone's ox.
    I couldn't agree more, and want to point out that I am more interested in addressing intolerant attitudes towards vulnerable people.
    There is no wealth like knowledge, no poverty like ignorance.
    Nahj ul-Balāgha by Ali bin Abu-Talib

  24. Thanks cstamford thanked for this post
 

 
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