Why You Should Care About The R-Word

It’s time to stop using the term casually when less offensive terms are available

The+R-word+has+been+used+by+many+as+a+derogatory+term+to+call+someone+stupid%3B+however%2C+intentionally+or+unintentionally%2C+it%E2%80%99s+negatively+effecting+those+with+disabilities.

Art by Ella Villar

The R-word has been used by many as a derogatory term to call someone stupid; however, intentionally or unintentionally, it’s negatively effecting those with disabilities.

Gabby Laurente, Staff Writer

The use of the word “retarded” has been normalized by society for as long as we can remember, but there is a lack of understanding that it’s a degrading term to those most affected. 

The word is defined as “very foolish or stupid,” but put under the informal/offensive category in the dictionary. Although the intention may not be to offend those who live with mental illnesses, it still impacts people.

Those who live with and care for people who do have mental illnesses are affected by the use of the word too. While many may feel uncomfortable speaking out, it does not mean that they aren’t bothered by it. 

The word was introduced by the American Association on Mental Retardation in 1961. While it was not originally intended to have the connotation it does now, it was soon carelessly adopted by many as an insult. 

Due to the excessive and normalized use of this word, the negative stereotype that surrounds living with mental illness is not only deepened, but perpetuated. 

By removing hate speech, even though it may not be commonly regarded as hate speech to you or those around you, the world gets a little bit better. It should not be too much to ask if it means making more people comfortable in a not so comforting world.”

Because people have become so reliant on the word to casually express intellectual disability, it is now used in everyday conversations. 

The underlying issue is simply just that young people do not care enough to remove hate speech from their language, especially considering that the word has been normalized by the majority of figures in their lives.

The derogatory term is overlooked and underestimated. Hardly anyone cares to look toward the deeper meaning behind the word, and how it can hurt others. By removing the word from your language, we begin to foster a more inclusive and diverse society. 

By removing hate speech, even though it may not be commonly regarded as hate speech to you or those around you, the world gets a little bit better. It should not be too much to ask if it means making more people comfortable in a not so comforting world.