"Smile Like a Retard"

I've used the word, "retard" plenty in my life. In no way did I ever associate it with a person with an intellectual disability; it was reserved for people without disabilities, people who were absolute moronsouch – another word linked to intellectual disability? – or total, complete idiotsdouble ouch – yet another word linked to intellectual disability?

 

Do we have any words that clearly delineate stupidity without it being linked to intellectual disability?

 

Imbecile? – no. It's linked.

Dimwit? Linked.

 

Going to thesaurus, synonyms of "idiot" are:

Blockhead, bonehead, cretin, dimwit, dork, dumbbell, dunce, fool, ignoramus, imbecile, jerk, kook, moron, muttonhead, nincompoop, ninny, nitwit, out to lunch, pinhead, simpleton, stupid, tomfool, twit

…and they note:

 

                                 
  an idiot  is a stupid person with a mental age below three years, while a moron  is a stupid person with a mental age of between seven to twelve years

 

Great. Got it. Thanks.

****
As I was saying, I used the word, "retard" plenty in my life. I used it freely with George W. Bush, a non-intellectually disabled person whose capacity for true stupidity was in my opinion, matchless. All the way up to and beyond having Moxie, I used the word "retarded", within the definition-associations on the right –

The ones on the left were more obvious to me as being definite linkages to the pejorative, "retard". To be brutally honest, I still thought the pejorative from time to time, mostly out of habit. I didn't say it anymore mostly because I've heard enough people with intellectual disabilities asking everyone else to quit using it – and I respect that. I honor that.

 

Then I saw this on facebook:

And I cried.

 

And I feel like I felt that one time when I was a kid and I was standing on the street and a group of far bigger kids were throwing rocks at me because I was so white, so scar-faced, so different. First, uncomprehending, I cried. Then I got very angry – and in my rage, I put my head down and charged, one after another, head first, smack into each and every big kid that I could reach.

 

I want to charge and smack the living shit out of anyone who laughs over "smiling like a retard" jokes now. Because maybe they are not directly referring to her at this moment , but it's likely that they will be at some point in the future. Because I don't want my daughter to be that kid who is getting rocks thrown at her.

 

Because my precious girl doesn't deserve to have her disability linked up with a word synonymous with moron, idiot, cretin, imbecile.

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Meriah
Meriah Nichols is a deaf artist, tech-junkie, Counselor (and sometime teacher), mom (one with Down syndrome), cat-lover, Trekkie, yurt-dwelling off-the-grid farmer's wife. She writes about travel, disability, and getting dishes done.

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