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 morons – ouch – another word linked to intellectual disability? – or total, complete idiots – double 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.
Going to thesaurus, synonyms of "idiot" are:
…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.
Meriah Nichols is a counselor. Solo mom to 3 (one with Down syndrome, one on the spectrum). Deaf, and neurodiverse herself, she’s a gardening nerd who loves cats, Star Trek, and takes her coffee hot and black.