Ever find yourself in a situation and wonder: Is this a time when it's okay to use the adjective "retard"? Well, luckily, you're not the only one.
Originally used to signify slowing down of things or for someone with an intellectual or developmental disability, the word retard has since come to be a slang characterizing a range of displeasing situations or people, especially those deemed ignorant or unintelligent. This chart highlights that no situation justifies the use of the highly insulting term with reference to people.
We've seen this before. Words that denigrate or marginalize groups tend to become part of the common lexicon. (For example, the expression "that sucks" is rooted in a homophobic implication about gay sex.) Sometimes, those phrases and words become so ingrained that people forget their hurtful origins.
I highly approve of Romney's decision to be kind and gentle to the retard.— Ann Coulter (@AnnCoulter) October 23, 2012
"Come on Ms. Coulter, you aren't dumb and you aren't shallow," Stephens wrote. "So why are you continually using a word like the R-word as an insult?"
The issue, as exemplified by campaigns like the Spread The Word to End the R-Word is that educating people about the origins of a derogatory word like this isn't enough — we must eradicate it. Spread The Word's message is as powerful and important as the Military Special Needs Network's: Next time you have the urge to use the R-word, do everyone a favor and don't.