(CNN) — “An unexpected and sudden spotlight on the Special Olympics, an organization that for more than 40 years has served and honored those with intellectual disabilities, comes less than two weeks before the nonprofit launches a new campaign: Spread the Word to the End the Word.”
Do me a favor and reread the bold text out-loud. Kind of an ironic typo, isn’t it? Is this further proof that CNN is…retarded?
The article continues:
“Most people don’t think of this word as hate speech, but that’s exactly what it feels like to millions of people with intellectual disabilities, their families and friends,” a statement about the campaign reads. “This word is just as cruel and offensive as any other slur.”
(Continue reading the full story here.)
Is “retard” or “retarded” hate speech? That depends on whom you ask.
“Hate speech is a term for speech intended to degrade a person or group of people based on their race, gender, age, ethnicity, nationality, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity, disability, language ability, ideology, social class, occupation, appearance (height, weight, hair color, etc.), mental capacity, and any other distinction that might be considered by some as a liability.”
“Bigoted speech attacking or disparaging a social or ethnic group or a member of such a group.”
However, there is a large difference between “spic” / “nigger” when compared to “fag” and “retard.” The connotations of the former group are nothing but negative. Conversely, the latter group has multiple meanings and therefore at face value cannot be assumed to be negative or positive, they’re contextual words.
A lack of education should not justify censorship. For instance, just because you don’t understand the meaning of the word “niggardly” doesn’t mean that I’m a racist for saying it. (Thank you Captain Awesome.)
The free-thinkers and wordsmiths that are chastised should defend themselves and educate others. If anything both parties will have a healthy discourse on each side’s point-of-view, further allowing the idiosyncrasies of the human condition to be more fully represented.
I think “retard” needs to be reclaimed the same way women embraced “bitch,” the gay community embraced “queer” and the Jewish community embraced Larry David. If society continues to push for the substitution of the r-word for “challenged,” “special,” or “delayed,” those words will be stigmatized the same way that “retarded” was.
People hear “retarded,” they think ‘bad.’
We need to start associating “retarded” with ‘good,’ ‘courageous,’ and ‘inspiring.’
But I digress…
Question: What are your thoughts on all this?