The “r” word

My son is retarded.  Ohhh, I think that makes me a horrible person.  Forgive me for not being sensitive to “the r word.”  I certainly get that the word can be used pejoratively, i.e., “you’re so retarded,” etc., and we presumably have better terms now, intellectually disabled, cognitively disabled/impaired, etc., but this word has an actual clinical definition.  Heck, it’s in the DSM-IV!  Thus, I think this youtube video on the matter is way over the top (and NSFW, by the way)

No, I don’t actually call my son “retarded,” but I think people are too sensitive on this one. Maybe that’s because I grew up calling my older brother “mentally retarded,” he is– it’s right there in the DSM– because that’s just what we called people with severe autism back before most people understood autism.  While I’m at it, I don’t get offended if someone calls my son “autistic” instead of saying he “has autism.”  Its certainly not the best way to define him– his life is shaped much moreso by his intellectual disabilities than his  autism, but it’s not worth getting bent out of shape over.  And he’s such a beautiful kid (inside and out), that I’ll throw in a gratuitous picture, too:

About Steve Greene
Professor of Political Science at NC State http://faculty.chass.ncsu.edu/shgreene

2 Responses to The “r” word

  1. Jon says:

    Calling an autistic child retarded or any human being is despicable

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