This morning I am trying extra hard to not be offended because I've just experienced what I'm sure will be down the road not only from those who are simply ignorant but also from those who are deliberately being mean.
My daughter told me that she was making a comment about her youngest brother just in passing. A young man in our ward turned to her and said, "You mean the retarded one?"
She replied, "He is not retarded."
He said, "Yes, he is. He's mentally retarded."
This is a kid who doesn't do well in school himself and in social situations is somewhat slow. If we look at the meaning of the word "retarded" it means to be delayed or to be slowed down. In that sense, this young man would certainly qualify for the term. In fact, applied in the academic sense, many children at our elementary school are "retarded" because they do not function on grade level.
However, in most cases this term is used to degrade someone else.
"Retard" is no longer used in the special needs community and has become such a derogatory term that it is offensive to those who are involved with the special needs community. We need to educate those around us. We do not need to perpetuate the idea that people with special needs are not valuable members of society.
I hope we can take the time to educate those around us and let people know that using the word "retard" is offensive and should never be used to degrade another human being. My son may have his challenges but so does everyone. He doesn't deserve to be mistreated simply because he has an extra chromosome.