Advanced search

To find it disgusting so many people still think it's acceptable to use the 'R' word to describe someone who's done something stupid?

(217 Posts)
TangoPurple Sun 03-Mar-13 18:46:47

Bit of a rant! I told my friend this afternoon that i think it's terrible so many people still use the word 'retard' in every day conversation, as well as other offensive, disabilist terms.

She shrugged it off saying that people don't mean it offensively, it's just a phrase our parents used and passed on to us. She admitted that she used to say it all the time, but decided to stop after realising dd has autism, as she didn't want to upset me.

So, after she left, i took to my Facebook for another rant. A lot of people (who i have now deleted) echoed what my friend had said. They said it's just 'banter' and they call their friends it all the time. It's just another way of saying idiot etc.

One came along and actually cut and pasted the definition of retarded. 'Something that is slow or stunted. e.g. the car was retarded, due to its faulty mechanics.'

He therefore felt he had justified his frequent usage of the term in everyday conversation.

I just find it terribly upsetting that this is still considered acceptable. Don't want to break any rules by mentioning this, but someone had said it earlier today on here. A parent. On a parenting forum. It's horrendous.

My gorgeous 5yo has been called retarded before. We were on a double decker bus once, up the top, and she was stimming (flapping her arms) and humming because she was excited. A bunch of teens up the back called down, "Missus - is your kid reatrded or what?' and then called 'bye, window licker' as we left.

So, for someone then to tell me this is NOT a derogatory term is astounding.

Not sure of the point of this thread tbh. Probably another rant. I'm certain i'm not being unreasonable.

Please, please, please - if you are guilty of using this word, stop it. Your children will hear it and then think it's okay to use. And they may end up like those horrible children on the back of that bus my daughter and i had to endure.

hazeyjane Mon 04-Mar-13 18:11:57

dottyspotty2, I was joking! In the same way that I don't think you really wanted someone to kill themselves, I also don't believe you really want someone to play on the motorway - I should have put a grin afterwards to show I was taking the piss, sorry!

crashdoll Mon 04-Mar-13 17:48:35

It's easier to say it's just a word when a.) you're ignorant and b.) it's never been said to you or someone you love.

dottyspotty2 Mon 04-Mar-13 17:37:38

BLacklightning neither do I usually have other things to worry about. My daughter is now 17 her brother 18 so past it as it was school bullying despite him never going to mainstream. Hope yours gets sorted its soul destroying for them.

Hazey I grew up in the north west and phrases like that where 10 a penny so water off a ducks back to myself and many others so to speak I did say its wasn't meant literally in case you missed that bit.

Crawling Mon 04-Mar-13 16:48:32

I have to say as the mother of a severly autistic dd and a ds with possible as the terms mentioned on this thread upset me alot.
However I hear loony pyscho crazy alot more and as someone who suffers pychosis I find these terms equally offensive.

TheNebulousBoojum Mon 04-Mar-13 16:32:29

Usually I give people the benefit of the doubt, once. Partly perhaps because I'm a teacher and I've heard a lot of ignorance and stupidity from children and their parents over the years.
But only once. because then, as Couthy said, they are making an active, informed choice about the words they use.

MrsDeVere Mon 04-Mar-13 16:27:20

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

TheNebulousBoojum Mon 04-Mar-13 16:19:11

'I feel that anybody who continues to use an offensive, disablist word AFTER being told it is offensive and disablist is a twat.'

Because I can't put it any better that Couthy.

hazeyjane Mon 04-Mar-13 16:17:18

On a thread the other day about Ricky Gervaise, someone linked to this poem by Dean Atta, about the use of the N word. He wrote it after he had tweeted this

"Rappers, when you use the word 'nigger' remember that's one of the last words Stephen Lawrence heard, so don't tell me it's a reclaimed word."

Words do indeed have power.

MerryCouthyMows Mon 04-Mar-13 16:13:26

I expected that to get deleted. It still is true though!

And I will say it again, in a way that cannot be construed as a personal attack.

I feel that anybody who continues to use an offensive, disablist word AFTER being told it is offensive and disablist is a twat.

Is that any less of a personal insult, HQ?

blacklightning Mon 04-Mar-13 15:52:35

Of 207 messages so far, the overwhelming majority agree with OP that the use of this word is disgusting, so at least that is encouraging. It is sad though that this discussion is even taking place, but agree with OP, I wouldn't want the thread to be deleted.

Words do have power. I remember a man speaking once about the use of the N word in the 70's on TV (I think it was a programme called love thy neighbour?). People said then that it was just a word, but he had to endure that word being used in an abusive way against him the next day at school. It is one thing to tell an adult not to be offended,its just a word, but how can a child make such a choice. (BTW I think as an adult you can't necessarily make that choice but that seems to be what some are saying)

Sorry for typos in first post, was trying to hold wriggly baby at the time!

BabyMakesTheBellyGoRound Mon 04-Mar-13 15:05:55

I thought we had long moved past these offensive terms.
It saddens me to see this discussion. We wouldn't see anyone defending the use of the N word.

blacklightning Mon 04-Mar-13 13:50:44

Hi dottyspotty. I usually avoid these sort of threads as the comments can be upsetting. I remember in your deleted post that you said a sibling was being bullied. I am going through this too. I cmpletely sympathise with your felings at the lack of empathy.

The irony of lecturing parents with sen children about depression wasn't lost on me either Mrs Devere.

hazeyjane Mon 04-Mar-13 13:20:24

Really, I should play on the motorway? Hokey dokey then.

<seeing as we are taking all of this at face value>

dottyspotty2 Mon 04-Mar-13 13:19:09

Well if I get annoyed over something that effects my family I will spout off FWIW I have major depressive illness and I class what I say as a turn of phrase like telling someone to go play on the motorway in other words get to fuck. Is that better.

StuntGirl Mon 04-Mar-13 11:36:55

Yy to everything Mrs DeVere just said!

MrsDeVere Mon 04-Mar-13 11:30:07

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

HelenMumsnet (MNHQ) Mon 04-Mar-13 11:28:50


On mumsnet a personal attack becomes an opinion once you address it to more than one person. So, "you are a scrounging arsehole" is not ok as a personal attack but "Carers of disabled people are scrounging arseholes" is an opinion and entirely ok.

Yet if it was "all Muslims are x" or "all gays are y" or z"all n words are z" then that wouldn't be on at all.

And HQ wonder why we're aggrieved...

Nope. It anyone posted "all Muslims are x" or "all gays are y", they would be deleted.

And if someone reported, "Carers of disabled people are scrounging arseholes", it would most certainly not be OK and it would be deleted.

None of them are personal attacks, that's true. But we do have other rules in our Talk Guidelines - and we do routinely delete posts that generalise in an discriminatory way against defined groups.

fanjoforthemammaries7850 Mon 04-Mar-13 11:28:45

and clearly Dotty hasn't either , so i was annoyed at the massive guilt trip she was subjected to by core.

fanjoforthemammaries7850 Mon 04-Mar-13 11:27:45

core then told ME to think before next time I tell someone to go and kill themselves.

Which I haven't ever done so it would be the first time in fact.

fanjoforthemammaries7850 Mon 04-Mar-13 11:26:55

I was kidding Helen wink sorryblush

StuntGirl Mon 04-Mar-13 11:26:14

Dotty said something to the effect of "just throw yourself off a cliff" in response to someone else's comment that disablist words aren't offensive and don't hurt anybody. Core got very offended because depressed and suicidal people might then take it upon themselves to actually kill themselves, and we should all think before we speak because you don't know by looking at someone whether they're depressed and simple words can hurt y'know.

I suspect she missed the point spectacularly.

PrincessFiorimonde Mon 04-Mar-13 11:26:07

Xpost with OP. Tango, you were entitled to be upset! I really hope you're right about use of the word dying out.

HelenMumsnet (MNHQ) Mon 04-Mar-13 11:25:11


Am thinking I may as well do loads of personal attacks since people accuse me of them anyway

Please don't <stern> <weary>

PrincessFiorimonde Mon 04-Mar-13 11:22:50

I can never understand people who carry on using words once they've been told they are offensive. Using them in all innocence is one thing - but when someone's said 'Please don't say r*****; it's offensive'; well, that's when you stop saying it, surely.

Words do change in meaning and intent. In the 60s, there was a charity called the Spastic Society - long since changed its name to Scope. In the 50s (I think) there was an embroidery thread called n*** brown. Obviously not called that now!

TangoPurple Mon 04-Mar-13 11:22:49

Hello, i've been working and not had chance to come back and reply.

Sorry to see this has caused a bit of a row. I was just upset yesterday when i posted, and naively (is that a word?) assumed i could somehow influence people to realise this is not an acceptable word to use in modern society.

Very interesting to read the comment about Obama banning it in medical terms.

It's clear to see that some people just don't get it, and probably won't ever get it.

And this makes me feel really sad. Children learn from adults. If adults continue using this word - and other equally offensive words - so freely, their children will follow.

I'm lucky that this word had only been directed at my dd a few times, the worst instance being the example i gave on the bus.

But she's only 5. As she gets older - especially in high school - i fear this word may become part of her daily life.

I really hope that by the time she reaches her teens, it won't be used in such a casual way as it is now.

I also hope this thread doesn't get deleted. A lot of people have said they find the word offensive, and explained why they find it offensive. So hopefully it might educate/influence other readers to start thinking more and stop using it.

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, watch threads, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now »

Already registered? Log in with: