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Offensive words not offensive if they aren't used in relation to a disabled person?

(24 Posts)
nappyaddict Thu 11-Nov-10 22:57:22

Someone argued with me yesterday that using words like


is not offensive if they are used jokingly amongst non-disabled people to refer to eachother.

Would you agree with this or not? Are some acceptable and others not?

Oh and I shouldn't be offended because my DS is only mildy affected by a learning disability. Never mind about the severely disabled cousin I have who has the mental age of a toddler. angry

2shoes Thu 11-Nov-10 22:59:00

they are offensive end of.
I would not speak to anyone who deemed those words ok

genieinabottle Thu 11-Nov-10 23:02:22

angry these words are offensive, no matter what the situation they are used in.

I just hate hearing them, and DS1's friends (teenagers) will use them. I've told him to warn them not to say them in this house. wink

nappyaddict Thu 11-Nov-10 23:03:34

What about cretin, is that offensive?

Said person said as long as the words weren't used in an intentionally offensive manner then it was OK to use them.

nappyaddict Thu 11-Nov-10 23:08:31

Oh and that special was OK cos it is just short for special needs.

genieinabottle Thu 11-Nov-10 23:15:01

I've just ask DH his views on that and he has taken the side that it's not offensive if used jokingly between NT friends! shock

He then said what about the word idiot! that could be classed as offensive too in that case.

tallwivglasses Thu 11-Nov-10 23:58:45

genie! shock

Nappy, who is this 'someone' of which you speak? How did this lovely conversation come about? How did you react?

signandsay Fri 12-Nov-10 07:37:06

Absolutely offenisve and not ok... If you look at what the person means when they use that term they are using it to denote someone or behaviour that is not ok, so the term itself and the intendtion are not acceptable in my house either.

Just like using Gay or 'the N word'.

PS my DH is a toy collector (don't get me started on his hoarding!) but he collects Transformers, they are manufactured abroad and sometimes end up with dodgy names in English, (one was called Slag; as in the waste product from metal production, but still shock hmm )

Recent advance publicity has included a new toy named 'spastic'.shock shock DH of course horrified and has contactecd company, but loads of his friends in toy community have also done the same to explain why it is NOT ok, with links to websites for info on derogatory terms etc.

Feeling proud of DH who does not get involved in things like this usually.

NorthernSky Fri 12-Nov-10 07:56:34

Message deleted

NorthernSky Fri 12-Nov-10 07:57:14

Message deleted

Goblinchild Fri 12-Nov-10 07:59:41

What's the correct term for someone who is unable to speak BTW?
Used to be dumb in the past, as in Deaf and Dumb, but I've heard mute as well.

signandsay Fri 12-Nov-10 08:06:34

I think it depends on cause??

BTW If because of deafness then either Deaf without speech, or more usually profoundly pre-lingually Deaf,
(usually signed as 'Big D Deaf' or 'full' Deaf.)

2shoes Fri 12-Nov-10 08:29:36

i think you have to be careful and not add to many words.
so things like stupid/idiot/daft which tbh most people use in one way or other, although not nice have long ago lost any link with sn.

amberlight Fri 12-Nov-10 09:05:06

President Obama just signed up to Rosa's Law in the US, taking the word "retarded" out of the US laws. The Special Olympics have been campaigning to have 'retard' treated with the same degree of alarm and banning as the 'n word', and have a 'R-counter' on their website that shows how many times the word is used on websites etc.

Even 'in fun', i think the fun is based on finding people with a learning difficulty disgusting in some way and only fit to be mocked and treated as less than a person. My friends with learning difficulties deserve better than that.

There's millions of rude words that don't have to be aimed at a particular set of disabilities, so many people hope to see people using some of the others instead.

bigcar Fri 12-Nov-10 09:28:56

I think amber is right, there's enough insults in the english language without having to use the words in the op. It's just offensive.

goblin, dd3 is currently non-verbal.

ouryve Fri 12-Nov-10 12:22:03

If they're being used "jokingly" to offend someone able bodied and neurotypical then they are implying that there is something untoward or inferior about being mentally retarded or disabled, so of course they're bloody offensive, whoever they're aimed at.

Goblin-child, we either describe DS2 as non-verbal or simply say "he doesn't speak." He's definitely not "mute" because that, to me infers that he's silent, when he's far from that. The term mutism, to me seems to be used more often in the sense of selective mutism, when someone who could otherwise speak doesn't in particular situations. My niece has that and she is absolutely silent when she is with someone unfamiliar.

Panzee Fri 12-Nov-10 12:24:40

Is your friend David Brent or Michael Scott? That was the argument they gave.

ouryve Fri 12-Nov-10 12:29:29

Panzee - who are you asking?

Panzee Fri 12-Nov-10 12:35:08

OP. Sorry, I didn't make that clear.

Triggles Fri 12-Nov-10 12:55:43

I get frustrated with people who say "well, you're not disabled, so why should it offend you?" hmm maybe because it's offensive regardless? why does it have to affect me personally for it to be offensive to me?

amberlight Fri 12-Nov-10 13:02:51

Yup. Also, with the new Equality Act 2010, if customers of a service use that sort of disablist language and it causes offence or humiliation or fear, that is be unlawful... and the service managers have a legal duty to stop it now.

amberlight Fri 12-Nov-10 13:03:39

(* "that is unlawful" - don't know what the word 'be' is doing in the middle blush )

chocolatespread Fri 12-Nov-10 14:14:58

So is it ok to call someone with mud on their face 'nigger' because they're not actually black? What's the difference? Surely any word that is derogatory of any particular group, regardless of the context, is offensive (except, potentially, within the group itself). And surely society has worked that out now and got over it? Any belief otherwise seems strangely old-fashioned and out of synch.

nappyaddict Fri 12-Nov-10 20:03:29

Triggles I totally agree.

I only found out yesterday the word cretin shouldn't be used. I have called my DS a little cretin, in the same sense that I call him a little urchin, when he's doing something he shouldn't really be doing but looks so damn cute and my heart melts. I feel really embarassed that I have called him this especially given his SN.

The only other one I wasn't sure about was special. I am sure I have seen people referring to people with SN as special people or special children but in a nice way, like saying they are a gift.

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