Here at Facts Over Feelings, I encourage people to think with their minds, not their emotions. But that doesn't mean I'm perfect. I mindlessly let myself be convinced by various "End the R-Word" campaigns that I should stop saying the "r-word".
But then I read an Everyday Feminism article that convinced me that there is nothing wrong with saying "retard."
To be fair, the article, Yes, 'Stupid' Is an Ableist Slur -- Let's Unpack Your Defensiveness About That, was intended to do the opposite. It was meant to convince me that, not only is "retarded" wrong... but so is stupid. And dumb. And lame. And moron. And idiot.
(Side note: Know what word in this article I did object to? "Unpack." Here's why it's one of the most obnoxious words ever.)
Here's an excerpt:
People who wouldn’t use the word “dumb” because it’s offensive to deaf people and people who can't speak, or the r-word because it’s offensive to people with developmental disabilities, are still willing to describe something or someone as “stupid.”
In my view, the fact that this word is a slur is self-evident. People don’t call you “stupid” unless they’re trying to put you down or undermine you. It’s an insult, and that’s reason enough to stop using it.
However, most people see the term as a legitimate expression conveying unintelligence, ignorance, foolishness, and so on.
Even though other words are available, people feel that they need this one. I think it encapsulates the anger, frustration, and exasperation that they feel toward people who are behaving harmfully.
Many of us are feeling these things toward the illogical, destructive, and cruel people who endanger our safety and security.
Calling those people “stupid” may be cathartic, but it doesn’t communicate as much about the problem as the other words that are available.
Compared to words like “bigoted,” “belligerent,” or “thoughtless,” its only strength is that it’s demeaning.
So it’s an insult. But what makes the term ableist?
First of all, it’s used to insult people with cognitive impairments, autism, Down syndrome, ADD, and other developmental disabilities. That’s a good enough reason right there.
Its use harms and triggers disabled people, which can make it a source of mass psychological harm for an already marginalized group.
If something is likely to upset the members of a marginalized group, just let it go. If community members and activists ask you not to use a word for this reason, just don’t use it. Listen to those people and don’t make excuses.
Ignoring those requests is also ableist.
You get the idea. This article it is frantic, emotional, and over-the-top.
It's the kind of frantic, emotional, and over-the-top argument that, say, an Evergreen State College student might make -- perhaps while threatening a professor or holding a room full of administrators hostage.
This is what it looks like when you entertain and indulge social justice madness:
It's easy to blame Evergreen College president George Bridges and other faculty members for encouraging and enabling this campus psychosis...
But if I'm going to refrain from using certain words, just because someone decided it was "bad"...
Am I not part of the problem, too?
Am I not part of the reason that students of 2017 are exposed to fewer and less provocative ideas than students of 2014?
Am I not part of the reason that trans activists think conversion therapy is evil -- but it's totally reasonable to tell cis people to "learn to love" genitals they're not sexually attracted to?
Am I not part of the reason that we went from #NotAllMen are rapists to #YesAllWomen have been assaulted or harassed... to #YesAllMen have the potential to be rapists, so it's reasonable to fear and discriminate against them?
Am I not part of the reason that students at Emory were unable to go to class and feared for their lives because someone wrote "Trump 2016" in sidewalk chalk?
Am I not part of the reason 10 Harvard freshmen recently had their admission revoked for what was basically fart and boner jokes? (It's called shock humor -- and if you didn't like those memes, you'd better organize a community Cards Against Humanities burning, ASAP.) Not to mention the decision to end their men's soccer team, because the players privately (though lewdly) rated the women's team based on appearance.
Each new video that comes out about Evergreen College, I can't help but think, "If only they'd handled this situation the way Ohio State University (OSU) administrators handled their student protests -- especially when the students made faculty and staff feel unsafe.
If you don't stand up to bullies, bullies take over.
And if you don't stand up to the thought police, they will, too.
First, they came for "retard." Then, they came for "dumb." Now, they've come for "stupid."
Words are not violence, and I'm done treating them like they are.
Obviously, I will continue to use language that is appropriate for the situation -- I'm not going to be dropping F-bombs in front of children or calling co-workers pussies. And if a specific person asks me not to use certain words in front of them, I'll do my best to be mindful of that.
But I'm done with the slippery slope that is everything "social justice." Because otherwise -- where will the madness end?