Wednesday, March 7

Those of you who know me personally have probably guessed by now that my silence means I’ve had a rough couple of weeks. Unfortunately, it’s true. I’ve been suffering from severe headaches, some dizziness, depression – the “whole kit and kabuddle” as my mom would say. However, it is now time to “pull my socks up”, “get back on the horse”, “stop the lallygagging” and “get on with it”.

Another blogger and friend, Diane (2liveis2laughis2love) let me know that today is Spread the Word to the End the Word day – that word being “retard”. I can’t think of a better word for today’s Word Wednesday post.

From Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary: retard, verb

1: to slow up especially by preventing or hindering advance or accomplishment : impede
2: to delay academic progress by failure to promote

 Also from Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary: retard, noun

 1: a holding back or slowing down: retardation
2 often offensive: a retarded person; also: a person held to resemble a retarded person in behaviour

Often offensive. Often?? How about always! I don’t think I’ve ever heard this word used as anything other than an insult, but let’s dig a little deeper into this term and take a look at the history.

From Online Etymology Dictionary: retard, verb

 : late 15th century, from French retarder (13th century), from Latin retardare. The noun is recorded from 1788 in the sense “retardation, delay”, from 1970 in offensive meaning “retarded person”, originally American English, with accent on the first syllable.

With the accent on the first syllable as in “REEEE-tard”. I remember kids yelling that at one another in school. I remember friends using it as a joke or to describe someone who was being silly or how they behaved when they were drunk. It was inappropriate then and it’s unacceptable now.

Spread the word. Sign the pledge. I did.

please note – I don’t know what’s wrong with the formatting, I’ve tried changing it a dozen times. grrrrr

About Holly

I hope you're able to glean something from this blog, a nugget of wisdom, a new perspective, a smile or even a laugh. I enjoy getting feedback so please comment, share your story with me too. After all, we're here to help each other.
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2 Responses to Wednesday, March 7

  1. Hi, Holly! I’m glad to be reading a post from you, however, I’m sorry to hear you’ve had such a rough couple of weeks. I was just thinking of you last night as I was writing my own post and wondering how you were doing, realizing there had been way too long of a silence. 🙂 I hope you’re on a happier road today! This word, it really resonates with me, as it was HUGE when I was a kid in school, just as you described, its total purpose for belittling other kids. I was a shy and defenseless child in school through most of my years…I was smart and scrawny…a teacher’s pet. When kids started hurling insults on the playground I dreaded it, and I dreaded being called a “retard”-I never stood up for myself, and hurtful terms went straight to my heart. Today, when my daughter talks about the kids at her school who come from the “special” classroom-this is something new for her as her private school didn’t have special ed-I sometimes fumble for words to describe certain behaviors and the word “retarded” comes to my mind. I end up stewing over if I should use it or not, knowing that in this sense I’m trying to describe a child who works a little slower than some. I typically end up using the latter description (slower). The connotations we derive as words evolve are so strong, and it’s too bad when the connotations are entirely negative! Thanks for the history and explanation. And, I’m totally in for today’s “Spread the word to end the word”-very cool! 🙂 Lots of hugs to you! XOXO

  2. Holly says:

    Hi Kasey, so nice to hear from you!! I understand what you’re saying. How do you describe these special and often amazing kids to a child? I was fortunate when my son started school at the tender age of 3 the special needs kids were integrated in the regular classroom. There was a young girl named Joanne in his class. Joanne suffered from several genetic irregularities including Down’s Syndrome, she’s actually part of a genetic study. Having Joanne in this class led to a group of children who had a great deal of compassion for children who were different. When we were out shopping one day, years ago we saw a teen girl who had Down’s. Alexi asked me what was wrong with her. Not sure what to say I simply said “She’s like Joanne.” Alexi processed this for about half a second and said, “Oh, ok.” That was it. No long explanation required.
    Here’s a video link I wanted to add to my blog, but they’ve changed how to do it & I couldn’t figure it out. It’s pretty cool.

    Hope you have a great day!! And trust me, Maycee will learn a lot from the special needs kids, more than we can teach. 🙂

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